Hair salons are a vital part of our lifestyle. We walk past them every day, we use them on a regular basis, they allow us to interact with members of our local community. For French people in particular, salons are a big deal: there are about 85,492 throughout France (UNEC), more than twice as much as in the UK (41,000 according to the NHF).
So, with so many hairdressers, how can one differentiate itself from its competitors? The bargaining power is clearly in the hands of consumers who have a plethora of options when it comes to choosing a salon.
Startups to the rescue
A growing number of salon owners has been turning to innovative solutions that can both help them simplify the management of their business and allow them to improve customer acquisition and retention. Emphasis is increasingly being placed on creating a fluid, affordable and convenient experience for customers in addition to providing managers with better digital tools.
The market has seen many startups emerge that are looking to tackle these issues and while Treatwell is the dominant player in Europe, it is far from being lonely. For instance, the rated startup LeCiseau offers a similar online platform that allows customers to book last-minute appointments at lower prices during off-peak times. This, in turn, helps salons book time slots that would typically be empty. We can also cite Flexybeauty which provides an all-in-one SaaS platform encompassing various functionalities from marketing campaigns to subscription plans.
Among these emerging companies, Early Metrics recently rated Wavy, a French startup created in 2016 that has been making strides on the market.
Meet rated startup Wavy
Wavy develops a management platform for hairdressers that seeks to address all the growing needs in this industry. This includes simplified planning, checkouts and stock management in addition to improved referencing and online booking – all features that aim to optimise management and increasing customer loyalty. By using the platform, salon owners can easily plan their stylists’ schedules, manage their inventory and cash-in customers. They also gain access to sales-related data, whether it be the average client spend, the clients’ gender, the number of products sold by a stylist, etc. Customers, on the other hand, are able to book and pay for their appointments online, through a chatbot or via text message, and receive newsletters from the salons they’ve used.
Wavy was placed in the top 5% of the 2,600 startups rated by Early Metrics thus far. Extensive experience in the hairdressing industry and expertise in commercial development contributed to a highly positive rating of the startup’s management team. The success of the management team is further illustrated by a previous fundraising of €2.5m which included investments from key business angels in this sector and by the innovation award it won at Mondial Coiffure Beauté in 2018. Moreover, the startup is already showing promising signs in terms of commercial traction.
Nevertheless, it is still worth noting that Wavy is evolving in a highly competitive market. As the salon industry continues to grow, the startup will face more and more competition both from traditional actors and fellow startups.
Wavy will be participating in the Mondial Coiffure Beauté again in 2019 and we look forward to seeing all the new ways in which they plan on furthering innovation in the salon industry.