The Client

Founded by Ken and Alanna McAllister in Louisiana, USA, My Salon Suite is one of North America's largest salon suite franchises. Currently, the brand has spaces in 200 locations in the US and Canada.

The My Salon Suite business model: Salon suites are a booming business in the beauty & wellness sphere. These 'suites' are smaller and more private than traditional salons and are licensed to a single professional (hair stylist, cosmetologist, or makeup artist.)

The My Salon Suite business works by franchising the suite spaces to investors who, in turn, act as proprietors by renting out these suites to individual beauticians and therapists.

The Challenge

In the My Salon Suite ecosystem, wellness and beauty professionals work independently as entrepreneurs; they set their own charges and work schedules and decide their booking terms. These suites aim to offer customers an extremely private and secure wellness experience. Therefore, unlike in a traditional salon setup, customers don't have the flexibility to find all the services within one perimeter.

A customer requiring hair styling and skin care on the same day will need to book two My Salon Suite professionals individually and make a visit to two different suites.

This posed two central challenges for the client:

  1. How to make the end customers aware of all the My Salon Suite services and available booking slots of other My Salon Suite professionals?
  2. There was also no proper mechanism for entertaining and promoting offers to the end customers.

There was an urgent need for a communication mechanism that could be effortlessly scaled across 200+ suites.

The Solution

The client being a global-scale franchise, it was suggested right from the start that a cloud-based platform would be most suitable and convenient for managing the screens.

Pickcel's three-pronged content publishing feature (Default, Schedule & Quickplay) extended vast flexibility to the users. Besides, the integrated graphic libraries, Pexel, Pixabay, and Unsplash, had an exhaustive collection of free images that could be used for designing digital posters.

To reduce creative fatigue, the client wanted to use a standard 3-zoned screen template with the following specifications:

Pickcel's custom-built digital signage template used by My Salon Suite USA
Image: My Salon Suite screen showing Pickcel's 3-zoned template

The Pickcel team innovated two custom apps to meet this need.

Customizations of the software: Designing the Salon app & the Salon Media app

Salon App: This app was created to manage the contents of Zone 1. The backend functionality of the app used Salesforce API to integrate the digital signage platform with the client's CRM database, enabling the syndication of real time service booking and store-directory information onto the in-suite digital displays.

Therefore, on the users' front, the custom Salon app required minimum manual inputs. The network admin can change the aesthetics of the Zone 1 content by uploading their choice of the background image. They can also define the slide duration for each block of the directory list. Once the app is configured with these two inputs, the zone 1 content appears on a predefined template.

The automation brought in through API integration causes any change in the Salesforce CRM data to reflect immediately on screen. For instance, if a new suite is added to the client's franchise chain or a My Salon Suite expert is recently available for booking, the latest information will be updated on the screens too.

Salon Media App: This app was custom-built for the Zone 2 content. The particular challenge here was to allow asynchronous publishing of different media (offers, ads, posters) on different screens. To achieve this, the Pickcel tech maestros came up with the ingenious idea of creating "custom attributes." where each suite was assigned a unique ID; the network admin could tag individual media files with these IDs to ensure a watertight and accurate delivery on all screens.

On the frontend, the admin can simply select a series of uploaded media files, configure its play duration and publish on the target screen.

Key Benefits

  • Scalability: The software being hosted on the cloud makes it a matter of seconds to add new screens to the network, meaning the client can expand their business into any geography without worrying about network size.
  • Hardware-neutral: Pickcel being a largely hardware-agnostic platform could run on any device OS including the Android boxes that the client was using.
  • Custom user-role creation: The Pickcel content management system (CMS) has a convenient organization-level design to create custom user roles (Manager, Editor, Operator) and devise personalized access rights for different team users.
  • App store: Pickcel's wide gamut of content apps like weather, scroller, live traffic, world clock can be used by the client to cater infotainment to their end customers.

The Outcome

Pickcel's intense customization of the digital signage software produced a well-tailored solution to My Salon Suite's business challenges. The solution mitigated two critical pain points: customer engagement and marketing while at the same time ensuring not much manual intervention is required. After the green light on the initial Proof of Concept, the client rolled out the solution on 30 digital signage screens. With the full-range of customizations, the largest salon suite franchise is now all set to deploy the Pickcel solution on 250+ screens.