Boulevard, provider of the client experience platform purpose-built for appointment-based, self-care businesses, recently announced the findings of a new consumer survey aimed at helping salon owners and stylists better understand how to attract new clients and keep them coming back.
According to the Boulevard study, value, reputation, and the ability to provide a high-end experience, in that order, are the top attributes clients seek when choosing a new salon or barbershop. When it comes to choosing a new stylist, clients are primarily influenced by availability, the recommendation of friends, and the work they see in a stylist’s online portfolio, respectively. Online self-booking, meanwhile, is seen as critical to both client acquisition and retention.
Boulevard surveyed 800 beauty service consumers to better understand their behaviors, motivations, and preferences regarding the salon experience. The survey findings will help salon owners and stylists develop offerings to both attract new clients and retain existing ones. On average, survey respondents are in their 30s, come from middle-class households, are college-educated, and have at least one child. More insights can be found in the full report, titled “The Perfect Salon: A Data-Drive Guide to Creating the Ideal Client Experience.”
Choosing a new salon: price point top of mind, but not alone
Pricing is the most critical factor when picking a new hair salon or barbershop, with 40 percent of consumers citing price point as their top consideration—more than twice as much as any other factor. Among respondents who listed price point as their top priority, 60 percent were men. Price consistency is more important than finding a one-off deal, as only three percent of respondents say discounts or deals are crucial to their decision-making process.
Though pricing remains the key consideration for many, other consumers gravitate toward reputation and experience. Among survey respondents, 18 percent indicate that a salon or barbershop’s name brand and reputation is their top consideration, while 13 percent are primarily influenced by a salon’s ability to provide a high-end experience, followed by how friendly the staff is (9 percent) and how local the business is to their home (6 percent).
Choosing a new stylist: the best ability is availability
When it comes to selecting a new barber or stylist, availability is the top consideration, cited by 33 percent of survey respondents. Among that subset, 70 percent are men. Twenty seven percent of respondents rely primarily on the recommendation of friends, while 22 percent are primarily influenced by a stylist’s online portfolio. Other factors include the stylist’s social media following (7 percent) and stylists “who match my vibe” (6 percent). Among those for whom a high-quality online portfolio was the top consideration, 53 percent are women.
Easy online booking gets clients in the door, keeps them coming back
Asked how they prefer to book appointments, 42 percent of respondents indicate a desire to self-book online. Booking by phone and booking in person (including walk-ins and pre-booking) are a distant second and third, preferred by 26 and 22 percent of respondents, respectively. Easy online booking is just as critical to retaining customers as it is attracting them, according to the Boulevard survey, with nearly a quarter of all respondents (24 percent) indicating that a poor online booking experience is the number one reason they wouldn’t return to a salon.
“The key takeaway from Boulevard’s survey is that when it comes to attracting and retaining customers, a great client experience extends beyond what happens inside the salon,” said Shanalie Wijesinghe, director of education, Boulevard. “Whether it’s finding available service providers, viewing examples of a stylist's work, or quickly and easily self-booking appointments online, every aspect of the client experience matters. The more comfortable, effortless, and enjoyable the experience is for your client, the more likely they are to return.”
Additional key findings from the Boulevard survey include:
- 68 percent of male clients visit the salon at least once a month; 54 percent of female clients visit at least once every 6-8 weeks
- 67 percent of male clients book multiple services in a single visit, compared to 49 percent of female clients
- 83 percent of clients search for salons using local listings via sites such as Google and Yelp
- 60 percent of respondents said they follow salons or stylists on social media, but only 7 percent said the size of the stylist’s online following was their top hiring determinant
- 50 percent of respondents said their product purchases are influenced by a stylist’s professional recommendation, with men more likely than women (63 percent vs. 37 percent) to be highly motivated to purchase a product on account of a recommendation
- 74 percent of clients tip of a minimum of 15 percent each time they visit the salon; how a stylist makes someone look and feel is the top motivating factor influencing tip size
- 60 percent of respondents indicated that they prefer gender-neutral pricing.
To view the complete findings of Boulevard’s consumer survey, download the full report here. To learn how Boulevard can help you create a seamless online booking experience for your clients, reach out now for a free demo.
About Boulevard: Boulevard offers a client experience platform purpose-built for appointment-based, self-care businesses. Boulevard empowers business owners and stylists alike to deliver personable, enjoyable experiences to their clients through online appointment scheduling, messaging, and payments that are simple, elegant, and reliable. A privately held company founded in 2016, Boulevard has earned the trust of thousands of salons and spas across the nation by delivering the world-class technology and genuine, human, personable service they deserve. To learn more, visit joinblvd.com.
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