SimpleSalon review

SimpleSalon is a salon management software from Australia. While they have the essentials to run a salon, they appear to be behind the competition with their UI design, and user experience. They have a 30-day free trial (credit cared needed), however their customer engagement efforts during this period is minimal. The website and blog works well but they don’t actively engage with the visitors. A lively and latest website and product UI reassures the potential customer. Simple Salon has to address this.

There is not much information publicly available about the team behind the software, their funding, or revenue. We located Jason Edward as the founder in LinkedIn, however he is not very active there. Jason’s profile mentions that he started Simple Salon in 2008.

 How does SimpleSaon fare on the essential features ?

  • Online appointment scheduling
    • SimpleSalon offers online booking. They give a built-in booking page if you do not have a website and an embed code if you want to add the booking page to your website.
    • There is great flexibility in online bookings. You can have services, service categories, staff, booking vouchers, etc enabled/disabled for online bookings. For ex. You could set up a special online-only price for a service.
    • Additionally, you can make changes to style, notifications, and other general settings specific to online bookings. If you consider that offering online booking is a premium service, you can add an auto-markup percentage to your service pricing. Or, if you want to auto-approve all appointment requests from online, you can activate that too.
    • What Simple Salon misses on their online appointment scheduling is the inflexibility in setting up style or customizing the look and feel of your booking page. It is essential that the app provide the salon owner to project the salon’s brand aesthetics on the online booking page. There are competing apps that provide even html and css customization with which a salon owner can completely rebrand the page.
  • Staff management
    • You can add multiple staff, set their roster, and assign them to services. You can create experience levels for staff and map each staff to one of the levels. This will allow you to charge more and allow more service time for staff based on their experience levels. It is possible to show/hide some staff on the online booking page.
    • Based on the staff level, you can also set a commission percentage for services, product and voucher sales.
  • Sales promotions
    • You can create vouchers and packages to boost your sales. One of the differentiating features of SimpleSalon is how you can create variable vouchers which you can create on the POS as and when you check out a customer. This can be very personalized as you create them as you talk to the customer.
    • Gift vouchers can also be used to motivate sales from your staff. You can set a commission percentage for each gift voucher. Gift vouchers can be sold via the POS or from the online booking page.
    • By creating packages you can ensure customer retention, divert some customers to a new service that needs some boost, or improve overall productivity and reduce expenses. In SimpleSalon, you have options to create a package that has products, services, and gift vouchers in them. Packages can be sold via the POS.
  • Point of Sale
    • You can do multiple operations on the POS including sales, credit, refunds, and receiving payments. The POS also allows you to maintain a list of transactions, see the payments split across various payment channels. In the POS, you can also mark your cash movements. There is an option to run end-of-the day report.
    • SimpleSalon has a recommended set of POS hardware and settings which you have to check against your preferences. It is integrated with a number of payment gateways and POS channels.
  • Marketing
    • You can send email marketing campaigns to customer lists. There are built-in filters which will fetch you customer lists to which you can send campaigns. You can also create new lists. The emails can be sent via SimpleSalon or one of the integrated email campaign providers like MailChimp or CampaignMonitor. The reports module gives insights about campaigns.
  • Locations
    • SimpleSalon allows you to manage multiple locations/salons at a salon level and as a whole. Their Dome feature gives you an overview of your salon branches. Each salon is fairly independent as they have their SimpleSalon account. For the owner of the salon, it is easy to switch among the dome and the accounts of individual branches. This set up of Dome and child locations make it easy for you to globally manage services and rosters without logging into separate branches.
    • Clients will also find it easier to visit any of the locations and carry forward with their next appointments at a new location. They do not have to visit the same location. Your staff can also put the client appointment to another location if the client wishes to have appointment at another location. Similarly, clients can buy and redeem their gift vouchers and packages from any of the branches.
    • Stock that is part of the dome can be easily mapped/moved between the various branches. Similarly, it is possible to do marketing and reporting with clients filtered by locations.
  • Reporting
    • This module in SimpleSalon is extensive. They give a dashboard where you can have a quick look at the important metrics like sales for a defined period. If you want to go into the details, you have a bunch of built-in reports. This could be about clients, purchases, stock, wages, staff, commissions, and others which give you insight in to almost every aspect your salon.
  • Client management
    • Each client has a detailed client card which has their contact details and their interaction with your salon. The interactions include visits, gift vouchers, packages and the staff they are associated with. You can carry out a bunch of actions on the client: add a photo, initiate a sale, map them to categories, generate invoices, etc.
    • You can use the loyalty points program to retain the clients. For each sale/visit, you can allot the client loyalty points as a percentage of their sales value. Along with it, you can also define the dollar value of these points which they can redeem.
  • Inventory
    • In SimpleSalon, you can create suppliers and map products to them. You can auto-order products when they go below the re-order level. You can perform actions like receiving a new stock, or duplicate an order, or do a stock take action. You can mark products that are used internally like that, and remove them from your stock when you consume them.
  • Services
    • SimpleSalon allows you to create services with different configurations. Services can be grouped under categories. Services can be group services where multiple services are performed in each visit. You can enable/disable certain settings for each service: duration, processing time, collect bookings during processing time, etc. You can allot loyalty points for services, set a maximum number of clients for each service, configure taxes for the services, and so on.
    • Services can set requirements of operator levels. Certain services can be performed only by operators of certain expertise levels.

 How is the user experience? 

  • SimpleSalon does meet the functionality requirements of a salon management software. However, that is not sufficient when the competition has shifted to another turf: user experience. SimpleSalon has an aged user interface and design which might make the software distant to the salon crowd, especially those who are exposed to software like Gettimely.
  • The learning curve for SimpleSalon is not steep but some of the user interactions are archaic which introduces mental friction.
  • There are limited options to personalize and customize the user experience for your clients as well. The default styling options are minimal and you cannot control the user navigation or maintain your branding on the booking page from where your online appointments will be made.

 Value for money 

SimpleSalon pricing starts at $21.99 AUD per month and other pricing plans above it. When compared to the other apps, the pricing is reasonable but a salon owner who value user experience and UI design might find other apps offering more value for that money.

 Help and support  

SimpleSalon has good help documentation. It is well-written, covers all aspects of the product. We did not have to contact the support team for anything as we were able to explore the products ourselves. We also did not face any bugs or issues or stability issues when we were working with the product. However, there is no live chat or inline help in the UI.