Cashless transactions – how this trend affects UK hair and beauty salons

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It’s a switch you’ve been contemplating for some time now – you’ve put in hours of planning, countless mental simulations and have googled this more than once. Your team doesn’t seem super eager for this change but your clients are a-okay with it. Now is the time of reckoning – do the benefits of going cashless in your salon outweigh the disadvantages? Or will you be left regretting this switch for years to come? Going cashless – here’s everything you need to know about making this transition!

The numbers say it all

In 2019, UKfinance.org reported that “Card payments accounted for half (51 per cent) of all payments in the UK in 2019” and that “(…)cash was still the second most frequently used method”. With that being said, the percentage of cash payments has more than likely dropped in 2020 due to the social situation caused by COVID-19. That’s right, even the coronavirus can sway your clients’ payment preferences! Although it currently has a significant impact on how clients pay for their treatments and products at their favourite salon, cash is still going strong as the second most preferred option.

The benefits of cashless transactions

Going cashless in your salon might be the best decision you’ve made when it comes to reducing direct contact with clients. With COVID-19 fears at an all-time high, you want to reduce face-to-face contact with customers as much as possible. Although visors and facial coverings help minimise the risk of spreading the virus, they won’t do you any good if it’s on cash. Since the virus can live on most surfaces for more than 24 hours and cash cannot be disinfected, all it takes is for a staff member to accept a cash payment and unconsciously wipe their brow or touch their face. With contactless payments, clients simply swipe their card or pull out their phone, and presto!

Aside from safer transactions, taking online payments or prepayments also reduces no-shows in the salon. By having to pay the full or partial cost of a treatment prior to arriving at the salon, customers will almost definitely be there for their appointment in order not to have their payment go to waste. If you use Versum’s prepayment option, setting up a partial or an entire fee for the booked treatment is a cinch. This also leads to one of the greatest benefits of going cashless, which is convenience – for both you and your clients. If the payment was made via phone app or credit card, tracking the sale is often quick and easy, especially if you have a salon manager that takes care of it all.

The disadvantages

Now, we’d be biased if we only discussed the benefits of going cashless. There are downsides to going this route – one of them being tip management. By going cashless, your clients might be discouraged from leaving a tip, as they may feel that adding one to their bill (this will affect how tips are going to be dealt with by the tax and National Insurance agency) might overcomplicate things. Additionally, some clients might prefer to pay with cash, for one reason or another. If you choose to abandon this payment method, these clients might decide to go elsewhere.

Here’s another situation you don’t want to be caught up in – the power goes out in your salon, or you’re experiencing internet problems and you have a number of clients waiting to pay for their treatments – yikes. If you’ve taken prepayments then no sweat, but if you are solely reliant on your poor little card reader, well then, we have some bad news.

Getting the word out

With COVID-19 cases popping up all over the UK, there’s a significant increase in demand for cashless payments in beauty salons, hairdressing studios and spas. If you feel that enforcing a cashless payment policy is the right move for preventing a COVID-19 outbreak, then inform your clients about it by sending them a bulk SMS/email notification, posting this on your social media fan pages or by printing out posters with this information. However, if you’re uncertain about going 100% cashless, get in touch with your loyal clients and ask for their opinions on this

A helping hand

Whether you choose to take electronic cashless payments, stick to legal tender or both, Versum salon and spa software is there to help you manage all of your customers’ payments. The system records the payment methods for each transaction the client makes at your salon, including tips as well. It also lets you enforce a mandatory prepayment option (either partial or full price), in order to reduce the possibility of no-shows. At the end of the day, you can easily check the number of sales and how much profit you’ve made by generating a sales report in the system. More and more hairdressing salons, beauty businesses and spas see cashless transactions as the future of the industry – and a reliable system that stores payment information and generates sales reports in real-time makes transaction management a piece of cake.

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