A New Era For Hairdressing Says Jo Burgess, Shortcuts Co-founder
Co-founder of Shortcuts, Jo Burgess reveals why she sees 2021 as a new era of hairdressing and what tools the software company has developed to support hairdressers in this incredibly important year…
“As we get cosy with the idea of 2021, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. I feel that this year is going to hold so much potential for salons who have proven they can survive and thrive through whatever the world can throw at them, after the fiasco of 2020.
At Shortcuts, we have been working furiously behind the scenes to deliver some very exciting tools to unlock this potential to the industry. But I’m a big believer that your past is a massive player in your journey to understanding and fully appreciating what’s coming.
The Shortcuts journey began way back in 1994. Back then, paper appointment books were the norm, marketing meant little more than running ads in the local paper, the Internet still seemed a little bit sci-fi, and Facebook was more than a decade away. I was working incredibly long hours growing my salon and trying to build a business, when I realised there just wasn’t a solution on the market that could effectively help me run and manage my salon.
So, I joined forces with two forward-thinking software developers to create what has become the Shortcuts you know and love.
We’ve been innovators from the get-go, with Shortcuts being the first salon software to take advantage of touch-screen technology in Australia. It’s crazy to think that today we use touch-screens all day everyday thanks to our smart phones!
A lot has changed since 1994. Software design was all about being efficient and user-friendly for staff to help run the salon smoothly.
But things have changed.
As the world has evolved and technology became a more integrated part of our day to day lives, we were designing software not just for salons, but for their guests as well. That’s the biggest change we’ve seen over the last 25 years; the evolution of the guest interaction with salon technology. This started out with small touch points like email marketing, to appointment confirmations via SMS, and has grown to complete experiences like completing digital forms on a tablet and making appointment bookings online.
This shift towards a guest journey, facilitated by technology, prompted us to change our perspective and create software to suit everyone in the salon ecosystem. We realised technology wasn’t just there to create an enhanced and seamless guest experience, but it could be designed to keep your stylist and client connected throughout the whole appointment.
Think about the guest journey when you have a client sitting in the chair. A break and disconnection in this journey happens when you leave the client to check their client card or book their next appointment at the reception desk computer.
These little moments break the flow of the appointment and interrupt the guest journey. But with mobile technology, everything can be accessible from the chair. You can check their client card, book their next appointment, and even process a card-less checkout transaction without leaving the client. Additionally, this can actually generate higher client spend as the guest is more engaged with the stylist and the overall positive experience.
The biggest change we’re seeing in the industry today, is the shift to a more blended model – the way people are booking appointments or walking-in is changing. And rapidly.
In the 80s and 90s, clients would commonly book their appointments six weeks in advance. That’s just not the case anymore. There’s a growing trend towards booking far closer to the appointment time.
The challenge this poses to salons is it can be tricky to predict the future of your books and know how busy you’ll really be. But the industry is adapting. A chain of salons in the US have grown into this change by only taking appointments 3 days in advance.
While salons are evolving to handle last minute appointments, walk-in businesses, like barbers, are adapting to take both reservations and walk-ins.
Clients in 2021 are time-poor – they don’t have the spare time (or patience) to sit and wait in a queue for a busy barbershop. And since the outbreak of COVID-19, there’s new public health requirements to take client details and avoid large groups of people. A blended model enables barbers to cater to all these new factors, resource their shop effectively, while still staying true to their barber culture.
At Shortcuts, our focus has really centralised around the blended model and creating a more user-friendly experience for salons and guests alike. Technology has been ingrained in our society for a few decades now, which means younger generations – the digital natives – are becoming a bigger part of our audience than ever before.
These generations are so automatic with how they learn and use technology because it’s played such an involved part in how they’ve grown up. Think about Apple and Google products for instance – their material design has become so familiar that modern-day users instinctively know how to use them. Google and Apple interfaces are powerful, sure, but more importantly they’re simple. Screens are less cluttered, navigation is more intuitive, there’s a big reduction in steps needed to complete tasks, and they’re easy to learn with minimal training.
We’ve seen that trend, and we’re harnessing it with full force! But how?
We understand that intuitive Google design is the way of the present and future, so bringing Shortcuts’ look and feel into the modern day so that it’s simple and intuitive to use is so important to us. Think clean screens, easy to find and recognisable icons, and navigation that just makes sense!
In line with the blended model, we’re also going to make it so much easier for you to manage last minute appointments and walk-ins with intuitive design changes, scheduling improvements and improved visibility. We’ll also make managing your client database across multiple locations so much easier. These changes won’t just help you manage your salon more simply and effectively, it’ll also ensure your guests have an amazing, frictionless experience.
And last but definitely not least – the way salons handle payments is also changing. So, we’re introducing a fully integrated payments solution that can manage online and in-salon payments in our all-in-one solution. It’ll help reduce human error and admin while giving you total business visibility. Keep your eyes peeled, because you’ll want to get on board for this one!”
Want to find out more about the new version of Shortcuts? Visit shortcuts.co.uk/shortcuts81
This is a sponsored news story in collaboration with Shortcuts.