How to use AI in salons |

5 mins

How to use AI in salons

It’s the buzzword of the moment but how can you make AI work in a practical way in your beauty business? Kezia Parkins finds out

Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a powerful tool that can revolutionise the way beauty salon and clinic owners operate their businesses. From enhancing customer experiences to optimising operations, AI offers heaps of opportunities for those in the beauty and wellness sector.

“With the continuous collection of data through hyper-personalisation and continuous learning, the possibilities for AI in beauty innovation are exponential” says Vanessa Inniss-Palmer, marketing lead at cosmetic ingredients company Adina.

“Companies can use this powerful tool to ‘listen’ to consumers and understand their needs, allowing them to create better products and services. “This data-driven approach to innovation has been proven successful in multiple industries, and beauty is no exception.”

8 ways AI can be harnessed to benefit beauty salon and clinic owners

1. Generating blog, website and social media content

We are not lazy, we just wanted to prove a point, which is why we used ChatGPT to help us write this article: When it comes to promoting and advertising your services, content is king – but producing it can be quite the chore, especially if writing is not one of your strong suits.

ChatGPT has the ability to remove some of the burden of writing copy by doing a lot of the initial work for you based on a few prompts. The system is no Hemingway, but it can help you structure blog content, and come up with ideas for headlines and social media captions.

Particularly while the tech is in its rudimentary stages, it’s vital you make sure to adjust the AI-written copy to your unique tone of voice and brand style. However, beauty salon consultant and industry veteran Susan Routledge affirms that the app is getting smarter in this way.

“Now, it can really take on your tone from just putting a little bit of text that you’ve written,” she says. “A lot of the salon owners I work with are using it to create content ideas such as ‘30 topics to talk about in November’ as well as ideas for things like headlines for email blasts.”

Routledge has even started to advise salon owners to use ChatGPT to help come up with the outlines for processes, procedures and training manuals.

2. Marketing and customer acquisition

AI can be a game-changer in marketing for beauty salons and clinics. Machine learning algorithms can analyse customer data to identify target demographics and preferences, allowing owners to create highly targeted marketing campaigns. AI can also automate marketing efforts, such as sending personalised email campaigns and recommending relevant products or services to customers.

It can also analyse social media engagement and customer behaviour to fine-tune marketing strategies in real-time. This could help salon owners to allocate resources more effectively and adjust their marketing approach to maximise ROI.

3. Personalised customer experiences

“One of AI’s most compelling capabilities lies in its ability to analyse vast datasets, allowing it to craft treatment plans tailored to the unique needs of each patient,” explains Aleksandar Josipovic, business and marketing consultant and founder of The Dark Ink.

AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can be integrated into websites and social media platforms to engage with customers 24/7, answer common questions, recommend products or services, and even schedule appointments.

“Nearly half of US-based 25-34-year-olds are willing to spend extra on hyper-personalised personal care products, giving brands a chance to encourage trade-up behaviour and establish customer loyalty through tailored recommendations and experiences,” says Inniss-Palmer.

Additionally, AI can help beauty professionals provide customised recommendations based on individual skin types, hair conditions and personal preferences. By analysing customer data and historical records, AI algorithms can suggest the most suitable treatments, products, and styles.

“As hyper-personalisation evolves, brands will use AI for personalised and automatic rewards, intelligent customer service, and targeted marketing campaigne,”

Inniss-Palmer continues.

4. Inventory management and supply chain optimisation

Efficient inventory management is essential for salon and clinic owners to make sure they always have the right products and equipment in stock. AI can streamline this by predicting demand patterns and automating reordering processes.

Through data analysis, AI algorithms can determine when specific products are likely to run out and trigger replenishment orders, reducing the risk of overstocking or understocking.

“[Inventory management] frees up your team’s time and does the work for you, while improving your cash flow at the same time,” says Rikki Tronson, chief revenue officer at ISalon an AI-powered software for salons.

“AI can optimise complex processes, such as supply chain management, resource allocation, and logistics. It can analyse historical data, identify bottlenecks, suggest improvements, and optimise workflows to enhance operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness.”

5. Appointment scheduling and staff allocation

AI-driven appointment scheduling systems can simplify the booking process for customers while optimising staff allocation for salon and clinic owners. These systems can consider various factors such as employee availability, expertise, and appointment duration to efficiently allocate resources and reduce downtime.

Additionally, AI can assist in managing appointment waitlists and cancellations, helping to fill vacant slots quickly. This maximises revenue and can also improve customer satisfaction by reducing wait times.

6. Predictive maintenance for equipment

Salons and clinics rely on a range of equipment, from nail lamps to laser machines. Equipment breakdowns can disrupt operations and result in costly repairs. AI can help prevent such issues through predictive maintenance.

By monitoring the performance of equipment and analysing data such as usage patterns and temperature fluctuations, AI algorithms can predict when a machine is likely to fail. This enables salon owners to schedule maintenance or repairs proactively.

7. Customer feedback analysis

Collecting feedback is essential for understanding strengths and weaknesses, but manually analysing it can be time-consuming. AI-powered sentiment-analysis tools can process customer reviews and social media comments to identify recurring themes and sentiments.

By gaining insights from customer feedback, salon and clinic owners can make data-driven improvements to their services, marketing and customer experience.

“Machine learning can make more sense of how products and routines fit and interact in consumers’ lives as a whole and companies can lean into this data to advance beauty products, services, and technology,” adds Inniss-Palmer.

8. Data security and privacy

As beauty salons and clinics collect and store customer data, ensuring data security and privacy is vital. AI can play a significant role in safeguarding sensitive information. Machine learning algorithms can detect unusual patterns of data access or breaches, providing early warnings to salon owners.

AI can also assist in compliance with data protection regulations such as GDPR by automating data anonymisation and managing customer consent.

AI is set to heavily impact the beauty and wellness industry by enhancing customer experiences, optimising operations, and improving decision-making processes for salon and clinic owners, whether it’s providing personalised recommendations, streamlining inventory management or automating marketing efforts.

While it holds great promise, it’s important for salon owners to approach its implementation thoughtfully. Choosing the right AI solutions, ensuring data security, and providing training for staff are all crucial steps to success. But with the right approach, salons and clinics can harness the power of AI to stay competitive.

This article appears in November 2023

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This article appears in...
November 2023
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