After last year’s devastating shut down, the economy is ramping back up to growth mode and small businesses are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. While many businesses suffered losses and faced adversity last year, salon owners had a set of unique challenges to overcome.
Janet St. Paul, owner of Janet St. Paul Studio for Hair and Beauty in Austin, TX, was fortunate enough to only be closed for a couple of months, but had to create tight restrictions to reopen safely.
These restrictions meant not only did Janet have to cope with the loss of two months’ business, she also had to reopen at reduced capacity and invest in PPE.
As a member of American Express’ Membership Rewards program, she could pay the salon’s American Express Card with points, allowing her to free up cash flow where she needed it in other places.
“We also tapped into a ton of American Express’s Business Class articles online to access their knowledge base,” she says. “We adapted American Express’s suggested messaging into our social media, addressing areas like attracting clients back into the salon, reassuring them we are a safe environment, communicating staff changes and explaining social distancing in the salon.”
Salon owners can also use the American Express salon landing page for free marketing materials and offers on supplies (while supplies last). There’s even a re-opening starter pack with sanitation, signage and other tools to help salons rebuild and get back to the new normal.
But according to St. Paul, the number-one benefit she incorporated into her business was contactless payment.
Contactless Payment Changes the Game
In a high-touch environment, no-contact payment transformed Janet’s front desk system with American Express and Rosy, her salon software, working seamlessly together.
“We put everyone’s cards on file through Rosy, knowing it was an easy, safe database,” she says. “It was effortless for us and for our guests. By having the card on file, we could process payments without anyone touching anything.”
“From the moment a client walks in our salon, they have the ability to purchase without pulling out their card,” says Beth St. Paul, Director of Operations.
And for Beth and Janet, using their own American Express Card was an advantage.
“Our financial advisors advised us to use our American Express Card as much as possible to take advantage of points and other benefits,” Beth says.
“Knowing we had credit available after being closed for two months, purchasing PPE, buying new equip, etc., allowed us to maintain the level of service our clients expect,” Beth says. “Having access to our American Express Card credit line was a huge benefit.”
Buying Power for Better Business
Membership Rewards is nothing new to Janet, who became an American Express merchant when she opened her Austin location in 2011 after over a decade of being a Card Member.
As a small business owner, Janet looked to American Express for guidance on messaging to her own clientele based on how they spoke to their client base.
“We turned to the American Express website to see what they were guiding their merchants to do,” she says. “We also looked at the links they provided to help and support their merchants and how they were speaking to concerns. American Express lights the way for many, and we followed, even adopting some of their suggested messaging to use in our own messaging to guests.”
As the salon has been ramping back up to normal, Beth says they’ve seen an uptick in clients using their own American Express Cards.
Janet says, “They want to shop, and we are seeing an increase in spending right now. We carry a line of jewelry priced at several hundred dollars. We had men purchasing it around Mother’s Day with more than half using an American Express Card. Speaking from my own personal experience as an American Express Card Member and my observations of clients over the years, we know American Express Card Members are high spending.”
Pairing Up With Rosy
Perusing American Express’s articles and tips got Janet and Beth’s creative juices flowing, and they realized they could utilize Rosy even more.
“Rebooking, adding a gratuity, texting, product reservations—we were able to make all these happen with Rosy,” Beth says. “When the client’s credit card is on file, curbside pickup of salon retail is easy for everyone.”
Texting was a real game changer for the salon. “We could not have come back without Rosy’s direct texting to clients,” Janet says. “It was paramount to organizing the books before we re-opened. I’m grateful we were busy, but we lost technicians and spent a lot of time communicating with clients, which texting made much simpler.”
Janet also says the integration of Rosy Pay and American Express has allowed them to think differently about their business.
“As a small business, the more tools you have that work together, the easier working on the business becomes.
As Janet continues to navigate a busy, post-pandemic world, she relies on Rosy and American Express for the technology to improve her salon’s procedures.
Are you an American Express Merchant? Tap into the tools that will make a difference in your salon’s business.
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Originally posted on Salon Today