As a successful salon owner, you are already aware of how important mobile phones are to your business, and to your clients. If you haven't already launched a mobile app for your salon, chances are your only reason for hesitation is that you believe they're difficult - and costly - to create, or that you aren't sure of how a mobile app could boost your business. Creating a beauty salon app is now actually simpler, and more affordable, than ever before, while the following suggestions will give you a clear idea of how a mobile app can boost your business.
The continued growth of online shopping and on-demand services such as Uber, TaskRabbit and Valet Anywhere don't suggest that people are becoming lazier, but rather that there is an increased need for convenience. And while your clients don't have too much trouble finding time to come in for treatments, remembering to call to make an appointment during business hours is probably not that easy. A mobile app would enable your customers to schedule an appointment whenever they remember or have a minute to themselves, even if this is past midnight on a weekend. And with push notifications enabled, you can automatically send appointment reminders to your customers, meaning they have one less thing to remember.
An added benefit of mobile appointment setting is that it frees you and your staff from being tied to the telephone taking appointments, allowing you to spend more time with your clients.
Mobile Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs are always a great way to not only encourage repeat business, but also to boost add-on sales. But traditional loyalty programs are also cumbersome to manage: from the extra cost of printed cards, to customers misplacing their cards. Your own mobile app can eliminate this, returning loyalty programs to being rewarding for you and your customers, and making it easy for you to quickly introduce new loyalty incentives.
Mobile Coupons & Special Offers
Like loyalty programs, coupons and limited-time special offers are another great way to boost revenue, but they usually require extra planning, from designing the coupon, to deciding how to distribute it; and then there's always the risk of it not being seen by your intended audience. A mobile app makes it easier for you to send coupons to the people you actually want to reach, and with push notifications, you can be confident that most of them will actually see it. Mobile coupons require less forward planning too, so sending out limited-time special offers during unexpectedly quiet periods is no problem.
Location Based Targeting
Geofencing is a system which allows you to "draw" a virtual barrier around a location using a global positioning system (GPS). Businesses frequently use geofencing to have their ads shown to anyone browsing the internet within a defined location, but a mobile app allows you to extend the use of geofencing to sending out push notifications to anyone with your app installed, as soon as they enter a specific area. Defining the area is quite simple, and it can then be used to notify your customers of special offers only when they are in close proximity to your business, or even let them know of any open slots you have to tempt them in for a quick treatment.
Increased Brand Exposure
Launching your own app is an opportunity for you to generate buzz and exposure in the form of a special launch event, and media coverage. While you local press might not be that excited about a small business launching an app, you might consider sending out a press release that mentions your new app, but focuses more on how small businesses are now able to more effectively use technology, benefiting the local economy and customers. Including local social media influencers and bloggers will not only extend your reach, but expose you to a younger, more technologically confident audience too. Additional ongoing exposure comes from your presence on the relevant app stores, especially if you have optimized your submission to include keywords relevant to your audience, and your location.
Finally, your own mobile app can put your business a step closer to achieving what all businesses want: strong top-of-mind awareness amongst your customers. A branded app icon, and judicious use of push notifications, means your customers are constantly exposed to your business whenever they use their phone. Combine this with an in-app showcase of emerging trends, examples of your work, and other content marketing that is relevant to them, help extend this further. And if your app adds real value to your customers, they are more likely to discuss your business, and your app, with friends and colleagues, exposing you to new customers you may previously have struggled to reach.
Guest Post by Ian Naylor, Founder & CEO of AppInstitute, a DIY app builder platform for small businesses.