Barbershops Going Digital? Meet These Barbershops That Are Serving the Digital Needs of Customers
The digital tornado of the twentieth century affected almost every industry – except for barbershops that managed to remain largely unscathed.
Customers still walked in, got themselves registered at the reception where pen and paper ruled, and then killed their time with magazines and TV shows in the waiting area.
With every aspect of their lives digitally influenced, those customers and their needs had already changed. But very few barbershops were delivering what the customer demanded. Many took pride in holding onto their traditional roots.
A digital transformation was clearly overdue.
But then comes January 2020 – the first COVID lockdown in the world.
As salons and barbershops shuttered down in the wake of the pandemic and people tried getting comfortable with their hair growing out, barbers raced to catch up with tech.
Different barber shop ideas and tech innovations started disrupting the industry. Those that had already taken the right moves pre-COVID found themselves ahead of others and successfully seized a massive opportunity. And yet others quickly partnered up with technology providers to accelerate their digital transformation and innovate successfully in time.
Here are a few of those barbershops that haven’t shied away from infusing their traditional roots with technology and as a result, have taken their business from being good to great.
The Region’s Barbershop – Digital Evolution At Its Best
With new state regulations and COVID SOPs, barbershops and salons had to eliminate their waiting areas. Going contactless was impossible but minimizing contact and maintaining distance was mission-critical.
Having merely a website listing their services would’ve been sufficient a few years ago. But not anymore. The Region’s Barbershop knew they had to seriously up their online game.
They had big, disruptive ideas and our team at Codup helped turn them real.
Online Check-ins and Appointment Bookings
To eliminate the waiting area, they launched an online appointment booking system. This feature enabled their customers to book an appointment online so they could show up just on time and avoid waiting.
For customers who still walked in, they came up with the idea of a self-check-in kiosk. It was a touch screen installed at the front of the shop where customers could book an appointment without dealing with a receptionist.
Live Queue Board
They also took their customer experience a step further and got a Live Queue Board developed, which they displayed on a big screen in their shop.
The live Queue or Appointment Board displayed the barbers working that day as well as their booked and available time-slots. The Live Queue Board also added customers to the queue in real-time as they checked in – whether from the self-check-in kiosk or online.
This facilitated walk-in customers as they could clearly see which barbers were available and could self-check-in without any assistance.
Live Calendar View for Barbers
To make this digital transformation easy on the barbers, The Region’s also invested in a live-updating calendar screen where their barbers could view, edit, and add appointments on the backend.
TRIM-IT – One of the Most Disruptive Barber Shop Ideas
We can’t talk about innovative barber shop ideas without mentioning TRIM-IT, the disruptive mobile barbershop that recently raised more than a million dollars in investment to franchise its operations to meet demand.
TRIM-IT is like Uber for people who need haircuts. Except for a ride, you get a TRIM-IT branded van pulling up in your driveway when you book a haircut on their app.
What’s most impressive about TRIM-IT is that the founder Darren Tenkorang didn’t really envision the pandemic and the lockdowns when he came up with the disruptive idea.
And yet, even in the pre-COVID world when things were quite normal, his idea took off really well.
TRIM-IT was providing 65 haircuts a day in those days. And when the pandemic hit, that number grew 300 percent with a waiting list of 7000 at one point!
Based in the UK right now, TRIM-IT is now planning to franchise out to meet demand and expand in other locations.
Sport Clips – A Legend Built to Last
Sport Clips is a legend when it comes to men’s hair care. A brainchild of Gordon Logan, the first Sport Clips location opened its doors to boys and men in 1993 with a new concept – scissors and clippers combined with the aura of sports.
Logan had hired a market research firm to analyze what customers wanted at that time and he had delivered exactly that. Business exploded and within 7 years, they opened 100 locations across the country.
Though Gordon built a great barbershop business in the 90s, his son Edward is now on board to make sure the company is built to last – using technology as his main arsenal.
To reduce wait times for busy customers, Sport Clips launched an online check-in system on their website where customers could book an appointment in advance.
They have also developed a mobile app to reduce friction from the customer’s experience, improve customer retention and loyalty. The mobile or web app lets the customer choose a location and a stylist, view current waiting times at that location, and check in.
But that’s not all. Sport Clips is also using online surveys and technology to understand their customers’ behavior and collect data, which informs their marketing strategies and service development.
They found out, for example, that customers who opted for extra services like a hot towel and massage are more likely to give a positive review. And so, they press those customers a bit more intensely to share reviews.