Barbershops have been undergoing somewhat of a revival over the past few years – and with all the new ones constantly popping up, it’s more important than ever to stand out from the crowd. Not only does having your own barbershop app help set you aside from competitors – but features like customer loyalty schemes, push notifications and a mobile booking system offer genuine functionality for users that is proven to boost business. Don’t take our word for it, though. We spoke to the guys at Sea Dog Barbers in Cornwall, who created their app using the AppInstitute App Builder and have seen fantastic results in just a few weeks:
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your business? What is your background – and what do ‘Sea Dogs Barbers’ do?
We are a barbershop based in St Austell in Cornwall. We have been trading for over a year now and offer a wide range of services and retail products. My partner’s background is in barbering and mine is in retail merchandising and so I look after the marketing and social media side of our shop.
What needs within your business initially made you decide that you wanted to get your own mobile app?
From day one when we opened our doors, customer feedback was they wanted an appointment system, and not your typical barbershop set up, as most barbershops work with walk-ins. So we decided to give it a go. It proved successful but I felt we needed to get with the times and the fact we wanted to let our customers book 24/7 and not just during our opening times, so we added a booking system to our webpage. We also had a direct booking link from our Facebook page to our webpage. This proved massively successful but customers said they wanted something more direct than Facebook or having to use the website, that’s when I came up with the idea of an app.
Did you have any previous experience with building apps before you tried AppInstitute? How did you find using the app builder?
Yes, I did middle of last year, when I wanted to look into an app but I totally hit a brick wall and as I could not find anything that suited us or that was simple and quick to use and UK based. So the app idea was put on the back burner, which I was gutted about.
What benefits does your app provide to your customers? What kind of feedback have you had?
Customers don’t have to search for our website or go on to our Facebook page to book an appointment they open the app and can easily and quickly hit the “book online” button and get booked in. We will also be launching a shop on the app too and the coupons are something we will be using to offer deals on products when we launch the shop. We can also send push notifications if we have any cancellations. I have loads of ideas for the future. Our customers absolutely love it and love how simple it is to use and download.
What would you say to businesses who don’t have an app currently, because they don’t think they need one, don’t think they can afford it or are worried they don’t have the technical skills?
I think every business can benefit from an app, time and convenience is what customers want and an app totally provides this, it also puts you ahead of the game and really gives your business brand identity. Don’t be put off, I have average technical skills with a mix of common sense so don’t be scared of creating your own app. AppInstitute makes creating your own app so easy and you have total creative control. It took me a few hours to create our app. We took out the £30 a month plan mainly to trial it for a month, the response we have had has been so impressive that this will be permanent for us. We are happy with the features on this plan for now as the app is pretty much localised but we will be looking to upgrade to the AppBuilder Plus very soon. The price plan gives flexibility and we feel you get great value for money.
It’s fantastic to see you’ve accumulated over 100 downloads in the first week since you launched the app – can you share a little insight into how you promote your app to customers?
We generated interest with a teaser post on Facebook saying that we were launching the app just to create hype. Then once it went live we put the link on our Facebook page. We let our customers know that “booking an appointment had got a whole lot easier” and we mentioned more features will be becoming soon too. We put an image of our QR code on Instagram and I also printed out the QR code on A4 paper laminated it and put it on the coffee table in our waiting area so customers can download it while they wait. All our barbers have been told to let there customers know and the QR code is all over the shop and in the window. I have also put a link on the home page of our website and the QR code is on the footer.
How do you keep your customers engaged with the business using your app? (What features within our platform do you use to help achieve this?)
The customers mainly use it for our booking system unlike most barbers we do not use a host booking app like “bookys”, we wanted one that we have total control of but at the same time we were missing a trick by not having something as easily accessible as an app, but now we do. We have our Facebook page on there too and we will be using push notifications to let customers know about cancellations – they love this too.
Do you think having your own app makes you stand out ahead of competitors?
100%! There is so much competition in the barbering world. Barber shops are popping up all over the UK’s high streets and we want to be one step ahead. This is why I am so excited to offer this to our customers, it makes us stand out and be well ahead of the game. We love the fact from my own personal research that not many barbers have their own app. I am sure this will change soon but we know we were one of the first. We pride ourselves on not being your average barbershop and this certainly has helped us to not be average.
Any final thoughts on working with AppInstitute and making an app for your business, or anything coming up you’d like to plug?
Working with AppInstitute has been an absolute pleasure. The lessons they have on the marketing page are awesome and really easy to use and give helpful advice. Everything has been so professional and the support is awesome as questions are answered really quickly. I have had a few of our own customers ask me to design an app for their business so I am reading up about the partners programme as this is definitely something that interests me and also shows how confident I feel with this app builder. You guys ROCK!!!!