Ovatu Manager Review

 To tell it short and sweet 

Ovatu Manager is a salon management software from Australia. It was founded by Dave and Ulla Hole, a husband and wife team. Ovatu is different from other salon management software in that they have tried to cover even edge cases. If you have a unique requirement that is uncommon in salon management, you should check Ovatu. They might have it! You can see this effort in the variety of reports, the number of settings in each module, and the variety of ways in which you can turn ON/OFF/ Adjust a feature. However, with this level of customization, it would have been good if they had inline help on the UI as well, which would have reduced the support load on their live chat team. It was also surprising that it was not possible to set up a commission profile for the staff. Though Ovatu has gone extensively with features, it is not possible to use Ovatu for salons with multiple locations/branches.

 How does Ovatu Manager fare on the essential features of a salon management software? 

  1. Online appointment scheduling
    • Ovatu offers online booking for you clients through a mini website.You can choose one the many themes that are available. The site layout can be customized with images, text, colors, and logo. Ovatu has a library of images classified according to industries which you can pick from. There is a business info section where you can add your working hours, maps, and other details
    • You can choose to apply the website settings – images and theme – to you emails as well by enabling them here.
    • Ovatu gives you the code to create a booking bot and embed codes to any of the tabs of the mini website on your website. The mini website has multiple tabs: book now, gallery, gaift cards and passes, reviews, etc. This makes the mini website not so mini, after all.
    • Under Online booking settings, there are options to set your terms and conditions, preferences, payments, registration form fields, and to minimize gaps. For the client, the online booking page navigation is the traditional flow where the client selects a service first, followed by the staff and time slots.
  2. Staff management
    • Staff management is easy in Ovatu. They get their log ins, and you can manage their passwords and log in pins. They can view their appointments as a calendar in their account. On the roster, you can set up their working hours, break, and off hours.
    • On the online booking page, you can allow the clients to select a staff of their liking. You can check the reports to see sales by each staff and also reservations for each staff.
    • Ovatu also allows you to send marketing emails to customers by filtering them based on the staff who performed the service for the customer.
  3. Sales promotions
    • You can boost your revenue by selling gift cards, passes, and vouchers. Gift cards are ideal for new customer acquisition. Vouchers are good for promoting underperforming services. Passes are useful when you want to retain customers. You can create a combination of services which can be redeemed for these, set a limit for uses per customer, define a limit for each service, among other examples.
    • On vouchers, you can define which employees and services the vouchers apply to. And on passes, you can define the behavior when visits booked on passes are cancelled.
  4. Point of Sale
    • Ovatu’s POS supports a variety of hardware with their iOS and Android apps. With mPOP, Ovatu supports receipt printer, drawer, barcode scanner, and card reader. Ovatu supports the following popular card readers: Paypal, Square, izettle, SumUp, and the following receipt printers: Epson and Star.
  5. Marketing
    • In Ovatu, you can send email marketing campaigns. They give a HTML based email editor, customer variables, and allow attachments in emails. You can also decide who receives these emails by filtering customers based on the services they booked or on the employees they booked appointments with. There is a list of unsubscribed customers which can be disregarded when needed. Also, you can look at previous campaigns and do not replicate some of them unnecessarily. Though Ovatu allows mass email marketing, it is not possible to automate some of these emails based on workflows. For example, if you want to send a review request to a customer a few days after the visit, you cannot set up a workflow like that.
    • If you have Facebook and Twitter accounts for your salon, connect that to Ovatu and you can post your salon updates on social media.
  6. Locations
    • Each location gets their log in. However, Ovatu does not have a way to consolidate all locations under one account currently. If you have multiple locations, each has to exist as separate accounts.
  7. Reporting
    • Ovatu’s reporting module gives you insights into revenue, customers, inventory, and employees. Ovatu’s reporting is tabular and as text, not as charts and graphs. This could be a inconvenience for you if you prefer charts. However, Ovatu you to create new views in report using filters. Also, you can export reports as csv files, which gives you the flexibility to create charts and graphs.
    • While Ovatu has most of the reports built-in, it is not possible to create new custom reports that you need.
  8. Client management
    • Ovatu has a customers module. On the list report, you can filter customers based on criteria and generate custom views. There are filters based on customers activity, appointment status, products they bought, employees they met, and even based on the forms they filled before. Also, you can export these in to a csv file and do further processing.
    • You can select a few customers and send them emails or SMSes, or change their log in password.  
    • Ovatu makes it easy for you to set up a loyalty program by defining how you earn it and how you redeem it. If there are taxes for the loyalty points, you can set that up too. Loyalty points can be enabled for employees, products, and services.
    • The mass email feature is useful for you to keep in touch with you customers on a regular basis. You can keep them updated about the latest offers and promotions.
    • Customer segments: One of the most helpful features in customers module is segments. You can create segments and map customers to that. For ex. There could be a segment for customers of certain age group. Segments are beneficial when you want to send emails, apply a few settings, make promotional pricing etc for customers based on a criteria. When you configure settings based on customer segments, it overrides other settings, even at system-level.
    • Birthday reminders keep your customers engaged and it is one of the easiest ways to do that. You can send these manually by accessing the month-wise birthday reports of customers or setting it up for autopilot.
  9. Inventory
    • Ovatu’s inventory module offers the standard set of features. You get a quick snapshot of wholesale and retail inventory values and the list of products separated by categories. The first step in working with adding stock is to add a supplier and map products to them. Whenever you want to add new stock, you raise a purchase order. Purchase orders have statuses and when you Receive a stock, the order is marked as complete. Ovatu also has Stock take option using which you can do the periodic count of stock and update your inventory values.  
  10. Services
    • You can create services and organize them into categories. The service settings are detailed. You can set up the basic details, go into duration, and processing, finishing times. It is possible to turn a service offline or disable loyalty points. When you map employees to a service, you can also define service duration, processing and finishing times differently for each of them. Additionally, you can configure buffer times and set up taxes if that is applicable.
    • Ovatu also gives options for you to set up different appointment statuses and cancellation reasons which you can map to services.

 How is the user experience?  

  • Ovatu has a clean user interface following a tree and branches navigation structure. The different modules are organized well and you can easily go into the options. The design is uniform and it is consistent. Ovatu is easy for a new user as well as an experienced user.
  • Since Ovatu has followed a rather text-based UI, it can be mentally taxing when you hunt for features and options. For ex. Activating birthday reminders.
  • There are options to personalize and customize the user experience for your clients. Ovatu allows you to choose from built-in themes and images based on your industry. This ensures that customers visiting your booking page feels belonged and engaged.

 Value for money  

Ovatu starts at $15 with their Solo plan and their top plan is at $75 for 20 employees. This is a very affordable pricing structure. Not just that all plans have equal features except for the employee count and SMS credits. This is not just affordable, it is straightforward as well. With their 60-day trial and this pricing, they are definitely value for money if you can ignore some of the missing features.

 Help and support   

Ovatu has very good live chat support. The team is knowledgeable and is empathetic to questions. If they are not available, we can send them an email to which they will reply in a few business hours. The help documentation is detailed and is contextually linked in the live chat also. You can refer those before contacting support.

What we found missing with respect to support is the lack of contextual tool tips for features. It can be a bit displeasing if we have to go to the help doc to learn about minor adjustments in settings.