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With the holidays fast approaching, now's the time to make sure your salon is ready to meet the demand for gift card purchases. Salon software makes it easy to sell gift cards, track usage and process transactions.



A mere swipe through a card reader is all it takes to load value onto cards that have a bar code or magnetic strip; checking balances and processing transactions is a breeze, too. Some software companies, such as Elite Software, offer salons a choice of customizable gift card designs with UPC codes, supplied through a third party that provides online proofing and easy uploading of art. Others, like ProSolutions Software, have graphic artists on staff who will work with salon owners to create a customized design. Nichesoft BeautyTrack offers an option of gift card key tags—particularly popular with salons that offer tanning—that also function as marketing tools.

While laminated gift cards are undeniably convenient, it's important to assess the price of the cards and equipment, such as bar code or magnetic strip readers, as well as whether or not there are fees for tracking and processing. ProSolutions and BeautyTrack, for example, offer internal tracking, so there are no additional fees. Salon Iris offers both cost-effective paper gift certificates, which can be hand-written but still tracked through the software, in addition to laminated gift cards, so that owners can choose what works best for their salon. For added flexibility, the cards can be designed with one or more tracking methods: a four-digit number, a bar code label or a magnetic strip. With Extended Technologies SalonBiz software, actual cards aren't required; the program maintains all gift card tracking information in the individual customer record.

To make it even easier for clients to buy last-minute gifts, many software companies offer online gift card purchasing capability. With ProSolutions' Gift Cards On Line add-on feature (included with some versions), clients can choose cards for either specific dollar values or for individual or package services, and can add a personalized message that is displayed on the card holder. Gift cards buyers using Extended Technologies' online WebBiz program can opt to have cards either mailed or e-mailed to recipients—especially convenient for last-minute giving. —L.A.

Contact these companies for more information:

Elite Software: 800/662-3548; elitesoftware.com

Extended Technologies: 800/632-5527; extendedtechnologies.com

Nichesoft: 877/488-2901; nichesoft.com

ProSolutions Software: 800/710-3879; prosolutionssoftware.com

Salon Iris: 888/803-4747; saloniris.com

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About the Author

Lotus Abrams

Lotus Abrams