Better Business February 2015

New Money

A few years ago, a client at The Drawing Room New York was checking currency rates on his phone as he sat in the styling chair, recalls salon owner Clyde Elezi. “We started talking about this new currency that’s available,” he says. The bitcoin, a digital currency created in 2009 used for electronic transactions, is 100 percent peer-to-peer, without banks operating as middlemen. “My client explained that it’s the new form of payment for the future,” Elezi continues. The Drawing Room New York recognized the opportunity for advancement; now clients and stylists perform transactions using an app called Coinbase, a kind of “bitcoin wallet.” The client scans a barcode and the funds are automatically transferred from his or her account to the salon’s. “In the short term, bitcoins offer client convenience and additional payment options; in the long term, we hope more clients will choose to use digital currency, and hope our credit card fees drop—digital currency charges are very minimal compared with credit card merchants,” Elezi says. What’s more, time is saved during checkout. “All [clients] have to do is have their cellphone ready, which most people already have in their hands,” he says. —K.H.

Good Connections

Schwarzkopf Professional makes hair expertise available 24/7 with a new app that offers salon’s business support and communication channels between hairdressers and clients. The Hair Expert app features insights from haircare experts as well as tools for more seamless consultations. Providing hairdressers with a client management system, it allows them to create client profiles with their data, photos and product recommendations. It also includes a series of questions to determine clients’ hair and scalp condition, as well as the services that best fit their needs. To enhance the guest experience, clients can receive home hair-maintenance tips via email and also get reminders about their next visit. In addition, the app includes detailed product information, brand videos and inspiring editorial visuals. Hair Expert also features a barcode scanner to access more information on all Schwarzkopf Professional products. The app is available for iPad, iPhone and Android devices. —C.H.

Chipping In

Beginning this year, salons with swipe credit card machines can be liable for fraudulent consumer activity that takes place at their businesses, according to the new Fraud Liability Shift. The policy, announced by major credit card brands, states that as of October 2015, counterfeit credit card liability will be the responsibility of merchants—rather than card issuers—if they have not switched to EMV [Europay, MasterCard and Visa] chip card technology. This includes salons, says Salo Wancier, director of marketing at TouchSuite. The company is one of the first payment processing businesses in the country to offer merchants EMV-certified and -enabled terminals. “In order for EMV terminals to work, they need to be both certified and enabled to properly process payments,” Wancier says. “We’re in a unique position to spread the word on this policy change and help people prepare for this transition.” When making the change, he says, the first step is finding out if the salon’s credit card processing provider offers the EMV-certified and -enabled terminals; if not, salon owners need to switch providers. “This step should not be delayed because if you do need to switch providers, finding out late could cause you to miss the deadline,” Wancier cautions. —C.H.

Photography: veer (chipping in)