Retail services such as salons can benefit hugely from using automated online booking systems. Not only does it allow customers to make appointments on the go, but it also makes it far more efficient for the owner to manage, keep track of them, and change schedules, hours or prices to immediately be reflected across the board.
One option is to create an in-house app, which would set you back thousands of dollars. There is a far simpler alternative – an online store, using a platform such as WooCommerce, which is super easy to install and use.
After that, it’s a simple matter of installing a Booking & Appointment plugin, and you are all set to create a fully-fledged booking platform for an annual cost of under $200!
You can read the full documentation here, but in this article, we are going to highlight some features that would be especially useful for salon owners.
Before you begin using the booking features, you have to create ‘Products’ in your WooCommerce store.
Then as you scroll down, you will see that a box appears which will allow you to turn the product into a bookable one.
Click on the Availability tab to set the options for days, times, prices, and more.
Depending on the staff capacity, salons may want to limit the number of services per product, per slot. When you set the Booking type to ‘Date & Time’, there will be an option on the maximum number of bookings per slot.
Adding and Assigning Resources
Salons will often have specialists, stylists, consultants and more coming in for limited slots per week or month. The ‘Resources’ option will allow you to add resources for specific slots, as well as limit the number of resources available per slot.
The resource is then assigned to the product you want, by enabling the Booking Resource box on the product page.
The ‘resource’ is added as a Staff member and shows up as an option for your customers on your website.
Add Bookings to Google Calendar
All your bookings can be synced with a Google Calendar. This is especially useful for individual employees to keep track of their bookings through their own calendar, without having to look at the system again and again.
Create a Manual Booking
In order to cover all bases, you may also want to allow for manual bookings via telephone or in-person. To avoid confusion, all you have to do is create the booking on the platform, and it will appear on your calendar and dashboard.
This is especially useful for salons with a strong community presence, and a loyal customer base who you may not want to alienate by shifting online completely.
As you can see, you can either create a new order or booking, or add it to an existing order. Say for instance a customer booked a haircut, but then called to add a mani-pedi to the other, without having to create a separate booking. You could simply update an existing order to do so.
Set Up Prices for Weekdays/Dates
Discounts and sales are key to businesses. You can set sale prices for individual products and select the dates the discounted prices would be valid for, in advance, making planning for the sale season super-efficient.
Just as customers might want to add more than one service, or book offline, so they might also want to reschedule their appointments for one reason or another. With the booking plugin, you can give them this amazing, yet tricky-to-manage service, to meet every customers’ needs.
The front-end should look something as seen below with some variations based on the settings you choose, along with a preview image.
Going online seems like a gigantic, expensive, bulky move for a business like a salon, but thanks to the affordable solutions available, you don’t have to choose between accepting bookings online and exercising fiscal prudence. Y
You can do both at an affordable cost by investing in a Booking and Appointment plugin such as the one from Tyche Softwares.