Convenience in contactless

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, inevitably, many people will be more conscious of hygiene levels. For this reason, with the help of experts, we explain how payment systems contribute to maintaining a high level of cleanliness and the other benefits they have to offer in your salon.

The coronavirus pandemic has required small businesses, salons, in particular, to make many changes to the way they operate. Perhaps one of the most noticeable changes has been a rise in contactless payments. This technology was available in many places prior to the pandemic but has since become a preferred option for many retailers and consumers as they seek to reduce opportunities for virus transmission; we’re looking into how payment systems can benefit a business.

While this last year has been full of uncertainty, one thing that has become evident is technology’s power to support businesses.

Oliver Cahill, chief commercial officer at Premier Software, notices that salon software has been pivotal throughout the pandemic. Not only has it provided owners with the tools they need to communicate with clients and manage bookings, but it also highlighted opportunities to increase revenue by retailing products and vouchers.

When paired with a payment system, owners have been able to take payment safely and securely online, as well as over the phone, to keep their business afloat. When restrictions eased, they were also able to take contactless payment at reception, ensuring their clients’ safety.

“Salon software has always played a vital role in easing the pressure of back-office jobs. Before COVID, it helped take care of business operations, enabling owners to spend more time doing what they love – providing that five-star customer service and being hands-on with clients.

“However, as the pandemic struck, software became more crucial than ever. It offered salons a constant line of communication with their clients. When bookings were cancelled and required rescheduling, software provided the reports to make this as pain-free as possible.” Added Oliver.

In addition to this, Oliver outlined how, when it came to securing revenue, software offered information to help owners shift stock. It revealed who regularly purchased items, who had recommended products on their file, and what items weren’t selling, aiding owners in clearing their stock room.

As salons re-opened, software made upselling simple through marketing, packages and promotions. Integrated treatment and product waiting lists ensured owners never missed a beat. Meanwhile, they were able to incentivise staff to sell more through commission structures. 

“By having a payment system in place, clients can make a part or full payment as part of their booking. This secures their return by demonstrating a commitment to attend their appointment.

“By offering a discount to clients who pay for a course of treatments upfront, owners can secure future custom, improving retention rates.”

Obviously, as the demand for contactless payments grows, so does the need for software. Filtering the average systems from the most effective can be tricky, and Oliver explained that a good software system should also allow owners to reward client purchases with loyalty points: “Not only will this ensure clients feel appreciated, but they are also more likely to return to redeem those points on their next visit.”

Oliver explains that the main way payment systems can improve hygiene levels is by making payment contactless. He believes clients should have the option to pay for their appointment before they arrive, either online or over the phone. This reduces crowding at reception, leading to a quicker departure and less crossover between clients. 

Alternatively, if owners prefer for their clients to pay in the salon, Oliver suggests using contactless PDQ machines to take payments safely and securely. 

As mentioned, before coronavirus hit, we were moving towards a cashless society, and COVID has only accelerated this. Although we may never go fully cashless, it is important to accept all payment methods.

“A payment gateway or contactless PDQ machine offers a safe and secure way to transfer money. This not only makes transactions more COVID secure but also enables owners to make money 24/7, which is incredibly important when salons have been shut for so long.

“To get the most out of a payment system, owners should use it whenever possible. The more transactions the salon puts through, the more cost-effective the payment solution will become.” Oliver finished.

Health and Safety Advisor Nigel Bonsor sees a range of positive impacts payment systems can have on a business, and the first is it can speed up the payment process with a quick tap of a card over the reader. From a customer experience perspective, this is understandably one of the less enjoyable aspects of the salon, so to get it out of the way is of benefit to both parties. From a security aspect, the less cash that is held in the salon, the less chance there is of theft as there will be more physical cash available elsewhere (other businesses). 

“It is also important to note that if going cashless, having a ‘tip’ function built in is extremely important within payment systems, as tips can be a significant contribution to overall income.” Added Nigel.

Nigel believes that salon software/technologies have become increasingly popular within salon businesses because it helps in a wide range of ways both from a salon and client perspective: “The salon can easily review and manage stock volumes and monitor client visits allowing the prompting and reminding of clients regarding bookings. This should, in turn, allow greater retention of clients and repeat business through a virtual ‘nudge’. For the more analytic amongst us, it also gives the opportunity to review data regarding service types and costs.”

This can allow businesses to review for any missed opportunities or to focus on their regular, big-earner services within their marketing. Customer interactive technologies also allow appointments to be booked at their convenience and serve as an interface with the business, e.g. adding detailed notes into bookings. Extending this to a salon’s online shop, salon owners can effectively earn whilst they sleep.