Gavin Mills is owner of Bad Apple Hair Salons, 9 salons in the West Midlands and Liverpool, and an academy in Wolverhampton.
With an active client base of 38,000, and a 70-strong team, Gavin is an advocate of utilising technology to enhance the smooth running of the business. Here he tells us why ACCESS, DATA, TECHNOLOGY ANYWHERE is his new mantra…
In a world where a click of a few buttons can bring a delivery from Amazon Now in less than an hour, and you can communicate with anyone around the world via social media within seconds, we are a society that wants everything ‘now’.
But the salon industry is still quite behind in the digital world, and technology and cloud-based software is under-utilised to manage and build salon businesses.
Bad Apple’s goal for the rest of the year is to is to implement a new ethos/strategy to its core business plan: ACCESS, DATA, TECHNOLOGY ANYWHERE… moving us into a complete 24/7 digital world , were we use technology and data to improve our clients’ journey in and out of the salon.
Our 4 main aims to achieve this are:
1 Giving clients complete accessibility.
From the 1st September we have given clients full control and access of their own appointment bookings. Why? Nobody wants to book an appointment via a website on a Saturday evening and not know if the appointment is available till the salon reopens on Tuesday, especially if they then find out the preferred appointment that day is not available.
One of the main reasons clients don’t return to a salon or rebook is availability and ease of booking, people today aren’t as keen to phone a salon to find out availability or wait.
With our new systems, clients can now book appointments, and see full service history past and future via our online website portal and mobile apps, this enables so many benefits for us as well, including being able to charge for no shows in full as they have prepaid deposits, and avoiding lost opportunities due to human error within the salon.
It also allows clients to leave reviews that instantly get pushed to google increasing our google ranking and searchability.
2 Data Control.
Data is king and more valuable in today’s world than having social media followers; the more data you have the more SMART decisions you can make. I’m always amazed at how some businesses chase social numbers without having a basic mailing list is place. At Bad Apple we want the data accessible on every device I own via cloud software and available to use whenever we want.
We want to be able to send emails, texts, Happy Birthday messages, reminders about appointments and encourage clients to rebook and leave reviews.
The more data you have the more decisions you can make to improve your business and increase revenue, but it’s important that this data is accessible and easy to use while meeting GDPR guidelines.
An example of this: we sent a short message out as an email the first week of September to make clients aware they could now download our app, to manage their appointments – 5,000 emails went out and 600 people within the first 3 hours downloaded the app and 100 people booked appointments, generating over £10,000 of bookings – this was all trackable. This is just one of many benefits of making data work for you.
Moving to a cloud based software system that allows you to access data and use this for marketing campaigns will help you and your clients stay connected or reconnect if lost.
Retail sales are dropping in every salon – no matter what any salon says buying habits have changed due to the easy access to good products online and with appointment gaps longer between client visits, when clients run out of their products they just add an alternative to their weekly shopping list or jump online to amazon, resulting in:
1 Clients not buying products when they return to the salon on the next appointment
2 Clients thinking the hair colour didn’t last as long due to them not using the right products
3 Clients finding a better alternative that you don’t stock!
Bad Apple is now introducing client subscriptions via its mobile app allowing clients to buy products via the app or subscribe to a monthly product package so they can mix and match their products based on what the stylist/technician has recommended..
We believe this will keep clients connected to the salon, increase revenue and maintain good quality hair at home.
The more information we have the better we can meet the client’s needs, so we’ve introduced the new Salonlab Smart Analyzer which combines, for the first time, hairdresser expertise with data driven insights to provide a truly personalized consultation.
Th first device that allows the hairdresser to scan inside the hair structure through near infrared technology, this will allow staff to guide clients and recommend what treatments and products are best to use. We believe this will set us apart from what other salons are offering in the area giving us an edge to gain new clients and retain clients long term, and supporting our retail subscription initiative. Embracing new technology ensures the client gets a professional experience and insight that they can’t emulate at home.
We’ve also introduced Digital Magazines – with covid19 restricting so many things within the salon experience our new digital magazine allows clients to scan a QR code and read what ever magazine they want out of 100 available current titles.
As a salon owner myself, I know that we are often so busy with the day-to-day that we can overlook areas like technology upgrades which can also be frustrating or feel prohibitive because of a lack of knowledge about this area. I would urge you to make this part of your business plan because once implemented, these tech tweaks can make life easier and business more profitable.