Industry • Best Practice
Salon Software: The Ultimate Guide
Jan.07,2022By Boulevard Staff
The tools you need to manage inventory, supercharge reception, and nail accounting, without losing focus on what your salon does best.
Salon software comes in many shapes and sizes and tackles many different areas of what it takes to run a business. Having the right tech in place will free up your time and empower your team to do what you hired them to do. Let stylists style, managers manage, and owners own with these salon software tools that can help any beauty business reach for the stars.
Your point of sale is a prime opportunity for powerful salon software
Most salons invest heavily in the experiences they provide clients, and the point of sale is part of that experience, not separate from it. That’s why selecting the right POS software is the difference between tanking the vibe your staff worked so hard to create and sending your customers out the door positively glowing from the treatments they’ve received. Here are seven key aspects to consider when selecting a POS software solution for your salon:
Easy to use: Choosing software that is intuitive and beautiful will make your clients happier and your employees’ lives easier, not to mention cut down on training time.
Customizable: Check for customization features that allow you to put your branding on display and create a coherent digital experience for your clients.
Convenient: Tech solutions can be onerous, so make sure your POS software is cloud-based and lightweight; bonus points if you can use the devices you already have.
Secure: POS systems are primarily devoted to monetary transactions, and in today’s world the ability to process and store payment details securely is non-negotiable.
Trackable: Real time sales tracking and reporting are important features for the salon managers and owners tasked with keeping business on track.
Client-focused: Look for a POS system that integrates transaction processing and your client relationship management tools all in the same place.
Seamless: Avoid making a mess of your tech by selecting POS software that works together seamlessly and communicates directly with all your other tools.
To learn more about finding the perfect point of sale software for your business, read our in-depth article: “Selecting a Salon POS System: 7 Key Considerations.”
Turn mundane moments into special experiences with booking software
The days of calling a salon to book an appointment are on the way out. Instead of those high-touch conversations, most salons have begun to offer self-service capabilities powered by technology. Booking software gives clients the freedom to find information and make appointments on their own time, and also frees up salon staff to focus on more urgent tasks that require in-person attention. Here are the seven features you should look for in your salon booking software:
24/7 scheduling: Clients should be able to book day or night from up-to-date schedules that both reflect staff availability and provide a cushion of time between appointments.
Client satisfaction: Using booking software makes it that much easier for salons to automatically update clients’ personal details, like preferred pronouns, birthdays, etc.
Staff support: Booking software also supports specificity around staff resources too, like drilling down to their specialties, services, schedules, rates, assistants, and more.
Automation: Get more out of your booking tool by scheduling automated reminders and follow-ups that help support clients to show up on time and book in again soon.
Transactions: Make sure your booking software can handle any monetary transactions your salon needs, like booking fees or up-front deposits required to hold appointments.
Paperwork: If your salon uses intake forms or paperwork to collect personal details and signatures from clients, look for booking software that can digitize the process.
Reporting: Most importantly, check for reporting and analysis capabilities that will allow you to track your salon’s success, identify bottlenecks, and uncover new business opportunities.
Curious to know what you’ll find in the industry’s top booking software tools? Read our full article: “7 Features the Best Salon Booking Software Platforms Have in Common.”
Track what you have in stock with inventory management software
Don’t let your inventory be an afterthought; even though it may not be the focus of your business, it’s a crucial part of becoming profitable. Salon software programs that offer inventory management are designed to help increase efficiency and achieve long-term success by basing key decisions on detailed data instead of manual input. These are the most important features salon owners should look for in an inventory management solution:
Stock management: The basics of inventory management require you to know what you have in stock, understand how your inventory maps onto your sales goals, and anticipate what items you will need before you run out.
Data optimization: Don’t eyeball your inventory when it’s time to restock; use data to optimize your ordering instead. This will help you stick to a budget, maximize your storage space, and increase revenue.
Inbound and outbound processes: It’s important that your inventory software makes it easier to process items, complete purchase orders, and issue returns. That way your shelves will always look their best and your staff will always have what they need.
Multi-location visibility: If your salon business is spread across multiple locations, your inventory management software should give you insight into both store-specific and company-wide data, all within the same system.
Real-time reporting: Make sure your inventory management software offers customizable real-time reports so you can prioritize the data that’s most important to you and most supportive of your salon business.
Want to learn more about managing your stock, improving ordering, and increasing sales revenue? Read our article: “Salon Inventory Management Software: A Features Checklist.”
Support your staff and delight your clients with a virtual receptionist
Missing clients’ calls is often dismissed as a fact of salon operations, but it doesn’t have to be that way. For some salon businesses, hiring a full-time receptionist is too costly. For others, duties and responsibilities of the receptionist are often lumped in with other roles, making it impossible for those employees to wait by the phone. Sometimes individual stylists run their own reception, which requires superhuman multi-tasking abilities.
That’s where virtual receptionist tools come into play. Support your front desk team with a scalable solution that satisfies your salon business’ specific needs:
Automated chat: Use AI-powered chatbots to triage simple tasks, like answering client questions or booking appointments with stylists. Then your human employees can focus on the interactions that require more careful attention or personalized responses.
Text messaging: Putting all your eggs in the phone call basket may be a mistake anyway; today’s consumers are much more comfortable texting with brands and businesses. Some text-based chatbots even offer 24/7 response services.
Answering service: No matter what hours your salon keeps, your clients are checking you out on their own time table. Working with an answering service means there’s always someone ready and waiting to answer their call and tend to their needs.
Routing & forwarding: Whether or not your answering service operates around the clock, it may make sense to work with a virtual receptionist that routes and forwards calls to the right person, like a specific stylist, location manager, or the salon owner.
Self-service booking: Once upon a time, you had to pick up the phone and call a salon to make an appointment. But today, clients are increasingly familiar with self-service tech that lets them book without any help at all. Make it easy; your clients will thank you.
Ready to do a better job getting your customers what they need, when they need it? Check out our guide on how to “Stop Ghosting Clients With These Virtual Receptionist Tools.”
Balance your books and bring in big bucks with accounting software
At the end of the day, your accounting abilities have a lot to do with the health of your business. But you don’t have to be a CPA to do a good job with your salon accounting — that’s where software can help. Find a tech solution that can help you understand your cash flow and anticipate the ways money moves through your business on a day to day basis. Then apply that understanding to your business goals by taking advantage of dashboard functionality or custom reports.
When it comes to accounting, you’ll also want to make sure the salon software companies you work with handle these critical categories:
Accounts receivable: This is all the money you have coming into your salon business. You should be able to track all your invoices and collect all your earnings, whether that money is coming from clients or from partners. Bonus points if your salon accounting software connects directly with your POS system.
Accounts payable: You guessed it, this is all the money leaving your salon business. Whether you’re paying vendors, employees, or your landlord, it’s important to be able to manage and track your recurring business expenses, with all the relevant tax information and compliance details taken care of too.
Interested in getting those books balanced without an accounting degree? Learn how in our post: “Beauty Salon Accounting Software: Bank More Profit With These Must-Have Features.”
It’s important for your salon accounting software to integrate with the rest of your tech stack. From inventory management to virtual receptionist tools, make sure all the technology you use to manage your salon works together to support your ultimate business priorities.
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.