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Carlton Hair launches mobile loyalty app with SWARM

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Carlton Hair, South Africa’s largest and most prestigious hair salon group, will launch a new digital loyalty app that offers clients easier, faster and safer access to their loyalty rewards at any Carlton Hair salon across the country.
Designed by Cape Town-based SWARM Loyalty, the leader in integrated mobile loyalty solutions in South Africa, the new app includes digital versions of Carlton Hair’s existing loyalty cards for hair, nails, and Davines sustainable hair products, along with company and contact information and an alert function for customer-specific promotions.
Carlton Hair currently operates 23 salons across the country, along with five academies, and has been servicing some of South Africa’s most fashionable personalities for almost 50 years. The company is committed to sustainability, ensuring its products are fully biodegradable and its equipment as carbon neutral as possible. Staff are continually trained in the optimal use of products and equipment to an exacting international standard.
“As an upmarket salon working with discerning clientele, quality, luxury and sustainability are high on our list of desirable values,” says Carlton Hair marketing manager Gabriella Kulis.
“We envisioned our paper-based loyalty cards as a way to add value and reward our clients for their support, but over time have recognised that paper is not the best way to meet our environmental objectives, nor does it make life any easier for our clients,” says Kulis. “Paper cards are prone to misuse, are often misplaced, and – until now – have limited our clients to claiming rewards at the salon they were purchased in.”
The company started looking for alternative ways to promote its loyalty program, and attention quickly turned to digital alternatives.
“One of our directors, Sascha Mayer-Paine, discovered a simple yet stylish loyalty app from fresh food franchise Kauai on her smartphone, and immediately put us in touch with its creators,” she says. “The Kauai app is impressively intuitive, mimicking the look and feel of a real loyalty card almost exactly, with the added benefit that it can never be lost or misplaced, and that the information recorded is saved and stored regardless of the device in use. It’s exactly what we needed, and we looked no further than SWARM to design a unique solution for our brand.”
SWARM director Rowan Vlaming says the benefits of a mobile loyalty app go beyond the replication of a physical loyalty card.
“One of the biggest benefits for a company like Carlton Hair is the integration of the point-of-sale system with the app, which makes the process of earning and claiming rewards, discounts and other incentive-based awards seamless and transparent,” says Vlaming.
“Mobile loyalty apps are becoming more popular because they’re always available on the devices clients use and carry with them every day,” he says. “In return, companies get to open a better, more direct communications channel with their clients, save time and money on printing and material costs for paper or plastic cards, and eliminate the risks of misuse, abuse or fraud all too common with physical cards.”
Kulis concurs: “Loyalty rewards are just the starting point for us; we can already see the app developing into a feature-rich tool for getting information to and from our clients, allowing us to get to know them better, understand their preferences, and tailor our services to suit them,” she says.
“We’ve taken the app from concept to launch so quickly because Rowan and his team have been thoroughly driven and professional and seem to understand our business so well. For example, because the app is integrated with our point-of-sale system, clients can redeem their rewards at any of our salons across the country. They also never lose the information entered in the app as it’s stored securely in the cloud, and can in fact access it from any device or even the web.
“Down the line we’re working on further expanding the functionality of the app to include two-way communication, so that clients can contact us directly and confidentially with any concerns or suggestions, and so that we can start offering individual clients new services and promotions based on their location, their styles, even their birthdays.”
Carlton Hair will be launching a pilot version of the app at its Claremont and Constantia salons in the Western Cape in the next few weeks, before the national launch later this year or early next year.