Salon loyalty programs – a complete guide to keeping clients coming back

salon client smiling at the mirror with stylist behind

Maximize customer loyalty with effective salon loyalty programs. Learn key strategies and tools for a winning program.

As a salon owner, keeping your clients happy and returning is essential for your business to thrive. One effective way to achieve this is through a well-designed loyalty program.

But what exactly is a loyalty program, and why should you have one?

In this article, we’ll answer these questions and more and provide practical tips and real-life examples to help you create a loyalty program that works for your salon. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to improve your existing program, read on to learn how to keep your clients loyal and happy!

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What is a loyalty program?

A loyalty program is a marketing strategy that rewards customers for their repeat business. In essence, it incentivizes customers to return to your salon by offering them exclusive discounts, rewards, and perks.

Typically, a loyalty program will involve a points system, where customers earn points for every purchase they make at your salon. These points can be redeemed for discounts, free services, or other rewards.

Loyalty programs are becoming increasingly popular among small business owners, especially in the beauty industry. This is because they offer a way to retain existing clients and build brand loyalty while also incentivizing them to spend more money at your salon.

Overall, a successful loyalty program can be a highly effective way of building long-term relationships with your clients and keeping them coming back for more.

Types of loyalty programs

When it comes to loyalty programs, there are several types that businesses can implement. Each has its own unique benefits, and it’s up to you to determine which one is the best fit for your salon. Here are three of the most popular types:

Points-based rewards program

A points-based rewards program rewards customers for making purchases. Customers earn loyalty points for each dollar they spend at your salon, and those points can be redeemed for free products or services.

This type of program is easy to understand and can be effective in encouraging customers to return to your salon business.

Tiered programs

A tiered program is a loyalty program that rewards customers based on their level of loyalty. Customers earn points or rewards for making purchases, but the rewards they receive are based on their loyalty tier.

For example, repeat customers who have been with your salon for a year might be in a higher tier than those who just started coming to your salon. This type of program can be effective in incentivizing customers to become more loyal over time.

VIP memberships

A VIP membership program is a loyalty program that gives customers exclusive access to special perks or discounts. Customers pay a fee to join the program, and in return, they receive benefits like discounted services, early access to new products or services, and exclusive events.

This type of program is effective for incentivizing customers to become more loyal and can help you build a strong base of repeat clients.

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Why having a salon loyalty program matters

hairdresser working in beauty salon

Having a salon loyalty program is crucial for any salon owner who wants to build a successful business. Here are two reasons why:

Customer retention and new customers

Customer retention is a critical principle in any business, and the salon industry is no exception. The principle of customer retention centers around the idea of keeping your existing customers coming back to your salon rather than having to constantly attract new ones.

It costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one, so it makes sense to invest in strategies that will help you retain your customers. Customer retention also plays a significant role in helping you generate more revenue.

According to research, increasing your customer retention rates by just 5% can increase your profits by up to 95%.

Why reward customers (when it makes sense)

Rewarding your customers is a powerful way to keep them coming back to your salon. When customers feel appreciated and valued, they are more likely to continue doing business with you.

There are several benefits to rewarding your customers, including:

  • Building customer loyalty: When you reward your customers for their loyalty, you build a stronger bond with them and encourage them to continue using your salon services.

  • Encouraging repeat business: Rewards can incentivize customers to come back to your salon for more services or products, helping to increase revenue.

  • Attracting new customers: Satisfied customers who receive rewards are more likely to recommend your salon to their friends and family, bringing in new business.

Overall, a loyalty program is an effective way to show that you value their business and encourage customers to keep coming back to your salon.

Successful salon loyalty programs: case studies

Looking at successful loyalty programs in the beauty industry can give you a better understanding of what works and how you can apply those principles to your own salon.

Two great examples are Ulta Beauty and Drybar:

Ulta Beauty

Ulta Beauty is a beauty retailer that offers a wide range of products and services, including hair, skin, and makeup. Their loyalty program, Ultamate Rewards, is one of the most successful in the beauty industry, with over 30 million members.

The Ultamate Rewards program is a tiered program that rewards members with points for every dollar they spend. Members earn 1 point for every dollar spent, and once they reach 100 points, they receive a $3 reward. Members also receive exclusive offers and discounts, early access to new products, and free birthday gifts.

Ulta Beauty’s loyalty program is successful because it offers a variety of rewards that are valuable to customers, and it’s easy to understand and use. Additionally, the tiered system encourages customers to continue making purchases in order to move up to the next tier and receive even better rewards.

Drybar

Drybar is a salon chain that specializes in blowouts, with over 100 locations across the US. Their loyalty program, Barfly, is designed to reward customers for their loyalty and encourage repeat business.

Barfly is a tiered program that rewards customers with points for each dollar they spend at Drybar. Customers earn 1 point for every dollar spent, and once they reach 100 points, they receive a $10 credit that can be used towards future services.

In addition to earning points, Barfly members also receive exclusive offers and discounts, early access to new products and services, and free birthday blowouts.

Drybar’s loyalty program is successful because it offers rewards that are relevant and valuable to its customers, and the tiered system encourages repeat clients. The program is also easy to use and understand, with clear guidelines on how to earn and redeem rewards.

Designing effective customer loyalty programs

When designing a customer loyalty program for your salon, there are several factors to consider. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Understand your ideal and loyal clients.

vip salon client geting hair washed at salon

It’s essential to understand your ideal and loyal clients to design an effective loyalty program. This involves gathering data about your customers and analyzing it to identify patterns and trends. Here are some tips for understanding your ideal and loyal clients:

  • Collect customer data: Start by collecting basic information about your customers, such as their age, gender, and location. You can do this by asking customers to fill out a form or survey when they visit your salon.

  • Analyze customer behavior: Use data analytics tools to analyze customer behavior, such as how often they visit your salon and what services they typically purchase. This can help you identify patterns and trends that can inform your loyalty program design.

  • Identify your most valuable customers: Use customer lifetime value (CLV) analysis to identify your most valuable customers. These are the customers who spend the most money at your salon over time and who are most likely to become loyal customers.

By understanding your ideal and loyal clients, you can design a loyalty program that meets their needs and encourages them to become repeat customers.

Incentives that build loyal customers

Incentives are a key component of any successful loyalty program. But it’s important to choose incentives that actually build loyalty and encourage repeat business. Here are some examples of effective incentives:

  • Discounts or coupons: Offering a discount or coupon on a customer’s next visit is a great way to encourage repeat business. Make sure the discount is meaningful enough to be attractive but not so steep that it cuts into your profits.

  • Free products or services: Providing free products or services is another effective way to incentivize customers. For example, you might offer a free haircut after a certain number of visits or a free product after spending a certain amount of money.

  • Exclusive access: Giving customers exclusive access to products or services can be a powerful motivator. This might include early access to new products, exclusive promotions, or special events.

When choosing incentives, it’s important to consider your target audience and what will motivate them. You may need to experiment with different incentives to find what works best for your customers.

Three salon reward program online tools to use

There are several online tools that can help you create and manage a successful loyalty program. Here are three popular options:

Smile.io: Smile.io is a loyalty program platform that allows you to create a custom program tailored to your business. It offers features like points-based rewards, referral programs, and customer segmentation.

LoyaltyLion: LoyaltyLion is another loyalty program platform that offers a range of features, including points-based rewards, VIP programs, and referral programs. It also integrates with popular e-commerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce.

Zinrelo: Zinrelo is a loyalty program platform that offers a range of features, including points-based rewards, tiered programs, and social media integrations. It also offers a range of analytics tools to help you track the success of your program. 

Measuring the success of your loyalty program

returning client paying for hair service in a hair salon with card

Once you’ve implemented your salon loyalty program, it’s important to measure its success to determine if it’s effective and worth continuing. Here are three key areas to focus on when measuring the success of your program:

Three key metrics

There are many metrics salon owners can use to measure if the customer loyalty programs work is worth it. Here are a few:

  1. Customer Retention: This is the number of customers who return to your salon after joining your loyalty program. The higher the retention rate, the more successful your program is.

  2. Frequency of Visits: How often are customers visiting your salon? Are they visiting more frequently since joining your loyalty program? Tracking the frequency of visits can help you determine if your program is effective at encouraging repeat business.

  3. Increase in Sales: Are customers spending more money at your salon since joining your loyalty program? Tracking the increase in sales can help you determine if your program is having a positive impact on your bottom line.

Analyzing customer data

To measure the success of your loyalty program, you need to analyze customer data. Collecting data such as customer demographics, purchase history, and feedback can help you better understand your customers and how they interact with your salon.

Analyzing this data can help you make informed decisions about how to improve your loyalty program and tailor it to your customers’ needs.

Understanding the ROI of your program

To determine the return on investment (ROI) of your loyalty program, you need to calculate the costs associated with running the program and compare them to the revenue generated as a result of the program.

This can include the costs of rewards, marketing, software, and staff time. By calculating the ROI, you can determine if your program is profitable and if it’s worth continuing.

Overall, measuring the success of your loyalty program is crucial to ensure its effectiveness and profitability. By tracking key metrics, analyzing customer data, and understanding the ROI of your program, you can make informed decisions and adjust your program to better meet the needs of your customers and your business.

Pitfalls to avoid when implementing a loyalty program

Implementing a loyalty program can be a great way to retain customers and boost revenue, but it’s important to be aware of potential pitfalls that could hinder your program’s effectiveness. Here are three common pitfalls to avoid:

Not measuring the program’s effectiveness.

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when implementing a loyalty program is not measuring its effectiveness. It’s important to establish key metrics to track, such as customer retention rates and repeat purchase frequency, to determine whether the program is actually working.

We pointed out a few ideas of how to track your program’s progress earlier. You need to measure its effectiveness to know whether your program needs to be adjusted or even scrapped altogether.

Forgetting new clients

While loyalty programs are designed to reward existing customers, it’s important to remember new clients. Neglecting new clients can create a feeling of exclusion and cause them to lose interest in your business. Consider offering an introductory loyalty program for new customers or incorporating a welcome bonus into your existing loyalty program.

Relying on word-of-mouth marketing only

While word-of-mouth marketing can be effective for growing your business, it’s not enough to rely on alone when promoting your loyalty program.

Make sure to utilize other marketing channels, such as email and social media, to reach a wider audience and generate more interest in your program. You could also consider partnering with other businesses or influencers to promote your program to their audiences.

Evolve your loyalty rewards programs over time.

It’s important to understand that customer preferences and industry trends can change over time, so it’s crucial to continuously evaluate and evolve your loyalty rewards program to ensure it stays relevant and effective.

This means staying on top of industry trends and customer preferences, as well as regularly measuring the success of your program.

Follow industry trends

Keeping an eye on industry trends and incorporating them into your salon’s loyalty program is key.

For example, if customers are becoming more environmentally conscious, consider offering rewards for customers who bring in their own reusable containers or offering eco-friendly products as rewards.

Staying on top of trends shows that your business is up-to-date and cares about meeting customers’ evolving needs.

A successful salon loyalty program starts with you.

hair salon owner smiling and holding chair in a salon
Portrait of the beautiful young hairdresser in beauty salon

Ultimately, the success of your salon’s loyalty program is up to you. This means taking the time to understand your customers’ needs and preferences, designing a program that fits your salon’s unique offerings, and continually evaluating and evolving your program to ensure it’s meeting your business goals.

By prioritizing your loyalty program and investing time and effort into it, you can build a strong base of loyal customers who will continue to choose your salon over competitors.

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