Though it was a slow start, the majority of businesses in Australia have begun to embrace the digital world and all it has to offer to businesses of all sizes. That move towards embracing digital has been fuelled by just how rapidly Australian consumers came to expect that they would be able to interact with a business via a range of digital channels.
Consumers often use Twitter or Facebook to communicate with businesses, rather than by using the dedicated help/support channels provided. So it can be very crippling to a business that does not provide these channels or use them effectively.
Up until recently though, one segment in Australia really was joining the rest of Australia, at least not in any large numbers.
Beauty is big business in Australia, the beauty service industry alone is worth over $5 billion dollars a year. So it would come as a surprise to most that many salons still tend to be independent operators relying on a paper appointment book and the phone to receive appointments. There are huge disadvantages to this for the salons themselves as such static business practices remove the opportunity to dynamically respond to current situations.
An example of this is the ability to see how much down time the salon has in a day/week and attempt to fill that time up with special offers to existing customers. Downtime is lost time, and those lost profits can have serious ramifications for small businesses. Decrease down time and your business immediately becomes more robust.
Across the world, solutions are appearing which hope to bring these independent operators into the 21st century, to the benefit of all. In Australia, Bookwell is expanding their operations daily and their network of venues has become quite substantial.
In the UK Treatwell (formerly known as Wahanda) is the big fish in the pond with thousands of salons to select from on their platform.
There are many more popping up in the USA and across Europe.
It is no wonder these platforms are proving popular with formerly tech phobic salon owners, as the partnerships truly do represent a win-win situation for all involved. Business owners get reliable access to new clients and more convenient time management, customers get the convenience of online booking, and the platforms themselves increase in success as the venues do.