Mobile App Development Blog

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Building a Mobile App.

Ian Blair

Why You Need to Build an App For Your Beauty Salon/Barber Shop Now

If you’ve got a beauty salon or barber shop, you’ve got to break the mold and get on board with the newest marketing trends.

Whether you have a barber shop with just one chair, a beauty salon with 20 employees, or anything in between, it’s time for you to find new ways to retain and increase your clientele.

A mobile app is a solution to make you more money. It doesn’t matter if you’re a new business or an old one, going mobile will make a huge difference.

As I’ve consulted with some beauty salons and barber shops in the past, I’ve encountered a couple of common responses.

Older businesses are resistant to change. They’re set in their ways and kind of have the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” mentality.

Newer barber shops and beauty salons are hesitant toward making a mobile app because they just spent lots of money building their startup and don’t want to incur more costs.

But there’s a problem with both of those scenarios. The older shops and salons may be OK right now, but they’ll have problems getting new customers without a mobile app.

The newer businesses are in trouble too. Without a steady clientele, it’s hard to keep their appointment books full. So it’s worth it to build an app.

If you’re still not convinced, you’re the inspiration behind this guide. I’ll show you everything you need to know about how a mobile application can do wonders for your cosmetology business.

Scheduling appointments just got easier

How are your customers making appointments right now? If you don’t have a mobile app, I’m assuming that appointments are made by one of two ways.

They’re either calling over the phone or scheduling in person after their appointment ends.

Taking calls over the phone might work, but think about how much easier everyone’s life would be if the phone wasn’t ringing off of the hook all day.

There are already mobile apps out there, such as Salon Iris that let you set up your appointments from mobile devices.

salon iris

Right now you love it whenever your phone rings. That’s because it’s usually the sign of a customer calling to make an appointment. But take a minute to think about how inefficient this is.

Every time the phone rings, you’ve got to take a step away from what you’re doing, answer the phone, and walk over to your computer or appointment book.

Then, you have to have a back and forth conversation about when you’re available. The customer may ask, “What’s your availability on Tuesday?”

So you list all of your available times for only for them to reply, “Actually I think Wednesday would be better. Do you have anything in the afternoon?”

You don’t. So they ask you to repeat your Tuesday times. Plus, another customer calls while you’re having this conversation. You’ve got to put them on hold and have the same conversation with someone else.

If you place someone on hold and they hang up, 34% of those people won’t call back.

Now you’ve potentially lost an appointment, and you spent time away from your current client. You might be thinking that it’s only a few minutes. But those minutes add up.

You end up spending hours every week on the phone.

Some bigger and busier salons may have a receptionist who answers the phone and schedules appointments all day. What’s that employee’s salary costing you?

You could pay for a mobile application with just a fraction of their salary, plus have more benefits besides the mobile booking feature. Imagine how much time and money you’d save if you weren’t answering the phone or paying someone to do that.

Going mobile helps you increase revenue and decrease costs, which ultimately leads to a profitable and timely return on your investment.

ROI

Set up your mobile app with a built in calendar feature. Users with the mobile app can see your schedule and book an appointment from their smartphones and tablets.

This makes it much easier for your customers as well since they can visually see your schedule instead of just listening to times over the phone.

How often do your customers miss an appointment? It happens. People forget. Anytime someone forgets to show up, you miss out on making money.

When someone books an appointment from your mobile app, you can even set it up to take a deposit to hold that time frame. That way you’ll still get paid, even if they don’t show up.

But now that your customers already have something invested in the appointment, I’m sure they’ll be much less likely to forget. So it’s a win-win for both parties.

If you don’t want to charge customers just for booking, that’s fine. You can also send your customers reminders via push notifications about their appointment to make sure they don’t forget to show up.

Increase customer loyalty

Use your mobile app to create a customer loyalty program. You may already have one of these in place, but I’m willing to bet it’s not very efficient.

Without an app, barber shops and salons have to resort to punch cards or stamping systems.

A customer has to bring in a small business card that gets a hole punched into it every time they visit. After so many visits, they’ll get a free cut or discounted service. But those cards get lost and misplaced.

It’s much easier to track this from a mobile app. Plus, you’ll have so many more options with your loyalty program if you use an app. You don’t have to set up rewards for visits.

The app can track how much the customers spends per visit. Now you can offer loyalty rewards based on a spending threshold. This strategy rewards your best customers.

Someone who comes in for a quick haircut shouldn’t be getting the same rewards as a customer who wants a haircut, color, facial, and manicure, right?

Customers participate in loyalty programs so they can save money and receive rewards. Shops with loyalty programs have an 82% greater chance of getting more customers.

loyalty program

So give them what they want. Furthermore, 59% of people surveyed said that a mobile app makes them more likely to join a loyalty program.

Nearly 57% of consumers report that a loyalty program with VIP benefits increases their chances of participating.

Again, while your punch card may count as a loyalty program, it’s definitely not as efficient and professional as tracking the program from a mobile app.

Once the customer hits a certain amount spent, or the required number of appointments is met, they’ll be able to see and activate their reward directly from the app. So they won’t have to worry about their discount getting lost.

Being able to track this from their mobile devices will give customers an incentive to keep coming back. It also gives them a reason to spend more money each time they visit.

If you’ve got a barber shop, a customer who normally just comes in for a haircut may decide to get a haircut and shave, because spending the extra money gets them closer to a reward.

You can also set up a customer referral program through your app to increase loyalty. If a current customer refers a friend or family member, they’ll both get some kind of discount.

Customers are much more likely to make a referral if you give them a direct incentive.

direct incentive

All of this will just lead to more profits for you.

You can also use your app as a platform for your loyal customers to showcase photos of themselves.

Customers can email you photos of their hair or upload it directly to their profile on the app. This is great for creating a database of customer photos. You can use this for testimonial purposes, advertising, or just as a reference.

Let’s say a customer comes in and can’t remember exactly what was done to their hair last summer, but knows they want the same thing. You’ll have a photo that tells you exactly what to do.

Customers won’t be able to get this kind of above and beyond service if you don’t have a mobile app.

Stay in contact with your customers at all times

How often do you see your customers? I know it varies, but some are probably every couple of weeks, while others are once a month or every few months.

Some barber shops may have customers that come in once a week, but other beauty salons may only see their customers a few times per year.

Here’s the point I’m trying to make. While you may think about hair all day every day, it can be easy for your customers to forget about you. As we just discussed, using a mobile app to create a loyalty program can increase the chances of retaining that customer.

But even still, they could end up going to one of your competitors. But a mobile app lets you stay in contact with your customers, even when they’re not in the shop.

If someone hasn’t been in for some time, I doubt you’re picking up the phone and making a call to remind them that you exist. While this is definitely not an efficient use of your time, it’s also borderline inappropriate.

A mobile app will let you contact your customers via push notifications.

Here’s a great example of a push notification that also encompasses another strategy that we discussed.

push notification

This salon sent a push notification that also encouraged a customer referral program.

You can also use your app to showcase what you’re doing. Upload pictures of new haircuts, styles, or products that you’re selling in your shop.

Your app can also be used as a platform for video demonstrations. Teach your customers how to properly curl or straighten their hair to achieve a specific style.

Barbers can upload videos that explain how to use different kinds of razors based on the customer’s beard length.

These videos can be a great opportunity for you to upsell your clients with products like shampoo, gel, pomades, razors, lotion, and more.

It can even serve as an inspiration for your customers to come back sooner than normal to ask for a new haircut or style based on something they saw on the app.

Set up mobile payments

The days of visiting a cash only barber shop are over.

People don’t carry as much cash as they used to. If you’re not accepting credit cards and other electronic payment options, you’re going to struggle to maintain a sustainable business model.

Take a look at how much cash Americans carry.

how much cash

46% of people say that they pay with cash less than eight times every month.

If your barber shop or beauty salon has a mobile app, people won’t have to worry about bringing in cash, or even their credit cards for that matter. In fact, they can leave their entire wallets at home.

With an app, you can set it up so your customers keep their credit card information saved on their personal profiles. After they come in to visit, you can charge their card automatically.

They can even pay you a tip from the mobile app as well.

Mobile apps also allow you to accept alternative payment options in addition to all major credit cards. Your shop can take PayPal, Apple Pay, and Venmo.

Offering your customers so many options makes their lives much easier. They’ll be more willing to come back because they know that you accept whatever type of payment that they prefer the most.

Paying from a mobile app also makes it easy to track their purchase history, which relates back to the concept that we previously discussed about a loyalty program rewarding your biggest spenders.

Combine your app with other mobile marketing tactics

Connect your app with Instagram, Facebook, and your other social media profiles. This will make it easy for your customers to fully enjoy their mobile experience.

Use your app as a way to drive traffic to your website and social pages. You can also use those platforms as a way to increase downloads for your mobile app.

All of these mobile marketing tactics will work hand-in-hand with each other.

Any photos and videos uploaded to your app should also be shared on your website and social sites.

People want to interact with their hair stylists on social media. Check out this barber on Instagram that has more than 1.3 million followers.

litbarbers

Adding photos and videos to your social profiles every day might seem like a lot of work. You’ve already got a full schedule of clients, so I know it may sound overwhelming.

But now that you don’t have to pay someone to answer the phone all day, you can have them manage your social accounts and app so everything is always up to date.

You and the other hair stylists at your salon or barber shop can all have access to these accounts and take turns alternating responsibility to whoever has some down time in between clients.

Conclusion

Your barber shop or hair salon might be doing OK right now, but it can definitely be doing better.

Getting a mobile app makes your process more efficient. You’ll be able to spend more time working instead of doing tedious tasks that your app can handle, such as scheduling appointments.

While it may cost you some money up front to build the app, it will pay for itself in the long run with a high return on your investment.

Your app will enhance the customer experience. Create loyalty programs and always stay connected with your clientele. The app will make their lives easier and put more money in your pocket.

If you need some help building an app, consider using a custom mobile app building service, such as BuildFire.

Follow these guidelines, and you won’t have to worry about having an empty appointment book anymore.

How is your beauty salon or barber shop taking advantage of mobile tools to improve your business?

Ian Blair

BuildFire Co-Founder. I'm a digital marketer by trade and an entrepreneur at heart. I'm here to help businesses go mobile and build apps more efficiently than before.