The rise of artificial intelligence has already reshaped and transformed many industries, from healthcare to finance. As a salon professional, you may be wondering how you, too, can utilise AI tools to grow your salon business, whether you are a freelancer or a salon owner.
Welcome to the ultimate guide on everything you need to know about AI, including some of the AI tools that are available and how to leverage the power of artificial intelligence to become more efficient in your hair, beauty or barbering business.
What is AI?
AI, or Artificial Intelligence, is a computer science that focuses on using algorithms and data to perform tasks that usually require human intelligence. These tasks may include understanding natural language, recognising patterns, solving complex problems, learning from experience, and making decisions.
You may already be using AI in your everyday life, for example, through voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and facial recognition for unlocking your phone.
How Can Salon Owners Use AI to Elevate Their Salon Business?
In an industry that relies on tactile human interaction and delivering in-person services, you may wonder how AI could positively benefit your salon business. Well, salon professionals can leverage AI in several ways to enhance their salon business, improve customer experiences, and streamline operations. Consider AI as a form of support as it can handle some of the more routine tasks, enabling you to concentrate on delivering the best possible service for your clients.
Here are some ways AI can be (and already is being) used in the salon industry 🤖
When you work with multiple clients every day, it can be challenging to remember and keep track of every small detail. AI can help by analysing client data, such as hair or skin type, services received, and product preferences, enabling you to offer a more personalised service to your clients. This intelligence can help you or your salon staff suggest treatments, products, and styles that align with individual customer preferences, enhancing their overall experience.
Appointment Scheduling 🗓️
AI-driven appointment scheduling systems can optimise salon bookings, minimising gaps and maximising efficiency. Smart scheduling software can also send automated reminders to clients, reducing no-shows. This can be seen in many of the salon software tools that are available, and if this sounds interesting to you, take a look at our guide on the best salon booking apps to use in 2023.
Chatbots and Virtual Assistants 🤖
AI-powered chatbots on your salon website or other social media platforms can answer common customer queries, such as pricing, hours of operation, and service availability. On Facebook, for example, if you have a Facebook page set up for your salon business or service, you can save time by using their AI to add frequently asked questions, such as your opening hours and location, to a pre-populated messenger window. This means that when a potential new client sends you a message, that helpful information pre-populates automatically in the chatbox.
AI-Powered Styling Tools 🎨
Some salon businesses are using AI-powered styling tools to analyse a customer’s face shape, skin tone, and hair type to suggest suitable hairstyles and colours. These tools can give customers a visual preview of their desired look before committing to a change. Some clippers and hair trimmers also now incorporate AI for precision cutting and styling, making it easier for professionals to achieve specific looks.
Inventory Management 📊
Artificial Intelligence can help manage your salon inventory by tracking product usage and suggesting reorders when stock on particular products runs low. This ensures the salon is well-stocked with popular products and minimises the risk of overstocking and wastage.
Digital Marketing and Customer Engagement 💻
AI tools can analyse customer data to create targeted marketing campaigns. It can also automate email and SMS marketing to keep customers informed about promotions, discounts, and special events. You may also wish to use AI tools such as ChatGPT to write social media captions or suggest headline ideas for promotional campaigns. What’s more, you can use AI to create marketing calendars of particular events that may influence hair and beauty trends, such as fashion week and new product launches.
Customer Feedback Analysis 🗣️
AI-powered analysis tools can analyse customer feedback, reviews, and social media mentions to gauge customer satisfaction and identify areas for improvement.
Staff Training 💇🏼
AI can be used to create virtual training modules and simulations for staff development, ensuring that all team members are up-to-date with the latest techniques and trends or health and safety best practices.
Cost Reduction 💰
Did you know that AI can optimise heating, cooling, and lighting systems to reduce energy costs while maintaining a comfortable salon environment? AI can also help minimise product waste by optimising the amount of product that needs to be used in each service, reducing unnecessary expenses and waste.
Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the ways AI can help your salon business, let’s look at a popular AI tool called ChatGPT. 👇🏼
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT by OpenAI was launched in late 2022, and it is designed to generate human-like text and engage in natural-sounding conversations with users. ChatGPT is free to use for anyone with an account on OpenAI’s website using your email address. There are paid versions of ChatGPT available; for example, ChatGPT Plus, which, at the time of writing, is around £16 a month. The paid version offers availability when demand is high, faster response speeds and a more recent knowledge base.
How to use ChatGPT
If you feel intrigued by ChatGPT and would like to give it a try, you first need to register your account and decide whether you are using the free or paid version.
Once you have signed up and are logged in to the interface, you’ll typically see a text box where you can input your prompt or question. The prompt is the text you want to use to start a conversation or get a response from ChatGPT.
For example, you could ask questions such as, ‘What are the trending hair colours for Autumn?’ or ‘What are the most popular gel nail brands in the UK?‘
After entering your prompt, you can submit your request. ChatGPT will then generate a response based on the input you provided. If the response doesn’t fully address your question or if you’d like a different answer, you can refine your prompt and submit it again. Experiment with different phrasings or approaches to get the desired response.
You can continue the conversation by simply appending your next question or statement to the previous response. ChatGPT should be able to maintain context and respond accordingly. When you’re done with the conversation, you can exit the platform or session.
Is ChatGPT the only AI tool out there?
No, ChatGPT is not the only AI tool available. There are numerous AI tools and models developed for various purposes and applications. AI is a broad field with a wide range of technologies and tools, each designed to address specific tasks and challenges. Other examples similar to ChatGPT include Google Bard, which was launched in early 2023.
As more AI tools come to the fore and continue to innovate within their capabilities, there will be more competition between the platforms and tools available. We can’t see AI taking over in-person treatments anytime soon, but it is exciting (and somewhat scary) to see how the technology will develop.
Have you tried AI tools within your salon business?
How have they helped you?
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