Bin the book! Why switching to digital could see your salon success soar

Switching from paper to digital can have a profound effect on your salon. We speak to salon owner Donna Page about how she’s streamlined her business since moving admin online

Donna Page

“I had been considering going digital for quite some time but it seemed expensive and I was unaware of the benefits. Then during lockdown, I attended all of the Goldwell spotlight sessions online which featured a range of salons (the majority of which were digital, and the benefits of digital over paper became clearer in terms of communicating with clients and just making everything a bit more automated.

Since going digital and using these features to communicate with clients, our no-shows have been almost completely eliminated. Initially we went for the online booking system, although this is still not as widely used as we expected, but it has made it easier for our existing clients to book out of hours. We now have a fully booked client list until Christmas, and about 65 per cent of our appointments are now colour. We know our target market, and we’ve carved out a niche in Bridlington with lots of vivid colours.

To coincide with going digital, we launched a new website, as well as completely overhauling our service menu in a way which I believe is unique. We are colour focused, and our colour appointments are one client at a time. They get our full attention for the whole appointment, so while their colour is developing, we offer the client either a complimentary arm and hand massage, or a foot spa, or even just some quiet time. This is an area we are looking to expand by introducing iPads, digital magazines to read… and we also use this time to discuss or book the next appointment in their colour journey.

The longer appointment times with the focus on colour means that we can plan our day extremely effectively, so this new structure has been a great improvement. I’ve created a strict time structure to colour appointments, while building in a little flexibility for the stylist to accommodate clients who diverge from the norm, but my main goal is for the client to leave the salon feeling like they’ve had an experience, not just a service.

I want them to feel that it’s a safe, welcoming environment – we are an extremely inclusive salon. Going digital has been a great way for us to communicate this to our clients, to let them know that we have a gender-neutral price list based upon the time needed for the appointment rather than the gender of the client.

Going digital has been a great way for us to communicate this to our clients, to let them know that we have a gender-neutral price list based upon the time needed for the appointment rather than the gender of the client.

We also discuss the price fully at each stage so there are no unwelcome surprises at the till, and before the client leaves the salon, we make time to discuss the products they can use to treat their hair, how to care for it at home, and we prepare products for our existing clients so they are all ready to go when they pay. We have extended the length of our appointments by 15-30 minutes, but the quality of service that the client receives is far superior.

Some of our clients are lonely and enjoy the rapport we share, so this gives us much more time to devote to every single client. To emphasise the changes we had made, we changed our name from Sophisticutz to Salon Prisma.  We also rebranded ourselves as a colour destination salon, one which is Goldwell-focused with KMS and the Goldwell colour line, so our clients’ hair care is consistent from salon chair to home.

New and old clients get the same high-quality treatment and the same level of attention – we never dial it in. To establish ourselves further as a colour destination, our price structure changed to reflect the quality of our work – one can’t provide exceptional-quality colour work on a limited budget. We only use the best colours, and we truly believe that Goldwell’s range (Elumen Vivids in particular) is fantastic.

As far as boosting profits, it’s definitely helped reduce the number of missed appointments. We use features like sending customers getting alerts before their appointments, and the email service is really good for marketing purposes – letting clients know what we’re doing in the salon or if there are any offers available. Once a week, I send out an email with availability for the coming week in case of any last-minute appointments.

I can also access the system remotely, which gives me the flexibility and freedom to work from anywhere with internet access. It also helps with the integration of other social media. If we receive an enquiry on social media, the system replies automatically with a link to the salon website. So, the biggest way that its boosted profits is through improved stock management and communication with clients.

When I felt like I was stuck in a rut, going through the motions, one of the most important things I did was to employ a business coach who challenged my limiting beliefs and made me look at my business with fresh eyes. After that, I became aware of not only the flaws but the potential within my business, and that reignited my passion, so I strongly recommend investing in a good coach. If you’re stuck in a rut and can’t see a way forward, there are people who can help you to see what you’re missing.” 


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