The digital transformation is uplifting all industries, and beauty is no exception. Machine learning, social media, the Internet of Things, and other emerging technologies are changing the way salon owners and stylists connect with their clients and run their businesses, and there are many ways salon enterprises can adapt.
Emerging trends in salon tech all point toward one thing: giving clients the power to make the best beauty decisions for themselves. Your salon already delivers an outstanding user experience, but embracing these trends can elevate your business into something truly exceptional.
1. Virtual imaging
Augmented reality (AR) is perhaps the most exciting — and useful — tech in the beauty space. AR apps let clients see how a new hair color or style would look on them before they commit to it. They take a quick selfie, and with a few taps can see a realistic rendering of their new ‘do. The virtual imaging concept has been around for years, but it was clunky and the results were a little better than the user’s own imagination. AR is fast, easy to use, and convincing.
Virtual imaging has also emerged as a solution for selling cosmetics in the COVID era. Safety protocols prevent customers from testing shades against their skin, making it difficult to try anything new. Beauty tech from companies like L’Oreal uses contactless try-on tools for virtual makeup. A client at your salon could fire up Snapchat or Instagram and safely browse for their ideal new shadow or lip stain, then purchase it from you when they check out.
2. Personalized skincare
The hottest trend in beauty tech is skincare customized to the individual. L’Oreal’s Perso smart tech uses AI to assess the user’s skincare issues, then combines that with information about local weather conditions like UV saturation and pollution. It then dispenses a single dose of product customized to those specific needs. L’Occitane en Provence takes the same concept but provides more flexibility by basing its emulsions on a mix of single-use ingredients. A diagnostic tool assesses the user’s particular needs and creates a regimen for day and night. The user inserts the AI-recommended capsules into a mixer that produces a lotion for them in 90 seconds. Customers can either buy lotion elements as they need them or opt into a monthly delivery. And Neutrogena has a simpler option for those who don’t want a whole new device: an app that will analyze skincare issues based on a selfie.
3. Salon management
Management software is the secret to streamlining your salon’s operations. Automating tasks like inventory management, service timing, and reporting leaves your staff free to focus on things that require a human touch. Management tech can go beyond logistics, however; it can empower your clients to schedule their own appointments and stay safe with contactless check-in and payments. Your clientele is comfortable using their phone to interact with the world, so use that to set your salon apart.
Boulevard can help you do all that and more — the platform simplifies and connects workflows while delivering a best-in-class client experience. Not to mention, our simple booking overlay lives on your website, looks like your brand, and lets clients see service providers, times, and pricing as they book — crazy convenient for them and business-boosting for you. We’ve also got the data to back it up. 90 days after switching to Boulevard, the average salon sees 16% more services booked and 18% more retail value. That’s on top of a 24% boost to client gratuity.
From ceramic hair irons to no-heat color, technology has been advancing the beauty industry for years. Emerging beauty tech is about creating an experience unique to each customer — whether that’s through AR, AI, or game-changing self-booking. Introduce your clientele to the benefits of next-gen beauty, and they’ll follow you into the future.