In this article, we define and compare salon and barbershop apps to help you decide which one aligns with your business goals.
Are you a salon or barbershop owner looking for software to help streamline your day-to-day tasks but not sure which one would best align with your business operations? Why not use a tool that automates appointment scheduling, client database management, inventory, and employee tracking? While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to software buying, it is crucial to understand the difference between salon and barbershop software before you make a purchase.
Both salon apps and barbershop apps focus on automating appointment scheduling, customer information management, billing, and other services. However, these two have different use cases. Salons and spas provide an elaborate range of beauty services, as well as hair care to both male and female customers. Barbershops, however, offer limited services designed mainly for male customers.
Salon apps help salon owners and independent styling professionals manage day-to-day business operations such as employee schedule tracking, online appointments, and maintaining client profiles. On the other hand, barbershop apps automate appointment scheduling, POS, billing, and marketing for salons that target male customers.
Below, we’ll talk about the similarities and differences between the two software categories to help you understand which one is better suited for your needs.
A salon management solution helps salon professionals automate their daily business operations, such as appointment scheduling, client database management, calendar management, payment processing, and inventory management. This software often offers easy integration with cash registers, barcode readers, and other point of sale (POS) hardware.
Salon systems enable companies to offer online appointment scheduling and help lower no-show rates by informing clients automatically of upcoming appointments. This software also works on attracting and retaining clients by automating marketing campaigns, communicating with clients, and introducing promotional and loyalty programs.
Salon software tools are specifically designed to align with the functions and requirements of a salon or spa. The primary features of salon software include:
- Appointment scheduling: Automate reservations and bookings for salons and spas. It also helps businesses manage the appointment booking and scheduling process, as well as calendar management, online payment acceptance, and automatic reminders.
- Client database management: Track and maintain centralized records of customer information, including customer contact details, important dates, service history, membership information, loyalty points, and gift voucher usage details. This software also allows users to send customer surveys to collect feedback and gather details on specific service preferences.
- Online booking: Enable customers to schedule, reschedule, or cancel appointments online. With this feature, you can avoid instances of double salon service booking.
- Employee management: Track key employee metrics, such as customer satisfaction and retention, employee availability, and employee schedules.
- Multi-location salon management: Monitor inventory levels, employee availability, and services, and track customers for one or more salon and spa centers.
- Payroll management: Automate the process of managing employee salaries, wages, bonuses, and deductions. It also tracks time off, vacation accrual, and benefits. Payroll software is typically available as a standalone application or as part of a larger software suite such as HR or accounting software.
- Recurring appointments: Manage recurring appointments for potential clients. The software also lets you select how often the booking repeats and the end date. It also lets users send appointment reminders via email and sms, follow up on missed appointments, and create custom calendars.
- Marketing campaigns: Run SMS or email-based marketing campaigns to help bring customers back to the hair salon. These campaigns can include promotional packages, membership programs, loyalty cards, or gift coupons.
- Inventory management: Collect information on inventory levels to help salons and spas streamline inventory creation and order fulfillment operations. Inventory management software helps salons and spas optimize their inventories and improve supply chain efficiency. Advanced inventory management systems provide real-time inventory control and auditing functionalities.
- Point of Sale (POS): Generate bills and process payments through multiple methods, including cash, debit, and credit cards or electronic wallets. The feature also allows customers to redeem gift coupons or services using a POS solution.
These five products, listed in alphabetical order, are taken from Capterra’s Shortlist report 2022 for salon software. (See the end of this piece for the full methodology for how these products were chosen.)
Barbershop apps automate appointment scheduling, POS, billing, and marketing that target male customers. These tools aim to improve the customer experience, and retention rates, and enhance business operations. Most barbershop software helps schedule appointments, manage customer databases, and streamline staff payouts.
Barbershop software tools are specifically used in barbershops. They are designed to align with the functions and requirements of a barbershop. The primary features of barbershop software include:
- Appointment scheduling: Automate reservations and bookings for barbershops, and let customers schedule, reschedule, or cancel bookings online. The software also helps businesses manage the scheduling software process and online payment acceptance.
- Client management: Manage interactions with current customers, collect and record customer information such as contact details, important dates, and service history. The software also lets users send customer survey forms to collect feedback on services.
- Confirmations/reminders: Send automated confirmations, notifications about upcoming appointments, and alerts on missed appointments.
- Calendar management: Create appointments on their calendars and share them with employees. This feature may also include synchronization with third-party calendar management applications used by the participants (e.g., Google Calendar).
- Point of Sale (POS): Accept and process payments as well as sync, track, and manage other aspects of the business such as employee staffing, inventory management, sales, and purchase management.
- Loyalty programs: Gather and aggregate customer behavior to create and launch in-store loyalty programs that increase customer retention.
These five products, listed in alphabetical order, are taken from Capterra’s Shortlist report 2022 for barbershop software. (See the end of this piece for the full methodology for how these products were chosen.)
Salon and barbershop software have very similar functionalities and features. Both the tools:
- Streamline and automate business operations and strategies—ranging from administrative to inventory management tasks.
- Include appointment scheduling, staff calendar management, billing, selling any additional products via POS, inventory management, client feedback collection, and loyalty programs as key features.
We have a simple answer to this question—if you own a salon or a spa, you should go for salon software. But, if you own a barbershop, you should invest in barbershop software.
To make a better choice, you need to analyze your business requirements. Salon software is more scalable than barbershop software. It covers more features such as multi-location store tracking. Even if you are a barbershop owner, you can invest in salon software if you have more than one store and inventories to manage, multiple employees and workflows to track, and a huge customer base.
If you want to narrow down your search to only the most popular and highest-rated solutions, visit Capterra’s Shortlist reports for the top salon software and barbershop software tools—our reports are based on an analysis of thousands of user reviews.
The software you choose has to align with your operations’ needs. Here are some considerations to keep in mind while evaluating potential solutions:
- Identify your business challenges: Are you looking for a software solution tool to streamline your appointment scheduling? Do you want a solution to problems including inventory inaccuracy and poor employee workflow tracking? Once you have identified the challenges you want to address, the next step is to look for a suitable solution.
- Analyze software usability for less tech-savvy users: The software you choose should be easy to use for your employees. It is prudent to select a tool that your employees can learn without much training.
- Check marketing and promotional services: Before making a purchase, check the marketing and promotional services provided by the software. The right tool should empower you with email marketing, gift cards, loyalty programs, SMS campaigns, and other marketing tools—helping you increase your customer base and improve brand loyalty. Some software integrates with social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to build a brand’s virtual presence.
- Consider the total software cost: Different tools have varied pricing models that make direct comparison a bit tough. Some vendors may apply extra charges for integration, customer support, and customization options. Before you select a tool, calculate the total cost of ownership based on your business needs.
- Assess software scalability: The tool you choose should be able to handle an increasing number of customers as your startup grows.
Here are some questions to ask software vendors before making a final purchase:
Which technical support options are available?
Examine the tool’s technical assistance options. Check the technical support guidelines for your staff and customers. Also, consider the types of channels (such as real-time chat, voice call, and video call, among others) of technical support available.
Can the solution integrate with payment processing software?
Integration with payment systems will make it easier for your clients to make payments. Therefore, ask the vendor about the payment gateways that their solution can support. Ensure that the payment processing tool that suits you best integrates with the solution you’re considering.
Does the tool offer customization options as per branding needs?
Ask your vendor if the solution offers customization of the logo, colors, fonts, and other elements as per branding needs. If yes, then to what extent you can modify it to suit your branding requirements.
To be included in the top-rated list, the products must:
- Be listed under Capterra’s 2022 Shortlist reports for salon and barbershop software. Learn more about the Capterra Shortlist methodology here.
- Meet our software market definition for salon and barbershop software:
- Salon: “Salon software helps salon owners and independent styling professionals manage day-to-day business operations.”
- Barbershop: “Barbershop software automates appointment scheduling, POS, billing, and marketing for salons that target male customers.”
Note: Reviews and ratings data in the product cards is as of July 21, 2022. New reviews may have been added since the publication of this article, so the reviews data in this piece may not reflect current conditions.
The products in the category comparison images are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations by Capterra. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.