As more Americans get vaccinated and states continue to lift restrictions, salon owners set their revenue goals for growth rather than survival.
“Salons had to be introspective on how they did business before COVID-19,” says Fred Helou, founder and CEO of Vagaro, a company that offers booking, payment and business management software for salons. “They had to figure out new ways to earn revenue amid shutdowns and restrictions, and now we’re seeing the resilience of the salon industry.”
Following, you will find a few strategies on getting your business back on the right track from Fred Helou and salon owner and Vagaro customer, India Bertin of Hi Texture Salon in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
A Fresh Start
India Bertin, owner of Hi Texture Hair Salon in Lawrenceville, Georgia, used the time her business was closed to reset.
“I looked for creative ways to market my business and create additional sources of revenue for the salon,” she says. “I started using online sales, and now feel more prepared if anything like this ever happens again.”
Helou also felt like Vagaro was back in start-up mode when his clients all shut down. And with salons all over the country, Helou had clients opening and closing every week for months.
“It got us fired up and soliciting input from our customers,” he says. “We were able to help many of them to execute features of Vagaro they’d never used before, like online sales and marketing features.”
Retail Therapy for Salons
During the early days of the pandemic, e-commerce solutions became a must-have for owners.
“We saw usage of online stores go up by 15%,” Helou says. “Salons also started selling gift certificates online for people to redeem once they reopened.”
Bertin says the forced shutdown of her business gave her the drive to activate her online store and she quickly realized the value in Vagaro’s e-commerce solution.
“During shutdown I was taking orders through emails and calls, and it was a lot of back and forth,” she says. “Vagaro helped me establish a blueprint to get my online store up and running. Now that the sales process is streamlined, we can grow through online sales.”
With re-opening dates changing and new services like curbside pickup and online stores available, owners’ greatest need during the pandemic was communication with their clients.
Vagaro’s email and text features provided that much-needed communication, and took it one step further. “We have promo codes salons can use for anything (booking, product discounts, etc.) that allow you to track how well the promo did through the unique code.”
Salons can send out an email or text blast (or both) with the code encouraging clients to book a service, receive a discount or buy a product — the options are endless.
“It’s a great way to encourage sales,” Helou says. “And with the promo code, you can track how successful the campaign was.”
Helou recommends sending both texts and emails when launching a marketing campaign to get the best return on investment.
“Text has four times more responsiveness than email,” he says. “And the open rate is nearly 100 percent. If you spend $10 to send it out to 1000 people and get 10 appointments at $75 each, you’ve just made $750 on a $10 investment.”
While email and text promos are best for existing customers, for salons looking to reach new clients, Vagaro offers “Vagaro Daily Deals,” on vagaro.com, which serves as an online marketplace where people look for deals on services, classes and gift certificates.
“There are millions of people searching for beauty services, so the deal a salon is offering has to be good for us to feature it,” Helou says. “But we don’t take any profits – it’s purely to help a Vagaro business succeed.”
Membership Has Its Privileges
Bertin also utilizes Vagaro’s membership program, where her clients choose a monthly plan and pre-purchase hair services. Similarly, Vagaro also has package options, where a package of services, or services combined with product are offered at a discounted price.
“When we shut down, I was worried I was going to have to refund clients, but many let their memberships go on and chose to catch up on the back end, which allowed me to generate some income while we were shut down,” she says. “The memberships were one of the best tools to get my business through COVID-19.”
Helou adds, “Salons can customize their memberships with the services, products and discounts in the package. They can charge weekly, monthly or quarterly, and even have membership cards if they want.
“There’s lots of flexibility on how to create memberships, and it’s a great way to create recurring revenue.”
Vagaro has videos, online forums and a helpful support staff to assist owners in understanding and utilizing all the features they offer. “All our tools come together cohesively to help owners grow their businesses,” Helou says.
“The ease of use is why I’m so loyal to Vagaro,” says Bertin. “They’re able to accommodate all my needs.”
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