Salon Sites was born out of a very simple idea: “What if I want a website for my business, don’t have the budget for an agency and don’t have the time or understanding to use a website builder?”
And the idea for Salon Sites was born! Working like a shopping basket system it allows customers to scroll through a range of designs for a website, select the one they want, choose their add-ons, provide their logo (or choose one), provide their basic details and the site is put together by a professional for them!
The system also allows them to buy a domain name if they need one, request a bespoke logo design, request follow-on services such as SEO or social media management if they want them.
Designed as a self-service system the site allows customers to explore their options and make their own choices about what they want. Quick, simple and low-cost, the entire Salon Sites platform was developed to address that gap in the market between a DIY website builder and a bespoke agency.
With a vast range of services being employed, Salon Sites was a truly epic undertaking, with even more to come.
Salon Sites was designed to be as admin-light as possible, the online platforms needed to handle the vast majority of the work that a digital agency’s consultant would usually undertake. The branding was designed and developed to be attractive but simple. Aimed at the hair and beauty industry the marketing was a hugely important factor in getting the concept across to those who would be totally unfamilar with such an idea.
A video was shot to place on the website, explaining the entire concept and order process simply, in under 2 minutes someone completely unfamiliar could understand what they were looking at and what to do.
The website front-end was designed to give information, help customers find out what was available to them and help them make their own choices on what they wanted for their website. Each of the website designs were pre-built so visitors could view demo sites, each of the website add-on options were pre-built so that each could be easily added into a customer order. The system processed customer payments via Stripe, so the module had to be built to process the order and use Stripe to run the customers’ monthly bills.
The system also needed a back-end, a customer account log in area and a CMS system for each customer to be able to access their website to make their own changes as they wished.
The Order System
The order system needed to be quick, intuitive and smart. Above all it needed to be simple to use and help guide users through it with minimal fuss. It needed to collate orders as the customer went, allowing them to check on the status and total of their order as they worked their way through the system. There needed to be easily accessible information and easy-to-use functions.
Custom building this system made it most useful for us to adapt it to work exactly as required. User friendliness was the key driver, if it wasn’t easy to use, we needed to improve it, adapt it and try it again. A constant process of trial and error. At its final stage the system then provides an interactive checkout, allowing them to remove items or jump back to alter their order. It then takes their payment details and processes their card, creates their account and triggers an internal order number for the company to get to work on!
As a new business and new concept, Salon Sites needed a good focus on their marketing. Testing and measuring the effectiveness of different messages and different forms of communication was a vital and necessary process. Whether email marketing, direct marketing, advertising or mass mailing would work best was almost entirely unknown.
As a result, numerous brainstorming sessions were required, ideas for new approaches and key messages were suggested and discussed. Each new idea was assessed and trialled, helping to refine the marketing messages and key wording that best resonated with the target customers. Exactly how this was presented was also highly important, owing to the industry all marketing materials needed to be eye-catching, interesting, engaging, informative and of course, action-inducing.
A business which is based almost entirely online, as this was would require a large social media presence and an active social media campaign to engage its audience. In alignment with the rest of the company’s marketing, the social media campaign was trialled, tested and measured for effectiveness and impact constantly.
Creating social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest we began producing content for these channels. This included imagery, icons and content. Blogs were written for the Salon Sites’ website and distributed via social media channels to get as much helpful, interesting and engaging content into the world as possible.
On top of the build, development and design of the Salon Sites brand and operating platforms there was also a vast amount to do on the marketing. Content was written for the site, blogs created to provide helpful information to customers and boost the site’s Google rankings. Social media was a huge element of the marketing mix, accounts were designed and set up on multiple platforms and from there constantly updated and managed. Continual content distribution and new marketing messages and ideas were scheduled, designed, created and distributed.
The site could take payments, process customer accounts, provide hosting for all customers websites, emails and online shops and much more. It was an entire platform, giving the customer an account section after they’d processed their order, this would provide them with updates about new add-ins to the site, new options and allow them to request changes and additions to their website. All helping to automate the internal processes of the company, reducing the admin costs of the business which would allow them to keep offering the websites and add-on services at such a competitive price.
Development, marketing, design and copy writing goes on, coupled with ongoing SEO and customer services. There are many plans for the future of the Salon Sites company and we will be supporting them the entire way.