Tech Forecast: Industry Leaders on Future Technology and Client Experience
In a constantly shifting technological landscape, these industry leaders are alert to new innovations in their market. We asked them: What future technology do you have your eye on, and how will it shape the client experience?
The future technology we are looking forward to is Virtual Reality. Verasoft is currently working on integrating Virtual Reality into KORVUE’s online booking systems to allow a client to review the services and meet the staff like never before possible. Virtual Reality will allow a person to tour the salon, take product off the shelf, examine it and ask a specialist questions. Not only can they select their haircut and makeup, but they will also be able to “try it out” in their own environment to gauge reaction. All this without leaving the comfort of their own home or office. Game Changer.
Alan Hayes, national account executive, Verasoft USA
We are looking at how mobile platforms will alter the entire guest experience in a salon environment, from bookings, consultation and all the way to recording all aspects of cuts, styles and color services.
Elizabeth Christie, CEO, SureTint Technologies
We are laser-focused on mobile technologies, as growing demand and the need for accessibility continue to shape the future. Service providers and their clients expect the control and increased convenience that mobile tools and apps can offer them and more mobility ultimately leads to an improved quality of service. The client’s experience is enhanced when technology allows businesses to break the mold. A front desk team that has been freed from their traditional post, is now more approachable. That leads to a significant increase in interactions, which in turn strengthens loyalty and relationships.
Louie Lago, president, SalonBiz
Honestly I think the industry has spent so much time chasing the next technology, or app, or device that they’ve lost focus on growing their businesses. That might be surprising coming from a ‘technologist’ that has been around as long or longer than any other software company in the beauty industry. The truth is I use technology to chase the passion of growing businesses. So my hope and focus is using the power of technology to refocus my clients on business tools and things that will directly help their salon, spa, independent operator or large chain succeed.
John Harms, founder and CEO, Millennium Systems International
Paul Mitchell has partnered with the YouCam Makeup beauty app, making it the first U.S. hair line to utilize the app’s seamless technology which features precise, instant hair mapping technology and unmatched natural color layering. Paul Mitchell’s hair color suite will allow users across the globe to try true-to-life virtual hair color styles, and instantly locate a salon to bring their favorite style to reality, providing a true end-to-end user experience. The YouCam partnership offers a new, mobile beauty platform that can help stylists increase color services in the salon, it is free to download, easy to use and offers stylists a visual tool to engage guests in hair color conversations.
Andrea Espinoza, brand manager, Paul Mitchell Professional Hair Color
Technology is fast-forwarding towards super-automation, moving to remove the time-consuming, routine aspects of scheduling our lives. For example, we all know our clients love the service experience, but hate to be on hold while making an appointment. This trend of automating the mundane has beckoned the rise of technologies such as mobile payments, salon mobile apps and speech recognition. Where the world is going, it won’t be long before you have the ability to talk to your software and ask for Mrs. Jones’ bill or to speak a color formula rather than write it or type it. At Shortcuts we continue to invest in tools that make every aspect of the routine transaction easier, allowing our clients to focus less on getting through their task-lists, and more on enhancing their relationships with clients.
Paul Tate, CEO, Shortcuts
Mobile applications are, and will continue to be, a necessity for any business. In every industry, we see owners promoting their mobile apps and rewarding clients for using them. Whether it be for client loyalty programs or online booking, business owners know that customers are accustomed to doing everything from their phone. With Envision and our client-facing mobile app, MyDash, clients are able to stay connect to their salon 24/7. This enhances the client experience because they can book appointments, receive specials, or refer friends in the moment rather than waiting until they are in the salon. While in the salon, clients can receive special beacon notifications about retail products as they walk by retail shelves. They are more connected to their salon and the experience there than ever before.
Micki DeJean, director of marketing, Envision Software
We are keeping an eye on the "wearable tech" market (smart watches etc.) to see how we can utilize them to increase business efficiency and eliminate no-shows and late arrivals. The technology still has to continue to develop but as it becomes more accepted, we can see applications for notifying staff when their clients arrive as well as reminders for clients prior to their appointments to ensure they are on time. The ability to book your appointment at a salon or spa and have it automatically synch to your phone and watch calendars could be available in the near future.
Crystal Meiser, sales director, Insight Salon & Spa Software—SYNTEC
Context-aware computing has changed the way people use software because it intuitively adapts behaviors based on each user. Because Rosy has so many types of users from salon clients to the salon owners, managers, receptionists, and stylists, each experience has to be highly individualized. This technology has already been used for our Online Client Scheduling, Product Recommendations, and Product Reservation features. In the future I can see expanding the access into the supply chain, which will help with the exchange of information. An informed staff, coupled with an automated system that recommends products based on past services and retail sales, as well as future bookings, leads to greater sales and a highly customized experience for the client.
Jim Bower, founder, Rosy Salon Software
The future of salon/spa technology will create a more convenient environment for the guest. Quite simply creating a better guest experience. Cloud technology will enhance this by utilizing mobile devices to greet your guests. We will soon allow a client to have the salon/spa app on their phone so that as soon as they arrive for their appointment they will be automatically checked in prior to walking through the door. The guest is immediately greeted for their appointment.
Jeff Mason, STX
I am excited about ZeeZor (zeezor.net) for upgrading the client experience and growing the salon’s bottom line. Years ago, we tracked our numbers in a book. With the ZeeZor app, that information is automatically updated to our phones. This omni-channel employee engagement platform, developed by Salon 124’s Brian Perdue and his colleagues, shows your salon’s numbers, as well as each stylist’s daily results, in real-time. Your stylists see their numbers, too. When they’re aware of how their actions impact their income, it prompts them to have discussions with their guests about additional services, upgrades and take-home products.
The world leaders in tech innovation have already put their eggs in the AI (artificial intelligence) basket. Machine Learning (ML), a subset of AI, can and will use predictive analysis to drive business and customer relationships across all industries. In the not-so-distant future, ML will give us the ability to automate much of the back-end, heavy lifting of running a salon. It will streamline the front desk and operational systems, match people with the proper products, service provider and even reference images. While it seems hard to imagine now, ML will soon work (with people) to improve customer support, maximize customer spending and encourage clients to stay with you.
Lyndsey Bardnell, Oribe vice president, srategic projects and industry development