And they don’t have to guess about theft and loss. It’s pretty obvious that something is amiss if the computer indicates that you should have more product than you see on the shelf.
“Being able to access inventory information in a quick report is very important,” says Kirsten Hall, director of marketing for The Neill Corporation’s SalonBiz software. “The owner may see no hairspray on the shelf and assume that the salon is selling a ton of hairspray when really someone is stealing it!”
Owners aren’t the only ones who have it easier with retail software. What client wouldn’t appreciate a speedier, more accurate checkout process made possible by software that reads the product’s bar code?
Many programs also work hand-in-hand with a salon’s “favored clients” loyalty club. Clients are more likely to sign up for such programs when everything is computerized and runs smoothly. “Our salons can establish a client loyalty system that automatically awards points for spending a certain amount of money at the salon,” Maple says.
But the beauty of tracking the client’s every move is really about target marketing, and in-salon marketing is part of the fabric of every software package. SalonBiz, which tests its software in real salons run by The Neill Corporation, uses “The Traveler,” a hardcopy list generated for each client that travels around the salon with the customer.
“It includes the appointment history for that day and a product and service purchase history,” Hall says. “The stylist can say, ‘I see you’re probably out of your favorite shampoo, so I’ll have a bottle waiting for you when you leave,’ or ‘I see you’ve never purchased a styling product, so I’d like to introduce you to one today.’”
The front desk is an important component in maximizing retail sales, explains Catherine Renaud, president of Software Creations, which rewrote its longstanding software program in order to offer the Virtual Salon and Spa as a web-based, touch-screen package. “Our Recommend Retailing Systems creates a tag team comprising the front desk and the technician on the floor,” Renaud explains. At each visit, the system issues a paperless “ticket” that lists every product the technician used that has a retail counterpart. Because it removes any responsibility for selling from the technician’s shoulders, the system is popular with stylists and estheticians who cringe at having to sell. Plus, that “tag-team” approach can increase retail sales by 20 to 30 percent, according to Renaud.