Salon software goes beyond inventory control to help you ring in consistently strong retail sales—from decoding marketing strategies to motivating your staff to sell.
It’s retail’s turn. Finally.
Automation came to the salon industry not only late but little by little. Now, with the rest of their administrative tasks largely computerized, salon owners are ready to clear the brush on the final frontier of business operations. That would be retail.
“Nine times out of 10, inventory management is the very last thing people automate,” says Jon Maple, CEO and president of Salon Transcripts. “First it’s payroll, then marketing to clients, then the appointment book. But retail inventory is where all the money is.”
Retail software has been around as long as other programs but, like everything else about retailing in the salon—merchandising, benchmarking, staff training—it gets no respect, to channel the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield. Maple has fought this tendency since 1991, conducting a class in reaping the benefits of his STX program’s retail capabilities, while Milano Software President Paul Pagliaro observes, “Most people use only 35 to 40 percent of the applications their software offers, and retail and inventory are high on the list of applications they don’t use.”
Matthew Scudder, operations manager for Harms Software’s Millennium family of software products, now notices an awakening in the industry. “There’s been a huge paradigm shift in the mentality of salon owners,” Scudder comments. “Owners want to know all sorts of specifics about retail sales. They’ll say, ‘show me people who’ve had a facial but have never bought a product,’ and the software becomes the heartbeat of the business.”
While it may be coming through the door last, the tail may indeed end up wagging the dog. Thanks to smart software, the ideal service/retail ratio of 70/30 may at long last become attainable for the average salon.
“Salons earn seven percent for services on average but 35 percent on retail,” notes Valerie Reavis, marketing manager for Shortcuts Salon and Spa Management Software. “So anyone interested in profitability should be paying close attention to retail.”
Often owners’ first area of retail-minded attention is inventory. With increasing sophistication, software is transforming traditional inventory control (simply policing quantities needed to stock shelves) into true inventory management, a distinction Maple says is pivotal in gaining a retail edge.