28 May 2021
Online booking is a quick and convenient way for customers to book their appointments. A salon software system that can send automatic confirmation emails can make bookings a lot simpler for the salon and the client. This post will discuss how to increase your rate of online bookings.
Online bookings are becoming the ‘norm’ not only in the beauty industry, but also in many other areas such as hospitality, booking flights or spa treatments.
With the rise of online marketing and shopping, more and more customers are using an online interface to book appointments, or search for a new hair salon in the local area. Online booking is convenient and requires no face to face interaction. These features caused online bookings to explode in popularity during the pandemic.
We are all very short on time these days, with customers and salon staff alike squeezing in as much as we can into our day. With the rise of online shopping and services, convenience (making it easy for your clients to book an appointment online) is an important factor when it comes to gaining more business. Clients need to be able to book in an appointment quickly and easily, if the process becomes too complicated, your customers may look to make alternative arrangements.
With your customers likely using a range of devices each day, such as smart phones or iPad, ensuring your online booking web page will load correctly on multiple devices is well worth your time. If your online booking portal is not formatted for different devices, you could easily lose clients if they find your online booking widget does not transfer very well to a mobile phone or tablet screen.
In order to make booking an appointment easier it is important to make it as simple as possible for your clients to book online. Ensuring that you can make the process of booking as convenient as possible will make organising a treatment simpler and can help your salon grow.
One way to streamline your services using salon software is by running a report in your salon software to show what your customers most often used services are. Once you have this data, you can then set the services most often requested by clients as your favourites.
If you are using SalonIQ software, these would then show up at the top of your service menu in your online bookings. With just a few clicks your clients can select the time and date for their appointment and make a booking without scrolling through the menu to find the treatment they want.
To maximise your online sale bookings you need to promote your booking widget. Make sure that it is easy to book an appointment through your website and that your services are clearly displayed and labelled. This is make sure the system is not too complicated for your clients
Another way to increase online salon bookings is to create short links from your social media platforms to your online booking forum; Instagram has a bio section where you can add your booking link in, Facebook now includes a ‘book now’ button that you can connect to your online booking system.
Another way to improve convenience is to create a QR code which when scanned loads your online bookings – a QR code can really go anywhere and can also be used over and over again.
Where can you place a QR code?
The list really is endless, we ran a survey early May 2021 and found that 72% of sales were not using QR codes in their salon. This to me shouts huge opportunity, as it is so easy to give your customers a lot of information from scanning a basic QR code.
QR codes can be created for free online. If you go straight to Google and type in ‘generate QR code for free’ a number of websites will appear and you’ll be guided to creating the QR code and adding your URL that you wish to link it to.
An email is a really great way to promote your online bookings – you can add as much content and imagery as you wish – with a nice clear ‘book now’ button taking your clients straight to your online booking interface.
Whenever you send an email to a client, it is a good policy to make sure you leave a ‘call to action’ explaining what you want your clients to do once they have opened and read your email. Calls to action include confirming they are able to arrive at an appointment, being clear and telling them what they need to do next will give clients a clear course of action.
An SMS is already another great way to maximise your online salon bookings – purely due to over 90% of SMS’s being read with 3 minutes of receiving the text. This is a huge statistic and can have a very big impact on your return.
Many SMS messaging services have a 160-character count, meaning if your SMS goes over 160 characters you may be charged more for sending the message. That being said – by including links and photographs you can often say what you need to within a low character count.
Word of mouth is by far the best form of promotion, with a referral from friends and family members often leading to a new client for your salon. To encourage this, make sure your team are informing your clients when they are in the salon that they can book online or use our salon software referral system to increase the chances of new customers being brought in.
We’d always encourage your teams to get their clients to rebook whilst in the salon at the end of their appointment. However, sometimes clients are not sure when they can come in, which then gives a perfect opportunity for your team to say ‘when you are ready and know your dates, go onto our website and book there’.
Do you currently charge a deposit for online bookings? Since the Covid 19 pandemic caused a surge of appointments by clients, many salons have taken the opportunity to implement a deposit policy within their salon. Some salons not allowing their clients to book without a deposit at all, regardless of whether they book in person or online.
It is very important that your team are fully aware of how online deposits work. This will save any confusion or awkwardness if a client questions the deposit system, particularly when you first implement deposits into your salon.
There are many benefits to taking deposits, such as filtering out any potential clients who are not sure about booking an appointment with you. Reducing late cancellations and no shows is also a huge area that can be tackled in this way.
Do you know how many no shows you had last month and how much this cost your business?
If you don’t, then make this a task as soon as possible, once you know how many clients no showed for an appointment then times this number by your average bill amount. You can then calculate the amount of business lost due to clients that did not turn up.
If you are interested in utilising our salon software in order to set up online booking or streamline its performance, please contact us here. Our staff will be delighted to go through the different functions that this software can have.