Case Study: Reliability in New Scheduling Platform Helps Chicago Salon Maintain Buzz

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Hair salon

Merchant: Salon Snob
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Square, Square Appointments, Twitter, Yelp
Bottom Line: Reliability and performance are very important to small business owners when deciding which scheduling platforms to use.

Online scheduling platforms are supposed to save merchants time by automating client bookings, cancellations, reminders, and even payment collection. But when merchants stop trusting their own scheduling platforms, and start verifying individual bookings for accuracy, the benefits of online-only systems go out the window.

“I was constantly making sure every appointment was correct and confirming with my clients personally,” says Jordyn Olawumi, owner of Salon Snob, a private boutique salon in Chicago, I.L. Olawumi had been using BookFresh for online scheduling. After Square acquired BookFresh in February 2014, Olawumi transitioned to the newly rechristened Square Appointments. In her experience, the platform’s stability improved under Square’s ownership, and the fact that Salon Snob was already using Square for payment processing renewed Olawumi’s confidence in the booking system.

“To be honest, I was already successful using the Square payment system…it showed I could trust Square with my business’ finances, which is huge for me,” she says. “It’s also a great benefit that the two systems are combined.”

Maintaining Buzz

Accepting bookings through her website is only one of the ways that Olawumi stays relevant in a crowded market. She’s also used Yelp and Groupon as advertising platforms, and she promotes limited-time offers through a “Perks” section on her website where customers can purchase “Blow Out Punch Cards” and find holiday specials.

“I’ve used all the great marketing sites out there that most businesses and consumers are drawn to. I would say Yelp and Groupon are the two that have helped create the most buzz for my business,” she says.

Although email marketing hasn’t played a large role in Salon Snob’s success, Olawumi believes her list of email subscribers —which she’s collected through a form on her website — will come in handy with the launch of her new lip line, Lip Snob. She plans on sending frequent news and updates to clients via email as a way to generate interest in the new line.

Meanwhile, Olawumi says online review sites like Yelp have been incredibly important for driving customer acquisition, particularly in an age when so much word of mouth marketing happens online.

“Most of my business has been word of mouth and referrals. When clients love it, they write about their experience,” she says. “That’s its own form of advertisement and marketing.”

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.