As our world becomes more of a digital empire daily, it is important to keep your business up to date with the ever-growing changes of the industry and this may mean investing in a payment system. The experts reveal how payment systems can impact your salon.

A growing number of hair and beauty salons are using payment systems to increase profit and build client loyalty. Cash payments are slowly becoming a ‘thing of the past’, and we believe that a lot of business owners completely undervalue the importance that offering clients the opportunity to pay by other means has on their business.

Phil Evans is Managing Director of Salon Guru who builds and develops the websites and handles the online marketing needs of nearly 200 hair, beauty and aesthetics salons and spas in the UK, Ireland, USA and Australia. They had a lot of success ‘down-under’, which led to the service being highly in-demand in the UK. Take the Voodou Hair Salon group in Liverpool, for example. They have introduced two specific payment plans which benefit both the client and the salon:

Firstly, clients are able to pay for their hair colour in three equal instalments using Klarna – with no interest or client fees because the payments are automatically deducted each month from the client’s payment card. As a result, the salon can sell higher priced services such as hair colour, hair extensions or hair smoothing treatments more easily, with the opportunity to up-sell, safe in the knowledge that payment in full, will land in their bank account the next day. And secondly, clients can join the Colour Club and pay monthly using Gocardless on their website – with the client receiving a set number of discounted cut & colour appointments over the year. Ideal for hair colour services but can also be adapted for any service such as a Blow Dry Club!

Phil Evans says: “It’s just like paying a monthly sum to your local gym but, instead, you are paying for your hair cut and colour! The salon receives regular monthly income on a set date, the client can take advantage of discounted services, and it helps to build loyalty too.” Salon Guru has set up a safe and secure area on the salon’s website to enable clients to set up their direct debit. Stylists can explain the process to their clients in the salon and it takes just a few moments for payments to be approved. “Cash payments are dramatically declining as people embrace Contactless payments, so it makes good business sense for salons to embrace a new direct debit payment system. It’s good for the salon and it’s good for the clients,” adds Phil.

Breathe Payments are an ethical payments business who provide payment and software solutions to their clients. Cashflow is essential for businesses, so they focus on settling card income the same day and offering flexible, fast business funding where needed. They also focussed on helping the planet, with a minimum of 1% of their profits being donated to help conserve our oceans.

The challenge for many salons is about finding new business, keeping customers loyal and saving time and money. Breathe Payments can help in several ways, including EPOS software, appointment planners, marketing campaigns and staff shift hours.

CEO of Breathe Payments, Jamie Mills explained that technology can help save time and automate the more manual tasks, so it’s always going to appeal to owners who want to cut costs and make better use of staff time: “Most of the savings can be made in admin, marketing and book-keeping which are often tasks that take salon owner or core staff away from spending time with customers or growing their business.

“Increasingly owners, manager and staff are getting used to these new systems. People are becoming more tech savvy through the use of phones and tablets in their personal life, so they’re embracing ways to bring this into the work-place too. The software is also becoming more intuitive, so you don’t need to be a tech genius to learn how to use it and it doesn’t take very long to master.”

Personally, for us, something which rung alarm bells when we learned about the increase of in salon payment systems,  was whether you would then have to lose staff members. Although this may sound like a good idea and a money saving scheme, often the staff are what encourage customers to come back – they play a lead role. As an expert, Jamie assured us this was not the case.

“The software is intended to cut down on marketing, admin and accountancy jobs which are tasks that are often outsourced or take staff away from doing the things they love. If anything, it means that staff can focus more on their clients and their core jobs, while owners can save costs on outsourced jobs, spend more on marketing and employ more salon staff as they expand.”

Epay is a full-service provider for prepaid solutions and payment processing, essentially, connecting brands and services to consumers all over the world. The payment terminals come in 3 options – WiFi, GPRS and ethernet. As an aggregator, epay offers products such as debit and credit card transactions, mobile top-up, global and local branded gift cards and energy top-ups. As an innovator, epay provides retailers with quick and simple solutions to create offers and personalised gift cards.

Richard Robertson, Managing Director of epay told us that consumers’ use of cash has declined massively over the past decade, causing a rise in outlets accepting card payments: “In 2017, cash fell behind debit and credit card transactions to become the second most frequently used payment method. Although millions of small UK businesses have kept to the traditional cash-only payment, the convenience, ease and speed of having a payment system is becoming recognised and retailers have shifted to provide this facility.

“Where retailers were resistant to switch and only accepted cash, consumers would have to leave the shop to find a cash machine. How many of these consumers never returned, gave up and found another salon which catered to their need of card or mobile payment? Electronic payment systems have evolved to process added value products and services such as gift cards, e-vouchers and loyalty programmes which allow retailers to widen their offerings instore, giving a consumer more choices to purchase. It is estimated that small businesses could potentially be missing out on millions of pounds worth of business by not providing payment systems, losing out on impulse purchases, high value shoppers and additional revenue streams.”

Richard believes, payment systems can increase revenue opportunities for a salon. 47% of consumers in the UK carry less than £5 in their wallet as cash, and studies have shown that consumers are more conscious of how much they spend when using cash as form of payment.

For a cash-only retailer, this means lower transaction values and fewer visits from the same consumer, limiting the retailer’s revenue possibilities. Cash will continue to decline, and consumers will adapt more to tapping and scanning their card or smartphone. Payment methods and systems will continue to develop alongside this. We have seen a huge growth in wearable payment devices; much like why a consumer comes into a salon, these allow consumers to select payment devices suited to their taste in style and fashion.

Just like any other connected device, there will always be a vulnerability to failures in technology – you cannot take a card payment if there’s an outage, or other reasons such as a missed internet bill or if the telephone line gets cuts. In reality, any invention that makes life easier invariably becomes popular and is adopted by the majority. With more card payments than cash and an ever-growing number of customers tapping their bit of plastic or hovering their phone over your machine to pay their bill, cash will become increasingly redundant. A payment system that not only takes card payments but also adds value to your salon is a massive pro.

Be sure to let us know how you get on with a payment system in your salon, it could be the latest innovation you need.

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