It’s no surprise that daily deal sites are both good and bad news for some retail models. For salons and spas in particular, daily deals can mean winning customers for one-time visits without any uptick in brand loyal customers.
Salons often give up around 75% of their service price for daily deal sites and are overwhelmed by large numbers of clients, only 20% of whom return. Customers, in turn, only get access to salons that offer deals as opposed to the salons that are best for them. They are shown stock photos of the salon and its work, but not photos of the work done by the professional whom they will see. These kinds of customers, who look for deals on massages, haircuts, manicures and the like, don’t necessarily feel compelled to return to the salon or spa because either a) the service wasn’t what they expected, b) the normal rate is too high or c) they’ll have an opportunity soon enough to find another venue that will offer a similar, if not better deal.
StyleSeat is trying to change that.
Its goal is to create offers for new clients in a marketplace that helps them find the best salon or spa for them for the long-term. StyleSeat, which has over 50,000 salons and spas on its web platform, was launched in May of 2011. It is attempting to answer the problem that beauty businesses get themselves into with daily deal sites, by launching new client offers, which allow small businesses to create sustainable discounts or extra services for new clients that keep them motivated to rebook and return. Small businesses can use StyleSeat’s free business platform to help turn those clients into regulars by accessing tools that help builds relationships such as tools to book as many or as few appointments as they like at a discounted rate. The salon or spa is not required to create massive price cuts, but rather can offer free additional services that provide value without sacrificing the brand’s image or profit margin. StyleSeat also offers customized analytics to customers using its services in order to help track revenue and ROI.
Customers, on the other hand, are given the opportunity to search for professionals based on what they want (specialty, location, price), to view photos of the professional’s actual work, read recommendations and see Facebook likes and also have the option to book appointments directly through the web platform.
The goal is to combat the downsides that other daily deal sites can get muddled in (no loyalty, no margins, etc.) while still providing the customer with the feeling that s/he “got a great deal.”