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A Salon Owner Reviews New Technology that Entertains and Educates Clients

Stacey Soble | February 21, 2017 | 8:31 AM
Emilio Cornacchione reviews what is new on the Smarter Lifestyle Network with his team at Izzazu Salon Spa & Serata in Pittsburgh, PA.
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Clients are entertained and educated with beauty, fitness and lifestlye content on tablets and monitors stationed in the salon's reception and processing areas.
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Customized salon content on the Smarter LifeStyle Network helps stylists educate their clients on services and products.
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Upon check in, clients are invited to take a tablet and participate in a survey, check out the salon's StyleBook and peruse the original content on the Smarter LifeStyle Network.
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Cornacchione hands a tablet to a client while she is processing. Since using the system, the salonalso  learned that clients welcomes a chairside checkout option during high traffic times.
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Emilio Cornacchione and Gino Chiodo, owners of Izzazu Salon Spa & Serata in Pittsburgh, PA.
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While clients are waiting in your reception area or biding their time while their chemical services are processing, they are a captive audience. That is the perfect time to educate them on your salon’s latest services and products, while also entertaining them with beauty, wellness and lifestyle news.

A new technology developed by Gen One Media Group is helping salons better entertain, educate and market to clients, all while providing a new revenue stream to the salon.The technology, Smarter LifeStyle Network, delivers the latest in health, beauty and fashion news through tablets handed to clients upon check in and television monitors in the reception and processing areas. The system also allows salons to showcase themselves through a digital stylebook, client surveys, and contest and promotion news. In addition, Gen One sells and features advertising from like-minded companies on the system, and shares a percentage of the revenue with the salon.

Emilio Cornacchione and Gino Chiodo, owners of Izzazu Salon, Spa and Serata in Pittsburgh, PA, were one of the earliest adopters of the program, and Cornacchione recently took some time to discuss the new technology as well as his client’s reaction to it with Salon Today:

Salon Today: Tell us about Smarter LifeStyle Network. What is the best thing about it?

Cornacchione: “We absolutely love everything about it. But one of the first things that we noticed that works really well, is it has helped increase retail sales almost 20 percent.

“Like at most salons I imagine, we’ve found at Izzazu, the 80/20 rule really applies. About 20 percent of our staff sell about 80 percent of our retail. Smarter LifeStyle Network really supports the 80 percent of the stylists who are soft sellers. It creates better awareness of our products, reinforces the language we use with our own product line, and helps get the message out about promotions and events. Clients see the service or product promotions on the tablets or on the monitor in our reception area, and they are asking their stylists to tell them more.

“For example, we recently ran a promo that invited clients to ask their stylists about our Special Effects Color Campaign. When clients asked their stylists, it was an opportunity for stylists to suggest an upgraded, customized color technique or formula with that client in mind. We sold an additional 160 specialized color services, taking in an additional $20,000.

"Overall, the system really allows the salon to communicate its messages in a way that it can’t always rely on the staff to convey to the clientele.”

Salon Today: How are clients introduced to Smarter Lifestyle Network?

Cornacchione: “We have a monitor in the reception area and tablets available in the processing area. In addition, when clients check in, we invite them to take a tablet. Some have initially resisted, claiming they have everything they need on their phone. We tell them we’d love them to take the client survey about the salon on the tablet and that their feedback really helps us, then encourage them to check out the Stylebook to get ideas for their service, then show them the lifestyle content available on the tablet--on everything from beauty to fitness to cooking." 

Salon Today: How do you get the salon’s customized information on the system?

Cornacchione: “It’s pretty simple really. We send it to Gen One and they upload it on the tablets. We do have an in-house marketing person and for many of the promotions that we install on the system, we also are designing something for our website. Our marketing person simply changes it a bit with a tagline inviting the client to ask their stylist for more details.

“The tablets also include a Stylebook of our work. For example, there are images from a photoshoot we did for our blowdry bar to showcase the different kinds of finishes we offer, and our stylists are photographing their own work and sending in images to be featured in the Stylebook.”

Salon Today: How did the client survey help you improve the client experience?

Cornacchione: “Having a simple survey on the tablets has helped us better understand what clients want and need. For example, we were concerned that having an express checkout, where a guest service specialist checks a client out at the chair during processing, might make clients feel rushed. But we learned that, especially during high traffic times between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., they really appreciate having someone gather the products they need and check them out at the chair.”

Salon Today: How much was your investment, and what kind of ROI are you experiencing?

Cornacchione: “Our initial investment was $2,200--$1,500 in the equipment and $700 because we decided to have the professionals at Gen One install everything. We ended up making that money back in our very first promotion.  And, on average, we’re putting up a new promotion each month.

“Currently, we’re getting a few hundred each month in shared ad revenue, but the way it’s trending, I’m thinking we might be getting as much as $1,000 a month back on the shared ad revenue later this Spring. As salon owners know, that goes right to your bottom line and can make a big difference. Say you pay $10,000 a month in rent—that’s 10 percent of your rent. And, that doesn’t include the additional revenue we’re bringing in because of the marketing on our own promotions.”

Salon Today: How long have you been using Smarter Lifestyle Network, and why did you decide to bring it into your salon?

Cornacchione: “We’ve had it since October 2016, and we were one of the first salons to adopt it. We always focus on being ahead of the curve. The only thing constant in beauty is change and adaptation. We loved the concept and thought it was a minimal investment, especially considering we’re realizing a share of some of the ad revenue. We’re in a high traffic area in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh and think this concept will really work in a salon like ours.”

Salon Today: As an early adopter, did you have any challenges?

Cornacchione: “Our only challenge was in the first few months when we found we were having a difficult time keeping the tablets charged. Stylists didn't realize they weren’t fully connecting the tablets when they returned them to the docking stations. GenOne was a great partner in helping us find a magnetic docking station and corrected this issue before we even complained.”

Salon Today: Can you explain the ad revenue more? What kinds of companies are advertising on the system?

Cornacchione: “All kinds of companies, including GNC, local car dealers, restaurants and supermarkets. The way I look at it, this idea has good legs. We believe we are in a good position to be the educators about what’s going on in our community, but the last thing I need is another job. This is great, because Gen One handles all of that—getting the ads from other businesses and getting them into the system.”

Salon Today: How have clients reacted?

Cornacchione: “Overall, they love it. We have found that by handing them a tablet, they are more likely to check out the client survey, browse the styles in the Stylebook and look through the great custom content and the ads. They are really receptive to the technology, and it helps keep them engaged during their chemical processing times."

Salon Today: How did you introduce the system to your team, and how have they reacted to it?

Cornacchione: “We did a salon night of training and introduced it to the staff so they understood how it worked. and can continue to learn what’s on it. Then, we talk about what's new on the system during each staff meeting. They love how it helps open up the conversation, both on different styles and services the clients can consider, as well as the retail support. We remind them continually to send in client finishes and they are doing that and love the addition of the Stylebook.”

Salon Today: Anything else you’d like to add?

Cornacchione: “It’s always great when a guest comes into the salon and sees something new or fresh or different. For us, Smarter Lifestyle Network is about continually being green and embracing everything that is out there. This is something that salon owners need, and stylists benefit too by being able to take before and after pictures and load them into the Stylebook. It adds another layer to your marketing efforts and we’re really excited about the results we're seeing.”

For more information about Smarter LifeStyle Network, email [email protected], visit smarterlifestylenetwork.com or call 412-930-0763.

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