Any hair and beauty salon that intends to grow must keep pace with changing technologies to maintain a competitive edge. This includes, but doesn’t just mean using a salon information system. In reality, technology can help you run most every aspect of your business. Information systems, virtual imaging and physical technologies used to protect, texturize and style your client’s hair are just some examples.
Information management programs have something for everyone. There are web-based and desktop programs written specifically for hair and beauty salons, so you won’t have to spend time trying to make a generic program fit your business. Although the program you choose determines which options are available, accounting, payroll and financial reporting, inventory control, scheduling and customer relationship management are among the most common. According to Capterra.com, a free software locating service, SuperSalon, Vagaro and SalonBooker are among 2014’s most highly ranked and popular programs. All have free trial periods and variable pricing structures.
Hairstyle and cosmetic imaging technology allows a client to see an “after” style before you begin working. It takes only a camera and few minutes to show a client how she will look in a variety of different colors and styles. Most programs have a standard database of hairstyles, eyeglasses and makeup tools, and options to add your own ideas. Some have three-dimensional capability. Professional imaging programs are available from companies such as CyberImaging.com and SalonStyler.com.
Physical and chemical technologies address key client needs. These include appliances that reduce static and frizz via active ion technology, ceramic plates in hair straighteners, and seamless bristles in brushes and blow dryers. It also includes products and treatments that use heat adaptation and nanotechnology, which allows for color processing and conditioning at room temperature instead of under a hair dryer. Heat distribution technology and digital heat controls provide for better heat distribution, which reduces “hot-spots” and the likelihood of over-drying that can cause dry or brittle hair.
Social media technology can be a helpful marketing tool. According to Janet Thaeler, a public relations expert, you may start to see sales increase after getting even just a few “likes.” Thaeler also suggests you encourage clients to take and post “selfies” on their own sites as well as on virtual bulletin boards such as Pinterest and Instagram. Politely requesting that clients name your salon in their photos -- or offering an incentive such as a free "grab-bag" gift -- can turn photos into valuable word-of-mouth advertising.