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Online booking sins and secrets – everything your competitors are doing that you need to be

In an increasingly-connected world, it seems you can book nearly everything online these days. From dog-walkers to DoorDash, nights away and staycays, and every personal service under the sun – if you aren’t using online booking in your business, you’re missing out on valuable bookings.  

A recent survey of over 2,000 salons, beauty and barbershops using Shortcuts in Australia and New Zealand shows that over 56% of their clients are booking appointments outside of business hours.  

The harsh reality is – if you aren’t able to take bookings online, your competitors are getting them. Those overdue roots are made for walking, baby. They aren’t hanging around to call you during business hours. They’ve booked online with your competitor down the street, and once they’re gone they aren’t coming back.  

But there is good news! Our new online booking platform is the most intuitive, industry-specific, and revolutionary online booking experience to connect your clients to their favourite stylist. Plus, we’ve collated our best practice tips to make sure you are ready to get the bookings flowing.  

1. Get your setup looking swish 

With the new online booking platform, you can customise colours, fix fonts and add brand images to make the experience for your clients so seamless, they won’t even know they’re booking through a different portal! Hey fancy-salon (wave emoji)  

You can even choose how you want the online booking to appear when your clients click that magic BOOK button – either a full screen page of its own or sliding in as a whizzy widget in front of their eyes.  

Don’t forget to set a highlight colour! Modern web design research shows that using a strong, distinctive colour as a highlight (for things like buttons and menu panels) actually shows your users how to navigate through processes. So it’s important to pick one that will stand out! Avoid using black as this is your chance to shine.  

To customise your set up, check out these videos.

2. Share, share and share some more  

The best way to boost your online bookings is to make it accessible – everywhere. With our Instagram and Facebook booking link, you can add a nifty button to your social profiles that will allow your clients to book directly. That’s right, no more messages back-and-forth in countless inboxes to coordinate an appointment – it’s super simple, super intuitive and best of all, it’s available now.  

Get your booking button on Instagram and Facebook. 

3. Data is the key 

At this point in our business-game, we all know the power of data, right? Right?? It’s literally the secret sauce that will spice up your business strategy and make your marketing dollars do the work for you.  

And even better? Our online booking platform now offers an even deeper level of data through Google Analytics!  

You’ll be able to see where clients are coming from (whether that’s digital sources like Google, Facebook, paid ads or partner websites, or geographical – you’ll be able to see if your clients travel from far and wide, or are right around the corner), how long they spend choosing services and add-ons, what time of day they are booking and most importantly, how many bookings are coming through and how much money you’re making. Ka-ching! 

4. Give the people what they want 

How much time do you spend at the start of every appointment carefully preparing that cappuccino exactly how your client likes it?  

Imagine how efficient your day would be (not to mention how chuffed your client would be!) if you could have that coffee sitting at their chair when they walk in?!  

Get your clients dreaming of their in-chair indulgence before they even enter the salon, by offering it as a pre-selection option in your online booking. Simply add a service section for your food and drink options, and make it accessible through online booking! Voila! 

5. Sometimes we all love a bit of silence 

There’s a growing trend for silent appointments since COVID drove us all into a more secluded lifestyle – and the data shows a lot of clients are all for it.  

Shortcuts customer Kaylie Douglas, operations and marketing manager of RAW Anthony Nader told the Sydney Morning Herald that the silent option has become increasingly popular since the pandemic.  

“As hairdressers, we are good at being able to read our clients and understand whether they are in the mood or mindset to be sociable,” Douglas says. 

“A lot of people post-lockdown just didn’t want to talk; they just preferred to enjoy their appointment, so it was almost happening without having a label.” 

The best way to offer a silent treatment is creating an online booking category with your most popular treatments listed as a quiet alternative – or simply prompt clients to make a note in the additional info box before completing their booking. And bring on the peace and quiet! The new online booking platform is available now, to any Shortcuts customers! Click here to switch it on and get set up today!

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