Choosing a cloud-based salon software, which will become the right fit for your business can be like walking through a maze. The eventual decision, often a result of multiple permutations and combinations, directly impacts the performance of your salon. Irrespective of the scale of your operations, today the software industry has a solution for every model of salon business. From single-person salons to brands operating from multiple locations, cloud based salon software can meet the simplest to the most complex of business needs. As a result, the choice of software can literally make or break your business. We understand that as a salon owner, you may find the task of finding the right cloud-based salon software can be quite challenging, but it really doesn’t have to be so. In this blog, we list down the 6 factors that you must evaluate in order to choose the cloud-based salon software, which is the best for your business.
1. Identify the Purpose
The first step, as with any process, is to identify the purpose or reasons that have led you to consider deploying a cloud-based salon software to run the administrative side of your business. More often than not the key to finding the best fit comes from this statement of purpose. Thus, it is important for you to make a note of the requirements such that while evaluating the features of a cloud based salon software you do not miss anything. For instance, if you are running a single-person show then you may opt for a simple cloud based system, which allows keeping a track of the daily schedule. On the other hand, if you are running a store then you need the software to accept bookings, schedule appointments, send reminders, evaluate staff performance, process payments etc. As the success of your business isn’t dependent on providing services alone, it is best to review each and every aspect of the business. Some cloud-based salon software also comes with a ‘lite’ plan, which offers you basic services but can grow with the growing and dynamically changing needs of your business.
2. Evaluate the Features
Having tabulated the list of reasons or business requirements, it is now time to evaluate the features of the products from potential cloud based salon software vendors. While almost all of them will list out the same set of advantages, and how the features of their product will help overcome the current challenges, we know that the devil always lies in the detail. Thus, a thorough evaluation of the features is a mandatory requirement. Some of the key factors to consider are;
- Is the online booking system compatible with every operating system, and every device?
- Whether the online booking system, quickly analyze the customer profile and matches them with qualified staff?
- Does the system send automated reminders, and seek confirmation of upcoming appointments to avoid no-show bookings? and/or dynamically re-allocate the slot in the absence of confirmation?
- Is the software equipped to process both contact and contactless payments?
- Is the POS system integrated to process accounting entries simultaneously as soon as it processes payments?
- Can the software quickly analyze client profiles, and identify long-standing patrons and alert the front desk and another staff member about personalized client preferences?
- Does the cloud-based salon software help in upselling products and services based on customer profiles?
- What is the loyalty program feature? Does it allow auto redemptions and benefits?
- Can the software automatically compute tips, commissions, and gift card sales, and inform the staff about their incomes under various heads?
- Does the software help manage inventory?
While the above list is not exhaustive, it gives you a fair idea of what to expect from the cloud-based salon software. You may or may not need a cloud-based salon software with all the above solutions but it is important for you to know what all can be achieved.
3. Ease of Use
You want software that is simple to use both by clients and your staff. The success of your salon depends on the success of your cloud-based salon software. As such, you want a system that clients love to use to get to your salon and that your staff loves to use because it makes their life simple. The ease of use is often the crucial element between the popularity and junking of a software solution. You may have a very well-designed system, but if it is not easy to use it will soon become a headache and people on both sides of the equation will look to find ways to bypass it.
4. Financial Reporting
While a part of the list of features, we prefer to consider it as a separate item because if a cloud based salon software cannot generate financial reports to understand where the business is headed, then we are not even considering it. One of the greatest advantages of salon software is its ability to generate actionable on-demand reports for appointments book, daily sales, cash flow, staff deployment ratios, inventory, marketing effectiveness, accounts receivable and accounts payable, For a multi-location brand the software should be able to generate aggregate and center-wise granular reports. One such cloud-based salon software known as Zenoti comes with 100 different pre-set reporting formats and can easily create a digital dashboard to give you a complete snapshot of the business.
5. Life Cycle Support
Last but not least. Having zeroed down the list to 2-3 potential cloud based salon software to choose from, it is time to evaluate the developer’s support system. The adaptability and success of the software are directly proportional to the training and support from the developer. You don’t want to deploy a system, which frequently has glitches and results in you spending a considerable amount of time and effort to get it back up and running. Instead choose a cloud-based salon software that comes with free training, annual inclusive live support for sudden glitches and substantial reference material for knowledge. One of the ways to evaluate a developer is to seek past client testimonials and their ratings.