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Salon Meets Today's Client Expectations for Convenience with New Technology Tools

by Laurel Nelson | July 15, 2019
<p>Using the salon&#39;s iPad, Gloria Edge helps a client book her next appointment.&nbsp;</p>
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Using the salon's iPad, Gloria Edge helps a client book her next appointment. 

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<p>Anthony and Gloria Edge, owners of Upper House-Salon on Kettner in San Diego, California.&nbsp;</p>
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Anthony and Gloria Edge, owners of Upper House-Salon on Kettner in San Diego, California. 

<p>Using the salon&#39;s iPad, Gloria Edge helps a client book her next appointment.&nbsp;</p>
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Using the salon's iPad, Gloria Edge helps a client book her next appointment. 

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<p>Anthony and Gloria Edge, owners of Upper House-Salon on Kettner in San Diego, California.&nbsp;</p>
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Anthony and Gloria Edge, owners of Upper House-Salon on Kettner in San Diego, California. 

Gloria and Anthony Edge, owners of Edge Academy, recently branched out into salon ownership. When they took over Upper House-Salon on Kettner in San Diego last year, they knew technology was going to play a huge role in their business. Although neither of the husband-wife duo would classify themselves as tech savvy, they didn’t let that stop them from delivering the service their clients wanted. 

With the help of Rosy Salon Software, the Edges’ clients are able to interact with the salon via its website, social media, an app or text at any time. Gloria and Anthony say they had to make this happen to keep up with consumer demand for convenience.

“That’s the direction our society is moving toward,” Gloria says. “People want everything to be simple and easy—and online.”

Since adopting Rosy, the Edges have adapted to the learning curve, taking it one step at a time.

“I felt comfortable learning how to use the system,” Gloria says. “They’ve been so patient with us and check in often, working around our schedule and walking us through each new element. They’ve also advised us on how to enhance our business.”

Booking the Appointment

The number-one priority for Gloria and Anthony was simplifying the booking experience for their clients.

Using Rosy allowed them to do just that. When creating the online booking experience for clients, Rosy software developers were thoughtful in how they would connect with the consumer, says Jim Bower, founder of Rosy Salon Software and SalonInteractive.

“The consumer is able to connect with a salon through email, text messages and the salon’s website,” Bower says. “There are other software programs that direct you to their site—not the salon’s. We want the salon to have the ability to brand themselves and build their business as clients book online.”

Clients of Upper House book everything from hair cuts to balayage online—any appointment can be booked directly on the salon’s website or app.

“We customized it so we have the ability to double book or bring an assistant in,” Gloria says. “We also can remind clients to use certain products while they are booking as well. And if a client wants to book at 2 a.m., she can.”

Clients can create a profile and use it in an app, or they can book on the website—it’s their choice. They can choose when they want their appointment confirmed via text, too.

“They can adjust it to two days or the day before the appointment, and the text also has a link for rescheduling if needed,” Gloria says. “Or a client can also book with their stylist while they are in the chair. Stylists have an app that allows them to use their phone to schedule the client in front of them.”

Because consumers are used to doing business online (banking, shopping, restaurant reservations, etc), converting clients to exclusively booking online was a smooth transition—98% of Upper House clients book online.

“We don’t even have a front desk or receptionist,” Gloria says. “The salon phone number goes to my cell phone, but I only take one or two calls per day. Most people find us on social media and then book directly from there.”

And when clients book after regular business hours, the Edges get a notification the next morning that someone booked while they were closed.

“Our clients love that it’s so easy,” Gloria says. “There’s an expectation that a business offers this convenience—it’s what modern businesses are all about—being right there, right now.”

An unexpected positive impact the Edges have seen is to their culture. Without a front desk, there’s no finger pointing for appointments booked incorrectly and no chance for mistakes.

“It helps with our environment,” Gloria says. “Everything is black and white.”

Cyber Retailing

The Edges have also brought retail into the digital age with SalonInteractive, an e-commerce software that allows clients to buy products directly from the salon’s website or app, via email or through the salon’s social media platforms.

“Many salons can’t stock 12 of every product due to space or financial constraints,” Anthony says. “Using SalonInteractive allows you to have a few products for display, and then direct customers to shop online.”

SalonInteractive has partnered with a network of distributors who fulfill the client’s order within two days, making the process seamless for all involved.

“We don’t have to deal with packaging, labels or post office visits,” Anthony says. “Beauty Solutions (our distributor) handles all that when the order goes through.”

Currently, SalonInteractive has 15 distributors running with five more being integrated and another five contracts out.

“We had good success with early adopters and it has snowballed,” Bower says. “Sales have doubled every month for the last 10 months.”

By leveraging the distribution network, SalonInteractive has found a way to compete with Amazon while benefiting the salon owner.

“We know we have to compete with Amazon,” Bower says. “But we also know there is no better sales person for professional beauty products than a hairdresser, so we’ve leveraged that client/stylist relationship to translate into sales.”

To the consumer, it just looks like their salon is selling products—SalonInteractive is completely behind the scenes. “There’s a link that says ‘shop’ on our emails, app, website and social media platforms, and the client just clicks on it—it’s all done for us,” Anthony says.

A database in SalonInteractive tracks clients’ habits and is used to remind them when to restock.

“SalonInteractive sends emails to clients to remind them to reorder products that may be running low, or prompts us to remind them at check out that they may need to purchase a new shampoo and conditioner,” Anthony says.

The software also makes retail suggestions. If a client booked a blowout, a smoothing product might be offered. And if a client gets home and can’t remember how to use a new product, help is available on the online tutorial provided by SalonInteractive.

“The client relationship is trusting,” Anthony says. “They want to support us, and when they shop through an email we send them, they feel they’re supporting us and shopping local.”

The result of the Edges’ retail push via email and social media is 10-20% of additional sales.

Bower says this is just the beginning for SalonInteractive.

“We’re working with other software companies so we can be compatible with everyone,” he says. “And we’re also going to clean up retail data throughout the industry so we can be a neutral hub where manufacturers can get information like what type of shampoo sold the most on a Saturday afternoon or what day of the week a certain product sells the most.” 

Hands-Off Marketing

SalonInteractive doesn’t just facilitate retail sales—it’s also a powerful marketing tool that takes out all the guess work for the salon owner, the stylist and the client.

“We’ve created microsites that are branded to each salon,” Bower says. “Every retail order goes through that salon’s microsite, and the salon gets credit and commission for the sale.”

Marketing emails to the consumer are branded to the salon, including logo, header, footer, etc. The emails also build up the stylist/client relationship with verbiage such as: “Sara recommends this conditioner to complement the shampoo you just purchased.”

“SalonInteractive makes it easy,” Gloria says. “They even put the link in our Instagram, and when we feature a product of the week, there’s a link in bio to shop.”

Gloria also likes the customizable template she can change and send to her database. “For example, we can customize one for Mother’s Day with a buy two products, get a third free deal and send it out to our database.”

Bower adds, “All our online tools from Rosy and SalonInteractive—gift cards, packages, appointment scheduling, etc—are the conduit from the salon to the client.”

Whether a client is checking reward points, buying a gift card, purchasing retail or booking an appointment, these tools are an opportunity for the salon to be accessible and tap into marketing opportunities.

Modern Conveniences

The salon is on the upper level in a small space, with just five stylists, but they don’t feel at all limited by their size.

“We’re a small salon, but offer everything a bigger salon offers,” Anthony says. “By eliminating our front desk and offering online booking and shopping, we were able to streamline our space while still giving clients everything they need.”

Video cameras are another piece of technology the Edges added to their space.

“When we’re not there, we’re able to see what’s going on in the salon,” Gloria says. “We see when people have a break, we know if it’s going to be really busy—we can just look on the computer at home or when we’re on the road, and it’s all there.”

And their professional lives will continue to run more smoothly as Rosy works to provide even more services.

“We have put together APIs (Application Programming Interface) to work with other apps such as smart scales and tipping platforms,” Bower says.

Solving problems together is the direction Bower sees technology heading. “Technology should all plug in together and be seamless,” he says. “We need to be adaptable and easy to integrate.”

In the end, this leads to one result—a better, customized experience for the client. And when the client’s happy, everyone is happy.

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