Business tips

What to look for when updating the payment system for your hair salon.

By Joshua Griffin on
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You open your salon every morning expecting another fast-paced day of cutting, styling, trimming, shaving, and waxing. In a thriving business, the stream of clients can be almost nonstop, leaving you just about as much breathing room as you had when you squeezed under the bed playing hide-and-seek as a kid. If your point-of-sale (POS) system can’t keep up, it throws a wrench in your schedule, messes up the day for your employees, and seriously impacts your ability to provide exceptional customer service.

Why you need a better payment system.

Slow payment processing means slow business, period. The longer it takes to check a customer out, the less time you have to serve others. If your POS system is such a dinosaur it practically roars when you swipe a card or its “top-of-the-line” features became obsolete around the same time as hair bands and rotary phones, you’re losing business.

Not only is an old, clunky POS solution less reliable and ridiculously frustrating, it also doesn’t have the seamless integration options you need in a modern salon. You can’t expect to maximize the potential of your business if your afternoons are still spent sorting through paper receipts, manually entering sales data into a spreadsheet, and trying to figure out how it all affects your inventory levels.

On top of all this, have you ever asked yourself whether the hardware or software for your current POS is even still supported? When was the last time you received notice of an update? No support means no ongoing security and the bottom line is this: if you’re not sure whether you can trust your POS, your customers can’t be, either.

The worst part is you’re probably paying way too much for your current POS solution as well. Hardware, software, and payment processing have all come a long way in recent years. That means there’s no reason to shell out half your profits for a system with few or no beneficial features. Even if your POS doesn’t put a huge dent in your budget or qualify as epically bad, you can still get a lot of benefits from switching to a more up-to-date platform.

What a flexible point of sale solution can do for your business.

The power of a POS upgrade might sound too good to be true, but it shouldn’t. Today’s systems are flexible, scalable, and completely customizable to the specific structure of your business and services. Platforms can be branded to provide a unified customer experience. Plus, the latest hardware makes it possible to process everything from cash to NFC contactless payments

The ability to offer more diverse payment options that open up your salon to whole new market segments is reason enough to upgrade your POS, but there are other reasons to do so as well. Upgrading to a new POS also allows you to:

  • Issue electronic receipts, thereby saving money and reducing waste.
  • Integrate with other platforms you use to run your business, such as QuickBooks.
  • Get a much better idea of what your customers want based on their booking and buying habits.
  • Determine which products and services are most popular.
  • Stop going crazy trying to juggle employee schedules.
  • Untangle problems with accounting and stop sweating when tax time arrives.

Salon POS features you can’t do without.

As you can see, upgrading to a flexible point of sale solution can be a game-changer for your busy or growing salon. The best POS systems offer as many functions as possible to create a convenient, easy-to-use platform, which you can rely on to not only run your business but also manage the critical administrative work going on behind the scenes.

You’ll want to compare POS systems to see how they measure up in these key areas:

Simple interface.

Although a new POS system will have more features, it shouldn’t be difficult to use. After all, the point of an upgrade is to make payment processing less complicated. Skip any platforms with steep learning curves, or you’ll waste too much time on implementation and training. Instead, look for a POS solution with a straightforward, intuitive interface and lightning-quick checkout options for your most popular services.

Multiple engagement tools.

Everybody knows personalized experiences are essential for successful marketing, but it can be a bit trickier to pull this off in a salon setting than a retail store. Your POS needs to provide a way to collect, track, and analyze customer behaviors and preferences, such as the services they request most often and their favorite products to purchase.

With this info at your fingertips, you can:

  • Anticipate the needs of your most frequent customers.
  • Prepare in advance for each appointment.
  • Send customized promotional emails, text messages, or direct mailings.
  • Generate personalized offers for products customers are likely to buy.
  • Create loyalty or rewards programs for discounts on preferred services.

Inventory tracking.

Does your salon sell beauty products or personal care items? Get a POS you can use to track inventory. The ability to track what you sell and get automatic alerts before popular products disappear from the shelves makes it possible to ensure customers can get exactly what they want every time.

Data from tracking can also save you money. If there’s a product on your shelves customers consistently pass over, you’ll know and can replace it with something more in line with their tastes. Reports showing what sells, how often, and when make it easy to rotate stock from season to season and design marketing campaigns with confidence.

Employee management.

Today’s POS solutions can do a lot more than process credit cards. The best also take care of handling everything to do with your staff, including time tracking, scheduling, and hiring. Employee schedules directly affect client booking, so you should be able to pull up available time slots on your POS to make sure each customer gets an appointment with his or her stylist of choice. As an added benefit, you’ll always know exactly who worked what hours, which makes processing payroll a lot easier.

When the time comes to recognize your best employees, you can review everyone’s performance data at a glance. Appreciation boosts morale and makes the atmosphere in the salon more positive, which translates to better customer service.

Reliable data security.

You wouldn’t dream of handing your customers’ personal information over to hackers or identity thieves, but that could be exactly what you’re doing if you don’t check out the security measures a POS provider uses. Since every transaction involves transmitting sensitive data, all it takes is one tiny vulnerability in your system to spell big trouble for your salon.

If you have no idea what to look for, make it a point find out. Educate yourself about the best security protocols and ask questions of every potential provider. Make sure data is encrypted during transmission and stored responsibly, especially if you’re using a cloud-based solution. Read up on reputations to discover if other salons have had any problems with security issues and run in the other direction if something fishy turns up.

Amazing customer support.

There’s no point in upgrading if the support for your new salon POS is terrible or nonexistent. You need a support team staffed by knowledgeable people you can contact whenever you have a question or problem. Support should always include an onboarding process designed to familiarize you with and help you optimize key features so that you’re able to make the most of the software from the start.

When you find a POS solution with the perfect mix of features and convenience, you can breathe a sigh of relief and go back to doing what you do best: serving your customers. Easier payment processing and business management mean better customer experiences, more loyal patrons, and the chance to continue building the business you’ve always wanted.