With everything salons have been through in the past 18 months, it’s unfathomable to imagine running a salon or spa business without technology to help book appointments, process payments, market services, motivate team members and streamline systems.
Our 2021 Technology Guide helps owners compare and contrast the different programs and their features, so you can decide which are the best digital products to add to your management toolbox.
The sponsors of SALON TODAY’s special Technology Issue are listed alphabetically first with their logos—thank you for your support, which makes this guide possible.
Key Features: SmartBooking; automated text marketing; instant payroll; curbside retail pickup; paperless purchase orders; snapshot KPI dashboard for both salon and provider; virtual pre-consultations; online reputation management.
New Feature: SENT by Aura helps market the salon with Custom Segmented Text Campaigns that let you create a pinpointed list by salon category; add hyperlinks, images, GIFs and emojis; segment with custom date ranges for future and history appointments; preschedule messages or send them instantly; generate transparent usage reports; and have two-way text with a local phone number.
Key Features: 24/7 client self-service booking; business management tools; built-in marketing suite; business profile; integrated checkout with payment processing; no-show protection; gift cards, packages and memberships; staff and shift management; inventory; flexible service offerings (virtual and mobile), stats and reports.
New Feature: Booksy 3.0 is focused on creating a complete business experience designed to scale and adaptable across devices, within teams, and into the future. It offers Booksy Biz Lite, which allows providers to manage core functions like appointments, marketing, and payment processing all from their mobile device or, for those who need more, Booksy Biz Pro as a complete business solution optimized for the front desk with the ability to manage team calendars, create shifts, track inventory, run reports and more.
Key Features: Purpose-built and ready to scale with optimized scheduling, automated marketing, seamless payments, Point-of-Sale, powerful reporting, and custom API workflows.
New Feature: Boulevard Payments provides full payment facilitation and is paired with Boulevard Duo, the sleek new EMV card reader and stylish POS, purpose-built for salons and spas.
Key Features: A high-performance, ammonia-free color line offering formulation and patented dispensing technology for colorists to design any demi or permanent shade with the touch of a button, then replicate that formula with precision to eliminate waste and automatically maintain color inventory.
New Feature: To reduce the industry's environmental impact without over-burdening salons, CLICS Color is packaged in recyclable canisters that can be placed in any neighborhood recycling program, eliminating paper boxes and non-recyclable color tubes, plus we ship color directly to salons, limiting our carbon footprint for packaging and transportation.
Key Features: Two-way texting; online booking; website credit card processing; integrated text, social, and traditional marketing; management of online reviews; salon management tools such as payroll and employee management; Quickbooks sync; real-time financial, inventory, and performance tracking reporting and management tools.
New Feature: Salon Iris’s Online Forms distributes and stores forms online, allowing salons to reduce contact and easily meet a locality’s changing Covid-19 protocols. Clients receive and complete those forms prior to their appointments, and then salons store the forms online for easy retrieval and at-a-click access. Multiple unnecessary points of contact are eliminated by digitizing this entire process.
Envision Salon Software
Key Features: Cloud-based system for scheduling and Point-of-Sale with business-building and tracking features including automated marketing, online booking, service reminders, product recommendations, integrated loyalty program, memberships, goal tracking, and extensive reports; custom mobile apps for clients offering mobile booking, specials, online gift card sales and more; an app for staff to stay connected to their schedules and goals; contactless payments and notifications.
New Feature: Envision's “Search for Openings” feature allows users to easily scan the calendar for the next available times for a single service, multiple services, or service packages without having to flip through each day on the calendar. This feature has recently been enhanced to search more days in the future and offer smart booking with limited times between appointments.
Key Features: Activity dashboard; billing and invoicing; calendar management; client database; client notifications; consultation forms; email marketing; online booking system; online payments; product stock and inventory count; reporting and analytics; social media integration; SMS messaging.
New Feature: Online booking technology keeps salon schedules up to date by displaying real-time online availability, helping to increase revenue filling empty time slots. Staying “open” online 24/7 gives clients the flexibility to book at their convenience and captures new clients looking for services in their area.
Inspire by STX
Key Features: Cloud-based solution offering online appointment booking; Point-of-Sale; inventory management, marketing; advanced reporting; client cards with history; memberships; classes; gifts; rewards; packages; payroll reporting; time clock; client self check-in; the Welcome App for client use; Worker App, and more.
New Feature: The Welcome App, an iOS or Android app for clients to engage with your business, lets clients check themselves in for their appointment, and the business can correspond with a push notification back. Additionally, clients can book or modify appointments, purchase eGifts, get directions to the salon and contact the salon all from their fingertips.
Key Features: Automated client self check-in and self check-out; Shopify integration to keep inventory in sync; multi-account payments to route money directly to renters; online-booking with no logins required; full functionality on mobile, tablets, and desktop; memberships; automatic billing.
New Feature: The new client check-out feature lets clients skip the front desk and pay and tip from their phone without downloading an app; stylists can easily change the price and add recommended products.
Meet Your Stylist / Meet Your Barber
Key Features: Fun, easy, and accurate match-making survey designed to attract and convert website visitors into lifetime clients with a survey link per location, complete templates for post-match marketing, a database of client information, retention and drive-back campaigns, monthly marketing education and training, and human live support.
New Feature: The photo upload on the client survey helps guide guest services with accurate reservations while expediting the stylist's consultation process; clients can add their Instagram as well, creating endless marketing opportunities for the salon.
Key Features: Convobar multi-tasking goal-setting reporting and analytics; inventory management; security controls; smart center dashboards; customization and configurability; central office for multi-location businesses; online booking; eGift; online presence and reputation management; email marketing; integrated Point-of-Sale; automated wait list for appointment book.
New Feature: Every Meevo 2 subscription now comes with the built-in Meevo Marketing suite, which includes our Email Marketing and Online Presence Management platforms. Email Marketing comes preloaded with email templates and image gallery, an intuitive drag-and-drop email editor, segmented customer lists, automated campaigns, A/B testing, and performance analytics and insights to help salons create beautiful, customized emails. Online Presence Management ensures accurate business information across hundreds of listing sites to let owners manage and quickly respond to customer reviews, gather and view analytics of online client interaction, improve SEO to increase visibility, and easily eliminate duplicate business profiles and listings. Businesses can choose to post Facebook content for one, some or all locations.
Key Features: Easy management of staff, appointments, reporting and more all in one place at any time, from any device; an integrated marketing platform that works seamlessly with the software to offer reminders, fill appointment books with automated re-booking, and create online buzz; contactless check-in; AI chat.
New Feature: Messenger AI chat assistant handles the front desk, online chat and text message communications, providing 24/7 personalized, real-time customer service.
Phorest Salon Software
Key Features: Innovative marketing suite, online booking; payments; salon apps; e-commerce; inventory control; two-way text messaging; consultation forms; staff performance tools; dedicated Salon Success Manager.
New Feature: The new Staff Performance tool empowers managers and staff to set goals across a wide range of performance metrics with a mobile solution that’s simple to use and visually engaging, offering staff easy access to track their performance anytime, anywhere, and it helps keep them motivated to hit their goals through timely, automated push messages that celebrate milestones and success.
Key Features: Automatic, timely and relevant messaging to clients regarding an opening and using actual data from your scheduling software; personalized text or email messaging with the client’s name, service provider, service and more; highlighting new staff to keep all providers busy; ways to improve the client experience by anticipating what the client “wants”; dashboard with real-time metrics showing the weekly revenue generated.
New Feature: AI makes data decisions for you. When REACH.ai sees an opening or last-minute cancellation, it automatically scans your appointment book to find the clients with booking history and buying trends that indicate they are the clients most likely to book. The client receives an email or text that includes their service provider name and photo and the relevant service they should book, not just a random email.
Rosy Salon Software
Key Features: Online client scheduling; appointment scheduling; automated confirmations; text message and email marketing; curbside check-in; in-house notifications; mobile access; Facebook integration; mobile web app; rewards and referrals; Point-of-Sale, product reservations; suggestive selling; inventory management; online store; integrated payment processing with RosyPay.
New Feature: RosyPay offers the option of taking a deposit from clients at time of booking. This places a value on your time, protects against rising no-show rates, and covers expenses with high ticket services like hair extensions or custom specialty colors.
Key Features: Color management software that lets you know exactly what your color costs are on every bowl mixed, tracks inventory usage, and digitally stores formulas during every color appointment.
New Feature: A voice command option provides a more hands-free approach to tracking color costs.
Key Features: E-commerce platform providing the ability to set up a free online store in minutes by selecting the distributor(s) and favorite brands; salon has no product purchasing or inventory management, and the distributor takes care of all shipping.
New Feature: The Stylist App, coming in Fall 2021, lets stylists complete the service by sending clients a quick prescription for home care from your phone with shopping cart and checkout functions.
Key Features: Hybrid of walk-in and appointment-based business offering online booking; client kiosk for online check-in and self-checkout; mobile apps for owners, employees, and clients; email/SMS marketing; multi-location management with consolidated data.
New Feature: Salons have their own branded iOS and Android apps, making it easier for clients to find the salon and rebook appointments. The app integrates with the SalonUltimate platform to manage appointments and check-ins, operating as a silent partner to allow clients to focus on your salon and your brand.
Key Features: Digital tipping system built for and by beauty industry professionals, offering a plug-and-play suite of tools reducing business owners' processing fees and improving service providers' tips; options for free instant payments, allowing service professionals to receive their tips in lightning speed or have the fee deposited to a bank account next business day; TippyGO included in the annual subscription, giving clients the flexibility to tip right from their mobile phone on the go.
New Feature: Instant Tip Card Program is free and gives service professionals the ability to receive their tips within seconds without any additional effort on the business owner's part, rather than waiting to receive tips with the paycheck. Owners get tips into their employees' hands as soon as a client leaves a tip without the hassle of a bank run and without having to set up a float account. Clients like knowing their service professional receives their tip in a timely fashion and knows it comes from them.
Key Features: Appointment scheduling; online booking; Point-of-Sale with contactless credit card processing on any device; email and text marketing; client management; forms; a marketplace that attracts new clients to your business; COVID-clean check-in; online store; reports; and a website and app with your branding.
New Feature: Automated Capture Credit Card option to require clients to add a card when booking, providing protection from lost revenue by charging no-show and cancellation fees when a client does not give enough notice before canceling an appointment.
Key Features: A color management system consisting of three pieces that work together to connect the color bar to the front desk: the Vish Color Bar App and Bluetooth Scale, which automatically store specific formulas and exact amounts of product used; Vish Front Desk, which updates product charges to capture all service revenue; and Vish Dashboard, which gathers data from the color bar in real-time, providing supercharged analytics to track performance and identify color trends.
New Feature: Vish’s ability to integrate seamlessly with a long list of popular salon software programs creates a data communications link between the salon’s Point-of-Sale and the color bar, tracking client information and services in real-time to increase efficiency, with additions and updates to the service sent to the Vish Front Desk app so the ticket stays up-to-date for checkout.
Key Features: 2-click online booking; custom-branded client mobile app; Zenoti Go for elevated client experiences such as automated check-in/checkout, touchless payment from the client’s phone, digital form completion and more; the Zenoti mobile app for employees, managers, and owners to operate the front desk from a mobile device; digital ads management AI platform to automatically run digital ads across multiple platforms; reputation management with Zenoti’s analysis of reviews; integrated chatbot to recover missed phone calls and help clients with bookings and information through staff-free AI solution; reports and analytics integrated with NetSuite, Xero, Quickbooks, ADP Wisely, Shopify, and more.
New Feature: Digital Ads Management cross-channel advertising with a single, easy-to-use interface requires no prior marketing knowledge for salons to seamlessly create, deploy, and optimize digital campaigns across multiple channels including Google, Facebook, and Instagram, leveraging the power of AI. The platform automatically determines the most optimal keywords, pushes them across multiple channels, and balances the spend based on results.
Key Features: A consultancy that that educates and empowers salons and spas, helping to connect the dots for those seeking business solutions that fit their needs and make their business stronger; matchmaker to support the salon or spa's selection of technology, products, and education; free consultation to assess needs.
New Feature: The BeautiSoul blog, spearheaded by company founder Rachel D’Angelo, offers an environment that the industry can connect with and understand without having a background in technology. The posts address salon technology, brands, education, and industry resources in an easy-to-understand way.
Key Features: Applicant-tracking dashboard; easy ways to create, edit, or customize your opportunity in minutes and at anytime; custom business portfolio with sharable link; location notifications; social connectivity; beautiful templates; easy and quick vetting of applicants before even reaching out to them; custom marketing portal.
New Feature: CanvasME templates cater to the future of the industry and provide the ability to humanize your brand with imagery/video to attract the right talent to apply to your opportunity.
Key Features: Free custom booking site with built-in payment processing; automated reminders; powerful marketing tools; and more.
New Feature: GlossGenius Teams lets you add unlimited staff and build your team for a low monthly fee and no hidden fees. Specify roles for employees so they can access as much or as little as you'd like through preset and customization options.
Mikal Salon and Spa Software
Key Feature: Java-based salon and spa management and marketing system that can be cloud- or local-based with rental or purchase options; on-line booking and staff mobile app; front desk operations; inventory control; employee management with full payroll; sales analysis; automatic email and text marketing systems.
New Feature: Mikal's Employee Mobile Booking App (EMBA) now provides detailed staff sales and goals daily, weekly, and monthly along with full client information with tech cards and buying history at the touch of a button to make it easy to add new clients, book appointments, and view schedules from anywhere.
Key Features: Cloud-based platform that centralizes the management of core business functions for franchises and chain stores and consists of appointment booking and scheduling; Point-of-Sale; search and social bookings; 2-way messaging; growth marketing; reporting and analytics; staff management; client management; reputation and listing management; memberships and packages; referrals; classes; and mobile app.
New Feature: MyTime Memberships and Packages improves cash flow by offering clients the most popular types of memberships with both monthly and annual subscription models. Clients can redeem benefits at any location, and the payment reconciliation happens automatically between locations. Discounts on additional products and services enhance the membership experience with members-only classes, specials, and deals; special campaigns via mobile app, email, or text offer precise client targeting for classes and events.
Omni1 Hair Color Preserver by Thrivo
Key Features: Ability to send every balayage client home with their custom toner to use between visits and mail them their custom mixed root touchup; advanced technology that empowers salons to compete against online color companies by accommodating client preferences and selling color in the omnichannel.
New Feature: The patent-pending Omni1 seals and preserves mixed hair color, stopping oxidation for up to six months, at the touch of a button.
Online Testing Group
Key Features: Up-to-date testing methods for students, employees, and prospects that offer fully customizable tests for maximum flexibility and control; robust reporting and the ability to have tests taken and monitored onsite or scheduled for any future time with any device that has an internet connection; a plethora of safety features to prevent cheating and collaboration.
New Feature: Built-in reports compare employees, classes, and educators, identifying areas where those tested need additional assistance and raising your education to a new level.
Key Features: Mobile App with online booking and reports, e-commerce platforms, SMS text messaging, website confirmations/reminders, and email marketing.
Key Features: Salon website design; SEO; website conversion optimization; Google ads management; Yext partnership (citation creation and management); online reputation plan; digital marketing guidebook.
New Feature: Website Conversion Optimization turns your website into a new-client-generating machine instead of a pretty brochure, driving more new clients into your salon.
Key Features: Mobile app connecting salon and barbershop owners to individual, licensed cosmetologists and barbers to lease salon suites and stations by the day, helping the owners make money on unused space and excess inventory.
New Feature: Version 2.0 (targeted release mid-September) provides users with a redesigned and streamlined app, enhanced user experience, intuitive dashboards, and much more.
Key Features: Connects busy consumers with the top hair stylists and barbers in their city to create an on-demand service delivery experience in the client’s home, with clients booking appointments through the Shortcut app in the “DoorDash style solution” for salons; the platform automates every facet of in-home hair and beauty services from end-to-end operations to integrated marketing solutions that drive ROI.
New Feature: The connectivity potential bolsters stylist revenue with the opportunity for retaining and expanding clientele; beyond automation, Shortcut's in-home delivery platform helps salon owners hedge against turnover and allow stylists to grow their earning potential, expand their relationships with clients, and garner increased loyalty to their salon. Stylists can easily drop a pin to their location and tailor their in-home services, which are customizable through the platform—men's, women's and children's styling, cuts and coloring.
Key Features: Provides a collaborative process among guests, stylists, and the front desk to ensure color clients are booked and quoted properly by empowering stylists to determine, then share with the front desk, the service required to achieve the client’s hair goals; receptionists then share that custom plan with the client and assist with booking.
New Feature: A free consultation at the beginning of an appointment seems like a good idea until your guest sits down expecting dimensional color, but was only booked for single process color. Average retention, nationwide, is 22%. SnapSnip salons retain up to 82% of new color guests--and they spend up to 3X more than Walk-Ins or New Requests on services and 50% more on retail SnapSnip delivers the information you need before a new guest walks through your door to ensure your stylists are prepared. Preparation equals Retention.
Key Features: Fully integrated omni-channel solution for salons, featuring an integrated catalog with robust listings for services, Point-of-Sale, and an e-commerce site; dashboard with access to reporting, marketing tools, and review management; additional services available, including websites, digital loyalty, appointments, local delivery, and national shipping.
New Feature: Instead of listing services at a fixed price with little customization, SpotOn Retail lets salons offer both products and services in-store and online with flexible pricing based on time, measurements, experience level, team member, channel, and more.
Key Features: All-in-one POS solution allowing salon owners to offer 24/7 booking, build a custom website, manage team members and client relationships, sell retail items, accept payments, and check out clients; Square Assistant allows clients to respond directly to SMS appointment reminders by confirming, canceling, or changing upcoming appointments, and then the software automatically replies to clients and coordinates bookings; Square Messages keeps each client’s texts, emails, and appointment reminders in one place.
New Feature: Square Appointments is now integrated with Square Online, a free e-commerce website that lets salons create an integrated, customizable website to match the aesthetic of their business and let clients easily book appointments and purchase retail products remotely. Square Appointments and Square Online offer omni-channel operations for salons to sell products and services in new and different ways to address client demand.
Key Features: Patented Color Conversion technology that instantly and accurately translates client formulas created in one color brand to a matching formula in a different brand.
New Feature: The technology increases the speed of color brand adoption and swap-outs at the salon level, shifts market share for manufacturers and distributors, facilitates inventory optimization within a salon, digitizes and simplifies education and training on a new color brand, and reduces costs in these areas for distributors, manufacturers, and salons while providing easy, fast, no-fear transition for colorists who move from one salon or brand to another.
Key Features: System offering automatic matches with top salon talent for your brand, and owner and stylists both receive the alert; proprietary salon culture archetype assessment; ability to browse student and stylist profiles to learn everything about them in one place; ability for stylists to browse salon profiles and make the first move; easy “who they are” snapshot of both stylist and salon; job posting; direct messaging; live video message interviewing; business education feed you can both consume and contribute to.
New Feature: Proprietary algorithm (launching in 2022) takes the hard work out of knowing if someone is a good fit for your team by going beyond the resume and sending ideal candidates for your brand, culture, and vibe after you build your profile and complete a few assessments. It’s like a dating app for salon employment.
Key Features: Unlimited one-to-one text messaging solutions—both desktop- and mobile-friendly, using your existing business phone number, including picture texting (MMS) with images, links, and emojis; after-hours auto replies; scheduled texting; ability to customize keywords to automate engagement and link to websites, videos, forms, and more; multi-location support with switchboard view and ability to toggle between locations; group texting with up to 15 people in blind carbon copy fashion just like an email; integration with Meevo2 and SalonBiz that unlocks additional features like appointment reminders and rescheduling.
New Feature: Textel Blast, a mass text messaging solution, lets the salon instantly communicate promotions and notifications by creating personal and customized text messages with images and links. Choose monthly or annual option.
Key Features: Plug-and-play solutions that provide full artificial intelligence to any website, allowing salons to quickly and easily create new and customized websites, provide interactive videos with quizzes and scoring, and host online content for the general public or via subscription service.
New Feature: Valise AI, an easy-to-use, fully customizable, AI package for any website, is not just a chatbot; it learns as it's used but can be put into operation immediately.
Key Features: Cloud or local installation; multi-site and enterprise-ready interface; workflow; automation customization advanced scheduling of services, classes, and events; powerful Point-of-Sale marketing and promotions; inventory; service-based product utilization; electronic forms; remote check-in; custom mobile apps; client portals.
New Feature: The Quotation iPad or Android Tablet App integrates with KORVUE's drip campaign system and allows staff to prepare customized quotes of products, services, packages, and memberships. The client can pay for the quote at checkout, online, or on the client-mobile app, which supports electronic signatures, look book, and automation of custom packages/series as well as advanced pricing controls, promotions, and out-the-door pricing to help secure new sales.
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