Great Clips Gains Competitive Advantage by Developing an Industry Leading Mobile Application
Great Clips is one of the largest franchisors in North America with over 3,700 franchises. The company’s business model has stayed very consistent since it opened its first salon in 1982 in Minneapolis. That is to provide affordable and quality haircuts to its clientele while being a place where stylists enjoy coming to work and franchisees are able to discover lasting success.
Great Clips’ leadership had a vision. They wanted to turn Great Clips into a company driven by innovation, innovation fueled by technology. Great Clips is in a competitive marketplace, and the company found that it needed a way to stand apart from its challengers. Hair may grow quickly but the number of people who need haircuts doesn’t. Therefore Great Clips needed to find an inventive way to grab market share. The Great Clips leadership team turned to technology.
About three years ago, Great Clips approached Future Point of View about turning its existing data into actionable intelligence. Initially the focus was on utilizing the data coming off of its point-of-sale systems to see, in real time, what its sales and revenue were like. It was also able to see, in real time, how long customers were waiting to get a haircut at its salons. This insight lead to a groundbreaking idea for a mobile application. Great Clips designed an app that allowed customers to easily find every Great Clips location and, even more, the wait time at each location. If a customer wanted to check-in on the go, the app gave them this ability. The app was, at the time (and still is) bleeding edge in the beauty space, years ahead of the competition.
The main draw of the app is that it saves time; it’s more convenient for busy people who don’t want to waste a lot of time getting haircuts. Great Clips’ main constituency are those looking for haircuts that are fast, steady, and inexpensive. This app serves this constituency to a tee.
The app has been downloaded over three million times and has also given Great Clips access to a massive database that they can use to better serve their customers. It’s used by about 20% of Great Clips clientele. The app has helped Great Clips become the 6th fastest growing franchise in the US and Canada, according to Entrepreneur. In 2014, Great Clips did over $1 billion in revenue.
More recently, Great Clips implemented a global network to share customers’ haircut preferences across all of the Great Clips salons in the U.S. and Canada in its secure data cloud. It’s a program Great Clips calls Clip Notes. So even while traveling or sitting with a new stylist, customers can be sure they will receive the haircut they desire.
Great Clips does nearly 100 million haircuts a year and has seen ten years of steady growth in spite of a great recession, which struck during this time. Much of this has to do with Great Clips’ adoption and implementation of technology tools that offer the company a distinct competitive advantage.