salon pos system

Industry • Best Practice

Selecting a Salon POS System: 11 Key Considerations

Salon POS systems play a critical role in both client experiences and business operations, so investing in a powerful platform is important.

Nothing can torpedo a client's salon experience like a clunky point of sale (POS) system. Every step of the appointment is important, but if checkout leaves a bad taste in their mouth, the recency effect is going to keep it there.

Luckily, you don't have to let it linger. If the client slides through checkout like a penguin down a snowy hill, that friction-free experience can get them out the door still basking in the post-salon glow.

So, how do you ensure a smooth checkout? With a state-of-the-art salon POS system. In this article, we’ll examine 11 key considerations that salon owners and operational managers should evaluate in order to select the perfect POS.

Why is your salon POS system so important?

Your POS system is a key moment in the salon experience. Imagine a client has just had a dreamy visit at your salon, benefitting from the top-notch services, beautiful amenities, and unparalleled customer service you offer. Then, when it comes time to leave, the client is forced to go through a payment process that’s unwieldy, inconvenient, and slow. If they have to swipe their card three times, wait around for payment to go through, or dig through their purse for cash, that will be the last thing they remember about your business. That may be enough to turn them off from coming back.

Losing a client because your POS isn’t up to snuff is simply unnecessary. Implementing a system that eliminates friction and even delights customers with elegance and simplicity is crucial; when that final interaction is a dream, the client leaves feeling positive about their visit, and will carry that association out into the world with them.

Selecting the right salon POS also has a measurable impact on salon operations. A great system can help salon businesses reduce costs, improve efficiency, and increase both employee and customer satisfaction at the same time.

11 key considerations when selecting a salon POS system

Ease of use

Intuitive and easy-to-use salon technology also enables your staff to focus on what really matters, like excellent services and in-person interactions. Implementing a beautiful and easy-to-use POS system will also cut down on training time, since it will make it easier for employees to get up to speed and become comfortable with the tech elements of your business.

Contactless payments

The easier your POS system is for clients to use, the more positive their experience will be. Dip payment, in which the client puts their EMV-enabled card into the POS for a few seconds, is already easier than swiping. But tap payments that use near-field communication (NFC) and contactless payment are even easier. Fifty-one percent of Americans are already using it. You just need to let them do so in your salon.

Brand customization

You’ve worked hard to develop your brand, from the look and feel of the visuals you use to the physical experiences that clients have in your salon. Make sure your POS system allows you to customize your digital interactions too, by applying your brand colors, logo, etc. Instead of creating a jarring effect with soulless tech at the end of the salon experience, custom branding will show clients that you’ve thought of everything and will remind them that the care and attention you provide even includes beautiful payment processes.

Device convenience

POS systems that require a heavy hardware lift are out of the question for most salons. There’s no room for an office full of servers and dedicated devices, hard-wired machines break up the physical flow of in-person salon experiences, and hardware that isn’t both multipurpose and fully mobile can lead to an inflexible and inefficient mess of cords. Instead, look for a cloud-based POS system that allows you to access your data and process payments anytime, anywhere, and on any device, without needing an IT overhaul. 

Secure payments

In 2021, the FTC received nearly 390,000 reports of credit card fraud in the U.S. Keeping your clients safe from that threat is critical to keeping them loyal. Your salon’s POS system is the main place where their data is at risk, so you need to invest in a system that keeps clients safe.

Look for POS solutions that are EMV-certified and use end-to-end encryption. That helps to protect client data throughout every transaction. If possible, encourage clients to use dip or tap payments, as swipes are the least secure option of the three.

Tracking & reporting

With a POS system that offers real-time sales reporting, owners and operational managers can have a finger on the pulse of their salons at all times. Whether checking in on business progress remotely, managing multiple locations or franchises, or just confirming inventory behind the counter, salon tracking and reporting capabilities empower salon staff to make data-backed business decisions that improve profitability. If your POS system offers more advanced tracking features, you should also be able to run reports to identify your most in-demand stylists, best-selling products, and even most loyal customers. 

Client relationships

Many salon POS systems also include customer relationship management features. Combining your POS system with salon management capabilities makes good business sense because it gives you total oversight into the client-side experience and the business side of each interaction, without having to log-in to a new system or switch to a different device.

Quick access to customer details at the point of sale — like preferred pronouns, frequent payment methods, favorite products, or the need to book a follow-up appointment — leaves clients feeling supported and understood, while also increasing revenue opportunities for the salon. Integrating client relationship management with your POS system can also unlock loyalty benefits and rewards programs, encouraging clients to become frequent customers and refer your salon to others.

Flexible pricing

Everyone wants to feel like they're part of the club. Offering clients a membership or other loyalty rewards is a great way to give them that feeling — as long as your POS can handle it. If a client has a membership that rewards them with discounts on your services, you can save time and friction by having your POS communicate with your loyalty system. This will automatically adjust their prices at checkout.

Robust support

No matter how simple a salon POS system is, adopting it will always bring challenges you can’t predict. When those speed bumps are directly tied to your revenue stream, they can seem that much bigger. The best way to navigate those treacherous roads is to choose a solution with stellar customer support. That means expansive hours of availability, rapid response times, quick resolution, and, if you can find it, a genuine desire to help.

Credit card surcharging

For many salons, the rise of the credit card has been a mixed bag. On the one hand, the convenience they offer gives clients a better experience. On the other, processing fees have cut into more and more of the revenue. With built-in credit card surcharging, your salon can shift some of that weight onto clients without triggering sticker shock.

Cali Everts, Director of Operations for the spa Hi, skin, felt that need acutely. "We really saw a need to get back a little bit more of the funds that were going out the door with processing fees," Cali said in an interview. "They were just getting high, and it's a big expense for a small business, especially."

Now, Everts says Hi, skin has recouped $58,000 per year across its four locations using Boulevard's surcharge feature, Offset.

"We've seen a huge difference, even just between doing [surcharges] manually and now having Offset, in the amount of fees that we're recouping," she said.

Seamless integration

Today’s most powerful POS systems are designed to go above and beyond payment processing. But if you choose to opt for a POS system that focuses exclusively on payments, make sure that it integrates directly with the software tools you use to manage scheduling, offer online bookings, and collect client details.

Choosing the right salon POS system is a delicate balance between fitting your budget, finding the features you need, and giving clients an unforgettable experience. At Boulevard, we created an all-in-one payment platform that covers everything from refunds and merchant payouts to cardless POS and flawless checkout experiences. That includes the hyper-flexible POS Boulevard Duo, secure payment processing, membership integrations, credit card surcharging via Offset, and plenty more. If you’re looking for a system that does it all — and does it all in style — then you’re looking for Boulevard.

Boulevard was built to help your business achieve profitability at scale without losing an inch of sanity. See for yourself! Get a free demo today.


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