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Industry • Best Practice

The Rise of Mobile Appointment Booking in the Salon Industry


By Boulevard

Mobile appointment booking offers speed, convenience, and peace of mind for both your business and your clients

In the past, booking salon appointments was a real pain. Booking by email could take hours of back-and-forth exchanges. Booking by phone only worked if both the client and the staff were free to have an involved conversation. Booking in-person involved paper calendars and a lot of guesswork. Walk-ins were chancy, canceled appointments were frequent, and rebooking was chaotic.

The era of smartphones has changed all of that. Now, salons can employ comprehensive scheduling software and clients can book appointments at the tap of a button. Thanks to mobile appointment booking, clients can schedule their favorite services via websites, social media, and even directly through Google Maps. There’s almost zero friction between wanting to visit a salon and getting an appointment set up.

If your salon offers mobile booking, here are a few ways to make the most of it. And if you haven’t implemented this feature yet, here are a few reasons why you might want to.

A smartphone revolution

Mobile booking offers substantial benefits for both clients and salon staff. First and foremost, clients can choose their own time slots through self-booking software. These programs prevent double-bookings, and can instead waitlist clients automatically. A good piece of software can coordinate schedules for various technicians while taking meal breaks, vacations, and other time off into account. It can also add the appointment right to a client’s electronic calendar.

Another big advantage is that clients can add payment information right from the website or app. Mobile booking lets your clients safely store their credit card or bank account details, and pay for your services before they even walk through the door. If they don’t show or cancel late, you can charge cancellation fees. Because their payment data is on file, they can then seamlessly add a tip and checkout after the appointment. 

Mobile appointment booking allows clients to handle most of the clerical details themselves, leaving employees free to focus on more interesting work — including giving great service to the clients who are already at the salon.

Leveraging social media and popular platforms

If you’ve been building up your social media marketing, you probably have a page on Facebook, Instagram, and similar platforms. Similarly, your salon is probably on Google Maps, even if the listing is as simple as an address and a phone number (but you should optimize the listing for best results). All of these channels offer mobile appointment booking options. If you take advantage of these features, you’ll be removing one more barrier between you and your potential clients.

Social media is, effectively, part search engine and part town square. Potential clients can search for salons and find your name, address, and contact info, just like on Google. However, they can also talk with you — or about you — and open up the conversation to hundreds of other participants. This can be a wonderful thing if you have a strong relationship with your community.

It can also be a wonderful thing if you give these potential clients the opportunity to book appointments without having to leave the platform. Facebook and Instagram let you use third-party plugins to add a “book now” button to your page, which makes booking even faster and more convenient. 

Similarly, Google Maps is a fantastic way for new clients to find your business. Clients doing research online can find your salon through Google; clients who are out and about can find your salon by checking the Maps app. Be sure to claim your business profile on Google, and ensure that your name, address, and contact info are accurate. You can also add a “book online” button to your Maps profile. Remember that Google Maps also displays reviews, which could influence client decisions. If you have positive reviews, you could thank clients for their support. If you have negative reviews, you could try to assuage client concerns. 

Useful mobile booking features for clients

It’s almost always more convenient to book an appointment with an app than with a phone call or email. However, you’ll want to make sure your app offers the right features. A poorly optimized or unintuitive app could inconvenience clients or, worse, drive them away.

First and foremost, your app should look and feel like the rest of your brand. For example, Boulevard’s client portal lets you use your own brand logo and pictures, as well as customize your own login URL.

Scheduling is one of the most important features a mobile booking app can offer. Be sure that the software recognizes your business’s hours and your technicians’ schedules, and doesn’t allow double-booking. Some software can automatically add clients to waitlists, and even recommend suggested appointment slots when they first book. The app should also integrate with a client’s mobile calendar.

Customization is a vital part of the client experience, as salons offer many different experiences at a variety of price points. Your mobile booking app should let a client select services and add-ons, and clearly communicate the cost of each one.

Speaking of payments, customers should be able to add their credit card information — and you should be able to ask for a deposit — a crucial tactic for cutting down on no-shows. Remember, though, that credit card information can be a liability online, so be sure to use a service with strong cybersecurity principles.

Some mobile booking apps also offer ways to stay in touch with clients both before and after the booking. Appointment reminders and push notifications are two proven ways of doing this. You can send appointment reminders via text message, which helps clients arrive on time and avoid cancellations.

Push notifications, on the other hand, are a great way to keep clients coming back after their appointments. You can send short, personalized alerts directly to their smartphones. These can include information about sales and special offers, or they can simply remind clients that they’re due for a repeat visit. You can customize push notifications based on where a client lives, what services and add-ons they buy, when they last came to your salon, and more.

Whatever you choose to do with your mobile app, remember that getting clients in the door is only the first step. Once they have an appointment, you’ll still need the human factor to provide warmth, hospitality, and top-notch service that will keep them coming back, again and again.

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