Scott Blum, vice president of Total Merchant Services, teaches salon owners what to look for when considering a point-of-sale system.
For any modern business owner, choosing a point-of-sale (POS) system is one of the most important decisions you can make. If you own a day spa or hair salon, you are no exception. Spend time learning how a POS can take your service business to the next level.
What Can a POS Do for You?
If you think that a POS is just a glorified cash register, think again. With the recent advent of compact hardware solutions such as iPads and Android tablets, POS systems have evolved into highly advanced technology devices that can help you manage and grow your business.
In addition to processing customers’ payments, a high-quality POS can help you develop and maintain a dynamic database of loyal customers. It can also be an invaluable business accounting tool to track expenses, profitability and your workers’ hours. Your POS can be your efficient, silent partner when it comes to managing inventory, tracking sales trends and preparing for tax time.
With each passing day, the capabilities of POS systems keep growing. You might be amazed by what they can help you accomplish. When evaluating systems, you need to consider what features are most important to you.
Learn More About Your Customers
One of the beautiful things about the best POS solutions for spas and salons is that they help you relate to your customers in a variety of ways. You can use them to store birthdates in order to send an annual coupon or free gift, or keep tabs on your customers’ visit histories as well as what products they buy. A great way to make someone truly feel cared about is to send them a discount or free sample that meshes with their buying history.
You can also use a good POS to link customers to the people they have referred. Offering an incentive for each friend or family member they send your way is a win-win for both of you.
As the owner of a service shop, you probably know better than anyone that no POS system, regardless of how robust it may be, is going to take the place of good old-fashioned customer service. You will still need to train your staff and market your company via social media, word of mouth and traditional means of advertising.
Harness Location-Based Capabilities
Today’s tablets and smartphones are equipped with global positioning systems (GPS) that can be used to locate the device in space. When using these tools, people can obtain turn-by-turn directions to their favorite points of interest, including your business. Use your POS solution to send email blasts and flash messages only when your customers are within a certain vicinity of your shop.
Make Scheduling Easy
Your hair salon or spa may rely on walk-in customers, or your regular customers may prefer to make their appointments in advance. If needed, choose a POS system that can help customers set their appointments quickly and can reliably handle both one-time and repeat bookings.
Many customers may enjoy the flexibility of booking their appointments online. A friendly email can be sent shortly after booking to confirm that the time slot has been saved with the professional of their choice. An ideal POS will remind customers a day in advance of an upcoming manicure, haircut or massage. A word of caution: Scheduling can be complicated because you (and/or your system) need to track all incoming requests against the schedules of your employees. While some systems claim to have a scheduling feature, be sure it truly makes scheduling automatic and easy before you pay a premium for it. A less expensive system without scheduling could be a better value if you end up taking appointments separately due to system inaccuracies.
The Power of Integrated POS Packages
Gone are the days when you need to have a network of booking tools, credit card processors, merchant accounts and software that tracks inventory. There are several excellent POS systems designed specifically with service businesses such as hair salons and day spas in mind.
Once you carefully choose an integrated system that fits your needs and priorities, you will be amazed at how it will help you optimize your business. Tracking and ordering inventory, organizing information about staff hours, providing the capabilities that allow you to create a dynamic customer database and a loyalty program – these are just some of the compelling reasons to make a POS an integral part of your day spa or salon. Finally, rest assured that you do not need to walk this path alone. A high-quality POS vendor will provide top-shelf customer service and help you and your staff get up to speed on all of your POS’ features. Best of all, technology is making quantum leaps forward from one year to the next. The sky is the limit when it comes to how your POS could benefit your spa or salon five or ten years from now.