Choosing a Salon POS

April 1, 2015 Tanisha George

Shutterstock/Zern Liew

Whether you’re planning to open your first salon location or you’ve been in business for 20+ years, the journey to open a salon was likely driven by a passion and pursuit to do what you love most —create beautiful hair. And we can all agree that the only thing better than doing what you love, is getting paid to do it.

As a new salon owner you may be dreaming of dollar signs, but have you given any thought as to how you’ll take payments? Or if you’re an established salon, do you have an efficient way to keep track of sales, inventory, employee commissions, and client history?

You should be considering a salon POS system (point of sale) to help keep your business organized and help you grow. In fact, the easier your payment process is for your clients, the more – and more often – they will spend money with you. The right POS will not only reduce the barriers to payment, but also tie the client’s payment history to their client profile – so you can see a full picture of their activity and interaction with your business.

Choosing the right salon POS is an important business decision that is crucial to your salon’s success. It may require you to do a little bit of homework, but it’ll be well worth it in the end. I’ve complied a list of features for you to consider as you search for the perfect salon POS system to fit your business’s needs.

Built to Suit Your Business Needs

There are plenty of POS systems out there (ranging from industry specific to a broad fit for various business types), but not all of them are built to suit the specific needs of your salon.  Hear are a few features to consider as you compare potential systems:

  • Specials and promotions tracking
  • Multiple tax brackets for services and retail
  • Gift card & gift certificate sales
  • Individual employee sales & commissions
  • Client tracking of appointments and purchase history
  • Inventory management and tracking
  • Loyalty Programs
  • Packages, series & memberships
  • eCommerce

Integrated Payment Processing & Credit Card Processing

One of the most important features of a great salon POS is integrated payment processing. When payment technology is built into your salon POS, the need for additional software programs is eliminated. Choose a system with built in payment processing that facilitates reliable, fast, and secure transactions right in your salon POS.  This also enables you to take advantage of an eCommerce site to sell your services, products, and gift certificates online. To accept credit cards you’ll need to set up a merchant account with a payment processor. These rates vary and will depend on your volume of business. Some salon POS systems accept a whole slew of payment processors while others only accept one. Be sure to inquire on the available rates and fees to ensure you’re receiving the most competitive rates.

Ease of Use

Running a hair salon can be hectic. They are fast-paced, high-energy businesses that require organization and efficiency to keep pace with day-to-day operations and ensure client satisfaction.  With so many tasks to juggle, it’s important to have a system that is easy to use and intuitive for you and your staff. The right salon POS should be powerful enough to transform a chaotic day into a productive one, yet simple enough to use so you can focus on doing what you do best.

Secure Data

A secure payment-processing terminal and salon POS is important for protecting sensitive data, such as your clients’ credit card information.  When searching for a salon POS, be sure to inquire about their PCI compliancy. All merchants fall into one of four validation levels – Level 1 is the highest validation and most secure. Knowing that your data is secure and protected will help give you and your clients peace of mind while providing payment information to secure bookings and make purchases.

Anywhere, Anytime Access Vs. Traditional Setup

Historically POS systems have operated on dedicated local, in-house servers that act as hubs for the POS software as well as storage for all the business data.  These traditional setups have limited mobility (can only be accessed from a desktop or laptop computer inside the salon) and can also have significantly higher hardware costs associated with your purchase. 

Is mobility important to you? Do you plan on using an iPad or iPhone to take payments? Would you like to have access to your salon POS data anywhere, anytime?

If you’ve answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then you’re likely looking for a cloud-based salon POS system.

A cloud-based system runs online in “cloud” servers that you can access with an Internet connection. In short, this means that all of your salon’s data (services, products, inventory, reports) is stored safely online and can be accessed through any device that has an Internet connection. Cloud-based technology gives you complete mobility–such as roaming registers to allow your clients to pay for their services right from the stylist’s chair. You can manage your business from anywhere in real time. Not to mention your hardware costs are going to be significantly lower, which is important for small businesses like salons.

When it comes to making the decision between cloud vs. local server, you need to consider how dependent you want your salon to be on an Internet connection, whether you plan to incorporate technology into your clients’ experience, and how important it is for you to be able to grow your salon. You can read more about the differences between cloud vs. installed software here.

The Bottom Line:

To put it simply, a good salon POS system will help your business earn more money from each client, improve the customer experience and save you – the business owner – money.  It’ll streamline processes, help you keep an eye on what goes in and out of your salon, enable you to maximize sales, increase client convenience, and provide sales information to help you better enhance your client’s experience. Hopefully this article has helped you establish what kinds of factors you’ll need to take into account as you choose a POS for your salon.

To learn more about how to choose a Salon POS Software, please check out our guide.

About the Author

Tanisha George

Tanisha George brings more than a decade of experience in the beauty industry to the Booker team, including an extensive background in salon operations, luxury brand management and customer experience. Prior to joining Booker, Tanisha spent four years at P&G-Frederic Fekkai training salon managers to run seven of the highest performing salons in the country. She also held executive positions at leading companies including L'Oreal and Limited Brands.

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