Like many of you, I went along to Salon International this week hoping to find some great deals on old favourites and to get an insight into what’s new in the world of salon and spa.
Above all, I went to find out what our competition are doing: to see whether we could learn anything from our peers and improve our offering for the UK market.
We had chosen not to take an exhibition stand this year, as past experience has told us that trying to talk business in a busy exhibition hall never really works. So, posing as a salon owner, I visited each of the technology stands to see what I could conclude from all the sales talk.
What’s new in salon software?
While there were one or two technology companies launching new salon software at Salon International, in all honesty the landscape hadn’t really changed since last year’s show. Shortcuts were unveiling a new look system, ïShortcuts Black’, which looked a lot better than the old screens although the price hadn’t changed and neither had the features included (and those not included) in their standard package. Millennium promoted its ïuniversity’ _ the online training course it offers customers, while Phorest’s stand advertised how a salon owner could ïgrow their business’ with it’s booking system. Mixed messages from some the bigger names then, although others seemed to have no message at all; just a logo alongside yet another appointment screen and reception computer.
So which is best?
My overall feeling as I visited each stand was one of amazement. How do salon owners choose between software suppliers when they seem so similar? Each one seemed to be selling an identical software package and computer and it seemed only the pricing was different, although after speaking to just one or two sales people my head was spinning trying to add up all the extras to get to the real weekly or monthly cost.
Let’s talk results
This got me thinking: If I were a salon owner, why would I be looking to computerise? I’m pretty sure that I’d want to make my investment work, rather than paying a hefty monthly figure for a glamorous looking appointment screen. Yet, I was surprised that none of the sales people talked to me about making more money, increasing utilisation or rebooking rates. No-one mentioned text marketing or what I could achieve by starting to use appointment reminders. In summary, nobody wanted to promise me decent results _ or indeed any measurable increase in my profits _ if I bought their system. It was all about what it would cost me, rather than what I would gain.
Of course I’m biased, but I can say with confidence that this year’s Salon International has restored my faith in i-salon and what we stand for. Our people invest a huge amount of time and resources in making sure our customers achieve great results with i-salon. In fact, we recently found that most i-salon customers make over £385 a week, just by following a simple 5-point plan.