Beauty salons are more popular now than ever before. Despite the popularity of DIY skin and hair care solutions, people regularly visit salons to get their hair and nails done by trained professionals. In fact, as of October 2022, there are more than 900 thousand beauty salons across the United States.
This booming business generates more than $56.2 billion in annual revenue in the US. The skin care industry alone has brought in about $11 billion so far this year. With the popularity and awareness of hair, skin and beauty treatments on the rise, these numbers are projected to increase even more in the coming years.
Like the beauty salon industry, the e-commerce and digital marketing scene in the US is also on the rise. As of May 2022, beauty salon apps draw more than 30 percent of the customer base that directly generates revenue. That’s why it’s essential for salons to offer apps that allow customers to explore services and pricing and book appointments digitally.
Some salons also provide home services to people who require them and book appointments via these apps. This has kept many businesses afloat during the difficult times brought on by COVID-19 lockdowns.
By the end of this article, you will have a working understanding of how a beauty salon application can help you achieve your business goals. We can help your salon business reach new heights with some innovative ideas that are road maps to success.
What You’ll Learn In This Post
- Beauty salons market trends
- Some popular salon apps and what they offer
- The importance of having a salon app
- Must have features for a beauty salon app
- Considerations before building a salon app
- Important steps in building a beauty salon app
- Costs and benefits of investing in a salon app
Beauty Salon Market Trends
Beauty salons have always been popular in the United States. Despite facing a dip during the financial crisis of 2008 and a marginal setback during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, the beauty salon industry has been flowing as smoothly and strongly as the wind.
According to Statista, the beauty salon industry held a market value of more than $69 billion in 2019. The industry was temporarily affected by the pandemic in 2019 and 2020, but it swiftly recovered the next year. As of 2022, the global beauty salon industry is valued at almost $140 billion.
The beauty salon industry relies on various marketing methods to approach their customer base. One such method is the use of mobile apps, a practice that is on the rise. Since people use their smartphones regularly, having an app for your beauty salon puts you in close contact with potential customers, making it easier to capture leads.
Top 3 Beauty Salon Apps
There are many beauty salon apps out there in the market in the United States. Some are local and some provide services across multiple parts of the country. Here are some of the best salon apps that you can draw inspiration from.
Treatwell is a beauty salon app that serves as a marketplace for salons. Users can find various salons in their areas and book an appointment for a desired service after reading reviews from customers who have visited the listed salons. The salons are sorted by rating and popularity, offering a streamlined process for users to choose their best option.
Booking an appointment is fairly easy with Treatwell, as it allows users to bookmark salons they would like to potentially visit in the future. There’s even options for scheduling, payment and a notification system that reminds the user of their appointments, discounts and special offers from nearby salons.
Colavo is a beauty salon management app that focuses on the business side of the industry. With more than 100 thousand downloads from the Google Play Store, ColavoSalon is rated highly by salon owners across the US. The application provides important features like scheduling, appointment management, sales records and pricing.
With a wide range of features and the inclusion of all the services provided by most salons, ColavoSalon is rated 4 out of 5 stars by its users. They proudly claim to have been used by almost 100 thousand salons in the US, which encompasses 10 percent of the current market.
Fresha is another popular salon app that lets its users easily book beauty appointments at local salons. Not only is it intuitive and easy to use, but Fresha also has the added benefit of allowing its users to book last-minute appointments quickly and at ease. The app includes salons and spas, and can help users choose the best outlet based on search filters, user reviews, location, availability and pricing.
Fresha has more than 100 thousand active users in the US and is loved by both customers and business owners alike. Two separate apps for the customers and business owners means Fresha provides complete solutions to the beauty salon market– from appointment bookings to sales management and record keeping.
Is It Worth Building a Beauty Salon App?
Before investing in any business upgrades, a small business owner should always assess all the risks and gains they might achieve after implementing new upgrades and investments. Investing in a beauty salon app is one of the best business decisions a salon owner could make in 2022, as it boosts business management and helps increase the active customer base by providing much-needed brand exposure.
Reach Wider Audience
A digital platform like a website or an app for your beauty salon means you are naturally reaching out to an audience that wasn’t yours to begin with. People perform Internet searches constantly and are always seeking ‘the better option”. By building a salon app for mobile phones and investing in a solid promotion strategy, then you, as a beauty salon owner, have the ability to expand your local reach, and ultimately gain customers who will interact on your app and book appointments for services that fit their needs.
In this day and age, people tend to minimize human interaction as much as possible. Be it because of their personalities or health concerns or overall continence, if it can be done through an app, most people would not bother doing it in person. The same goes for booking appointments and buying skin and health care products. A salon app bridges the gap between the service and the customer by allowing them to browse through services, book appointments and read peer reviews, making a beauty salon app all the more appealing to a wide range of customers.
The use of a beauty salon app with the functionality of business management makes it not only easy for the customer to book appointments, but also simplifies the process for business owners, as they can keep track of sales, handle payments and manage appointments. There are many ways a salon owner could benefit from this, including freeing up valuable time to spend on making their business grow. A mobile app also allows business owners to focus more on customer needs and market demands, as various mundane routine tasks can be effectively managed through the app’s automation.
Essential Features of a Beauty Salon App
There are some features that are absolutely essential in a beauty salon app that make it appealing and useful to the customer. If the application has what people need on a daily basis to make their overall salon experience easier, then they are poised to get hooked on it. An application with an intuitive and user-friendly interface, for example, makes people come back because of its convenience and usefulness. This is how most social media and e-commerce apps seize the market– and it could very well be true for a beauty salon industry as well.
The most crucial part of any beauty salon app is an appointment management system. If a potential customer visits your app and likes the services they see, they must be allowed to book an appointment via the app. If they have to call or visit to do this, it completely defeats the purpose of having a mobile application in the first place.
Appointment booking also ensures that the customer is interested in the service, and the salon owner could make a call or text the customer to arrange a future appointment in case l they fail to appear at the initial time.. On top of that, this also allows the business owner to keep track of current trends and what services to focus on based on the number of bookings and inquiries.
Another important aspect of a beauty salon app is the option to make in-app payments. When people book an appointment for a service, they should be presented with an option to make an advanced payment on the service they are interested in. This makes it easier for them to confirm their decisions and also helps avoid unnecessary human interaction.
Additionally, human beings, by nature, are impulsive organisms. We tend to buy things when we are in a good mood and we invest in ideas when it sounds good to our ears. An appointment booking system with an in-app payment system means people can instantly buy or pay for any service and product as they browse, which is what any business relies on. To cash in on this, the application must have an integrated payment gateway that partners with companies like PayPal and Verified By Visa in order to allow easy and safe transactions for both parties.
Notifying clients about their upcoming appointments and changes in schedules is another important aspect of a beauty salon app. This helps remind customers about their bookings and appointments, while also making them feel valued. Reminder texts about service appointments, notifications about discounts and sales and feedback requests are what make the application more interactive with the customer, which can increase your usage, popularity, and business revenue in general.
People lead busy lives and a notification system could also serve as a reminder that makes sure the customers do not fail to keep up with their appointments despite their busy schedules. This helps both the business and the customer in their own ways to serve their objectives.
Another important feature that makes a salon app successful is the integration of maps and a navigation system. People who book appointments via the app might not always know the location of the salon, as some people hesitate to ask for directions and would rather not visit the storefront at all.
Integrating digital maps of your city with the salon properly pointed out makes sure that people who are interested in the services provided by the beauty salon do not have a hard time locating the business. Also, listing the salon on Google Maps helps people find the beauty salon while they are in the area looking for a quick manicure.
Under the Hood: Technical Considerations
Designing and developing any application takes a lot of work. Regardless of the nature of the business, the application at its core must have a basic framework with essential features that make it efficient. Maintaining a proper database and integrating the app across multiple platforms are some of the prime requirements that make an app stand out among others.
These technical things need to be sorted out before the design and development of the application begins. Despite not being out there in the open, these technical considerations will serve the application the best. Some of the most essential technicalities to consider are:
Cross-Platform Versus Native
There are two different approaches to developing a mobile application. The first is a cross-platform approach, which means the application runs across all platforms and operating systems, including Android, iOS and Windows.
On the other hand, a native app is something that is built targeting a single operating system and will only function on it. Developers use Java to develop native apps on Android, whereas iOS utilizes the help of a different programming language called Flutter.
Before you reach a conclusion on deciding which option suits your business, it’s best to consider the pros and cons of both these application designs.
Native apps are easy to build and are highly integrated with the device’s hardware. Since they are developed targeting a single operating system, these applications can make the most out of the device they are running on. Apple Maps on an iPhone is the best example of such an app. On top of that, these applications are more secure, and the user interface can be smoother than cross-platform apps.
On the other hand, a cross-platform app provides the ease of running a single application across many platforms. These apps rely on cloud technology and are not heavily linked with the device hardware they’re running on. However, these apps are easy to update and are economical because a single team of developers can build these cross-platform apps without you having to hire a separate team to build the app for different operating systems.
Having multiple payment partners is always a good way to commercialize any application. Teaming up with different payment processing gateways and allowing the users to pay in-app makes an application immersive. If people can order things or schedule an appointment from their fingertips, it makes them want to return to the app when they want the same product or service again.
Multiple payment processing partners in the US are used and trusted by millions of users and business owners. Companies like Stripe, Clover and Apple Pay are some of the best in the business. Additionally, electronic wallets and credit card providers like PayPal, Visa and MasterCard allow users to make payments via their network, which is handy for most people.
Having multiple payment partners not only gives the customers a wide choice of options to choose how they’d like to pay, but it also adds an extra layer of assurance and a sense of security among the customers. In a way, if a business is integrated with PayPal, Apple Pay and Verified By Visa, it’s a good sign that the business is trustworthy. Also, there is little risk of the transaction not going through because most people are familiar with these payment providers and they are trusted by everyone, including business houses and the government.
All applications must maintain a database for the proper functioning of the program. Databases are tables that keep user records and other information native to the app that helps the application serve suitable content to the user every time they visit the app.
A beauty salon application could store valuable data like user names, contact details, ages, services that they use, credit card information and location. However, ensuring that this data is not misused and leaked must be a top priority of the business owner and the app developer.
There are many ways developers make the data and the application as secure as possible. In addition to using cryptography techniques to transfer data, developers should alsosecure in-transit data from the user’s device to the server by using a VPN tunnel or an SSL on its way to the server.Similarly, multiple authentications and authorization layers help ensure the users are protected from exploitation as well.
Developers prefer storing sensitive data like credit card information and Social Security numbers locally on the user device, eliminating having to secure the information during transit to the server. This prevents leakage of sensitive information in the case of the application data center being hacked. Software giants like Google and Apple have set safety standards for third-party apps that are sold on their marketplace for Android and iPhones, making apps even more secure for users.
Building an MVP
While developing an application for any business sector, the developer must study the market beforehand. They must identify and understand the core issues that the application is supposed to address. Rather than trying to make a hot and flashy application that’s got everything, the focus should always be put on making things as compact as possible.
This is an issue addressed by the concept of a Minimal Viable Product. An MVP is an application design that focuses solely on a specific purpose that makes it appealing to the users. When building a beauty salon application, it’s important to remember the main idea behind the app is to draw in customers, which is possible by letting them select services and book appointments for them. Everything else that follows – like maps and payment integration – are add-ons that make the experience fluid and easy for people to follow. The idea behind MVP is to cut costs in development and address immediate issues via the application, while also having the room to collect feedback and user information that will make it possible to upgrade and improve the application over time.
Applications are supposed to solve issues, not create them. If a user uses any application, it’s most likely that they use it for a specific purpose, like streaming music via Spotify and streaming videos via YouTube. If an application tries to cross boundaries and do everything, it will eventually spiral into a disaster. Thus, focusing on an MVP is always crucial for success in app development.
4 Steps to Develop a Beauty Salon App
Application development takes thorough planning and studying of the business and the market. Many aspects must be considered by both the app developer and the business owner that would make their application a favorite among users. It is important that the application is made as user-friendly as possible. Also, a proper marketing strategy must be implemented to launch and promote the application, ensuring maximum exposure. If done with proper planning, a beauty salon app would help the business owner capitalize on a huge portion of the market that currently remains untouched.
Apart from research and development, general aspects of the application’s management should also be kept in mind in order to avoid any speed bumps along the way to the application’s public release.
Any successful project starts with proper research. Studying the business, understanding the market and identifying challenges faced by the industry are important steps during the research phase of app development. Developers should always analyze the application’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) to weigh out all its pros, cons and any potential challenges.
In addition to researching your customer demographic and determining required features, It’s essential to perform a competitor analysis. You should also take the time to understand the customer’s needs and verify if existing applications meet those needs.. This will allow you to design an application that targets that particular problem, which would draw a huge user base and profit your business. Companies hire business analysts to carry out this app development phase to ensure they extract every bit of information from the market that can be used.
Any decent developer designs applications with the target demographic in mind, as an application is only useful if it’s easy to use, intuitive and appealing to its users. A beauty salon app is not considered great if it allows you to book an appointment for a pedicure– it’s only worthwhile if the app lets you complete this task with ease in a few steps.
There are people from ages 15 to 70 who regularly visit beauty salons. People of these age groups have different levels of knowledge of modern tech. Thus, a user-friendly interface design ensures that the average app user has the best possible user experience. This is considered one of the most important parts of app development because most people judge a book by its cover. So, if an application looks shiny, has simple functionality, and is easy to use, chances are people are going to want to use it for a long time.
3. Develop and Test
The next step of development is the actual development of the mobile application. This is done based on the reports prepared by the business analysis team and the UI/UX designers. As discussed previously, development could take different but identical road maps depending on the platform the application is intended to run on.
The backend development team prepares the server side of the application and links it with the UI/UX envisioned by the designing team. Once the app is ready with all the necessary features and functionalities, it is then sent to a team of quality analysts and beta testers to see if all the functions are working properly and if there are any bugs that could cause an issue with the app’s operations. Once the testing team is satisfied, the application is ready to be launched.
4. Deliver and Maintain
Developing and launching the application is only the first part of the app development project– launching and maintaining it afterward is a whole new challenge. After completing the initial three steps of the app development, the application is launched to the public for use. This starts the feedback collection from the users and lets the developers know of public demand.
Applications are software, and software needs to stand the test of time if they are to remain in the market. That’s why collecting public feedback in order to create better updates is a must.
After launching the app on Google Play Store or the Apple Store, developers must keep an eye out for public satisfaction, user ratings and reviews. It is very important to take a hold of these stats and use them to the advantage of the beauty salon. Thus, an application, once launched, needs to be regularly maintained and updated to make sure it’s as useful as it was when it was first launched. Fixing bugs, adding features and improving its UI/UX must be done on a regular basis.
Beauty Salon App Development Cost
The products in the IT industry are highly modular. There are various factors that come into play while determining the cost of any project. Developing a similar application with two different companies could cost different amounts depending on the skills and quality of the development team, as well as the timeframe of the project duration. Also, pricing heavily relies on the number of features and services the application is supposed to have, and beauty salon apps are no different.
A proper beauty salon management application with an appointment management system, in-app purchases with multiple payment partners and other necessary features could cost anywhere between thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. It all boils down to the services and features you want to include in your beauty salon application.
For example, a simple app development project that runs for three to six months and covers some basic features could cost between $20,000 and $50,000. However, building on top of this with premium features and integrations could increase both the project duration and the cost, potentially bringing the price to about $200,000. This cost is also affected by the number of hours put in by developers on the project and their hourly rates.
Launching a new application in the market is always a challenging task. Developers and app owners do not know how well it will fare in the early stages. Thus, for any small business, it’s considered best practice to start out small and then scale up the application over time.
If an application is launched expecting a thousand active users a month but soon the numbers rise to ten thousand active users a month, it becomes an issue in terms of data management, server-side processing and user handling. To tackle this issue, developers leave room for scalability while designing and developing the application, as upgradation benefits users and business owners alike.
There are many factors that come into play while scaling up an application, including scaling of the servers and storage, upgradation of the database and optimizing the responsiveness of the application. Most developers use app development technology that makes scaling easy. Node.js, for example, is quite popular as a backend framework due to its versatile nature and scalability.
However, this upgradation comes with a cost since developers have to put in extra hours to scale up the project on demand of the client. But, this is still more economically sound than breaking your bank to launch an app that crashes because of poor market judgment and decisions.
Idea Maker’s Experience In Beauty Salon App Development
With nearly a decade of experience in the software and application development industry, Idea Maker possesses the knowledge, skill and creativity required to fix any challenges faced by businesses in the digital age. From providing software-as-a-service to developing web and mobile applications, Idea Maker brings in years of market experience in the field that will serve you the best.
We design and develop ERP management systems, portfolios, e-commerce websites and business websites for schools, real estate, medical and tourism sectors, stores and salons.
Pink Avenue is an exceptional example of a salon management application that we recently developed and handed over to the client. The application consists of various features, including an appointment management system, live map integration and payment processing. The cross-platform app also offers discount notifications, event reminders and a dedicated dashboard for customers, owners and staff.
Idea Maker is in the industry to help you find solutions to your business challenges. From developing a solid digital footprint to increasing market capitalization, we can guide your business to success every step of the way. With our enthusiasm to exceed expectations, Idea Maker is your partner for digital supremacy in the beauty salon industry. Because, what is the point of developing an app if it isn’t going to increase the popularity of your beauty salon?
Schedule a call with us today, to get a free business assessment from our expert analysts and get a head start on your beauty salon app project. It’s never too late to start an innovation.