How do you choose and buy EPOS for hairdressers? Here’s our advice.
First, this article is designed to give you a rough idea of the kinds of things you should be looking for, and introduce you to some brands on the market, plus the set-ups we would recommend.
Second, call us and ask about any specific requirements. We partner with all the EPOS cloud software brands on the market, so we can give you objective advice and refer you to the suitable contacts. And finally, book one or two demos of the software, and get it installed!
Some EPOS features for hairdressers include:
- Basic EPOS (selling things at the checkout)
- Back office EPOS, including staff management
- Service Booking
- Marketing & E-Commerce
One vital distinction to bare in mind is between cloud-based systems, and “fixed till” systems. Cloud-based systems store your business data on a computer server owned by a large technology company, rather than an on-site server for which you buy and are legally liable.
This is a good thing – it means you constantly get updates and have the “latest and greatest” version of the software, and more practically, it means your tills are synchronised. If you need to alter your prices, create new products or services or discounts, you don’t need to be on site – you can send all the updates to every till from your laptop at home. We don’t really think of cloud as a feature – but if a software doesn’t have cloud-based components, it can get really irritating really fast. Like, updating a server from multiple tills at the end of a day for half and hour irritating.
While we’re a marketplace, and we’re neutral about which of the softwares you choose, we do believe this one thing – we only sell cloud-based or hybrid technologies here.
EPOS Features for hairdressers
Booking & POS
A POS system is designed to accept cards for products and services and help people manage a store.
“Service booking” is one of those things we’d think of as “POS-adjacent”. It doesn’t usually fall under the scope of a POS, but you might want to think about how your POS relates to your service booking elements.
Here, you could use a service booking module available in some more comprehensive POS systems, such as MIND BODY, or you could look for a POS which integrates with service-booking software, such as Timely, which integrates with Vend. In this context, integration would mean that everything booked through one appears on the other – no double entries or contradicting information.
If you’re a smaller outfit, it’s easy to go basic too – and sell service slots as “products” in a normal POS software and manually add something to an employee’s calendar. If you have an ecommerce dimension, you may find that the majority of your bookings come via online and a POS/booking software integration isn’t your top priority.
Other service-booking software, such as Shedul, will not integrate with a point-of-sale. The downside with using a separate scheduling service is that it can make it complicated to see who’s canceling, no-showing, which might be a pain to have to sort through manually.
What should I look for in a booking system?
This will depend on your business size!
On the front-end, look for something clean and intuitive which is easy to use – both for your staff members, and, if the booking is generally taking place online, for users. On the back-end, ensure that the “calendar” part which relates to your staff’s time cleanly – so that they look for
Front of house EPOS features for hairdressers
Your EPOS can work with loyalty programme software, or, much POS software boasts discrete loyalty features of its own.
Most loyalty features revolve around “points” systems – this can either require a card, or could relate to an internal database of customers. In those systems, staff can enter the customer’s ID number or scan a loyalty card so points from a purchase are instantly added to the customers’ account. =
The way in which services are released in exchange for those points is also different in different systems. All POS software has discounting options – but how those discounts can specifically be expressed varies from software to software. “Store Credit” isn’t permitted in every system, for example. You may want points which can be used against some items but not others, or which are time-bound and will expire. If you have a specific idea of how you want loyalty to work, you may need a specific software brand – so give us a call.
Cash & Tip Management
At the end of the day, the cash is counted and reconciled against the EPOS sales reports. This process highlights any discrepancies and attributes them to individual drawers and registers. The cash reports available could be vital if you need to confront an employee about cash mismanagement. Some software permits you to carefully manage cash by the till and set things like float levels – others don’t.
Tip management can also be useful in this kind of environment. It can be easier for customers to tip by card, and helpful if the customer and the employee know that the software has recorded the tip and is connected to the payroll.
Some customers might want their receipts emailed to them (in which case you don’t need to invest in a receipt printer). Customised receipts are a big marketing strategy too. For instance, iZettle will let you send out email receipts, which you could personalise to show your opening hours and website address, and include deals to keep bringing customers back. And once you have the customer’s email address, you can provide them the option to stay in touch with you, and receive offers and updates from their hairdressers.
Back-office EPOS functions for hairdressers
This is another universally important EPOS feature for any size business. A centralised dashboard, where you can view all of your business data on one screen, can give you actionable insight to work from.
Think of reporting features as having two dimensions – specificity, and flexibility.
Specificity will allow you to measure your performance by anything you can think of. Better systems have custom tags which you can set yourself, in addition to a series of preset dimensions to compare against sales or profit. For example:
- Attachment rates. Are clients opting to buy hair toners and conditioners from you after they’ve had their hair dyed?
- Time of day/ week
- Store by store
A flexible reporting dashboard will allow you to look at such data more or less how you like – by day, week, month. Or, comparing product lines, and excluding some products by specific factors.
Like spas or personal trainers, hairdressers interact with their customers in a much more personal and tailored way than a corner shop or electronics shop might. For this, your CRM cannot be overlooked.
‘Customer relationship management’ [CRM] software is designed to manage relationships with your customers — both existing and potential clients. It’s a big database of all your customer details and your previous email exchanges and correspondence.
Some EPOS systems already include basic CRM features, so that when you log a sale, you can add the customer’s contact information such as their email, date of birth and phone number. That being said, most EPOS systems won’t have the capacity to do more complex things with your client database.
The best EPOS systems will generally be able to integrate with ecommerce platforms – which have more broader and further-reaching capabilities in the world of marketing – to build up a stitched-together picture of a company. You could determine whether the same card has been used online and in-store, and add a person to your email list, for example.
In order to process payments, you need a payment processor. We’d recommend thinking about payments in three decision points.
First, do you want to integrate with your POS software? “Integrated” payments means that when you press a button on the till, the correct price cues on the cash reader. The alternative would be typing the value of every purchase directly into the card reader in addition to entering it via your POS software. If you do want integrated payments, we’d recommend choosing the POS software first.
The second question is, would you prefer a payment facilitator (“payfac”) or a traditional processor (sometimes called an acquirer or merchant account.) You can understand how they’re different in terms of your rates by watching this video:
As far as price is concerned, if you’re processing more than £4K per month, and the price of your haircut is greater than around £10, it’s likely to work out cheaper to use a traditional processor or acquirer. However, payment facilitators are much more convenient, so you may want to choose a payment facilitator in spite of this.
We have a team of experts specialised in working out the cheapest payment processing available in every scenario, including this one. If you’re planning to take cards in your hairdressers, have a 5-minute chat with us about the different choices for you available.
In addition to the pricing differences, payfacs provide free EPOS software. You can choose to either use free EPOS provided by the payfac, or to use superior EPOS software which you’d buy separately. The payfacs all boast a series of out-the-box integrations with some EPOS providers, so you can usually have an integrated payfac with your first choice of software.
EPOS for Hairdressers: example set-ups
Square reader + Square Appointments
Square is a payment facilitator, and is one of the most popular PAYG processing services on the market. Square appointments is an integrated POS system and booking service, so it’s an all-in-one EPOS system for hairdressers. The rate charged by Square for the software is based on the number of employees within your business.
Square Appointments is free for one-person businesses—for example, an independent hairdresser. For businesses with employees, it’s still reasonably affordable, especially considering the fact that it offers a built-in POS system, basic online booking capabilities, customer notifications, and website integrations. Salons with two to five employees pay $50/month plus 2.5 percent and $0.10/transaction. Salons with six to ten employees pay $90/month plus 2.5 percent and $0.10/transaction, and those with more than ten get custom pricing.
Talech vs Lightspeed Retail
For bigger stores, Talech and Lightspeed Retail are two brands to consider.
Talech, for example, is an American EPOS system which will let you take appointments via a free customer facing website; create timed-services & staff profiles; manage employees and has a built-in CRM platform.
Lightspeed Retail is traditionally targeted at the higher-end of retail stores/chains, but they’re versatile enough to work for hairdressers, because they offer an integration with booxi, for appointment scheduling (you pay for this in addition to your monthly subscription to Lightspeed Retail).
They also have a customisable range of EPOS features and work with many payment processors. However, one thing we always mention in conversations about Clover is the fact that Clover requires proprietary hardware — specific screen setup, in-built cash drawer and receipt printer for the EPOS. So a downside would be, if you wanted to change your software, you wouldn’t be able to carry on using the Clover hardware.
This is suitable for hairdressers who want to sell online and need an eCommerce website for their business in addition to a modern POS. Shopify POS works on iOS and Android and integrates with a variety of appointment scheduling and booking apps that let you manage appointments from your POS and online.
On top of the standard $79/month Shopify plan that covers your main POS needs and a hosted website, you will need to pay extra for is whichever appointment booking software you integrate with Shopify—and there are many to choose from, including some affordable options.
BookThatApp, onHand, Appointment Booking, Acerill are some options. Shopify Payments (powered by Stripe) is the most convenient option for payment processing, and charge 2.5% per transaction, but you can use Shopify with an outside merchant account. Note however that you will have to pay an additional 0.5% to 2% per transaction on top of your processor’s fees.
Are you ready to choose?
We act as a marketplace for lots of different software and payment solutions. So, we partner with everybody listed here – but also, with their competitors, and we can give you an honest assessment of what we think is the best solution for you.
Give us a call, and we can give you our best advice. The only way StoreKit ever affects a price is to discount it.