Hairdressers who deliver a great consultation up their sales revenue, booking rate and client retention by an incredible percentage. So many of us struggle to follow the steps required for a correct consultation, but piiq affords you the freedom as a hairdresser to do your job well, connect with people and ensure every base is covered.

Richard Kavanagh, piiq Co-founder

Every so often, a new discovery surfaces; rupturing the status quo and shifting the very means by which we live, connect and function as beings. 

The abacus gave way to the analogue computer.. which metamorphosed into a programable processor and before we knew it a fresh breed of smartphones turned the world on its head. In a realm of continual evolution, innovation is key and the trailblazers at piiq are staking out their own space in the global tech party. Enter piiq; the salon of the future.

“We were looking for a multidimensional solution to the problems we face as hairdressers,” said session stylist and piiq Co-creator Richard Kavanagh. “It was all about finding the simplest, easiest and most practical approach to making the idea work.” The idea in question: transform the traditional mirror from a visual apparatus to an interactive tool, enhance the client experience and empower stylists to work more effectively – all with a touch and a swipe.

For those not yet acquainted, what is piiq? “Good question,”smiles Richard. “It’s hard to sum up piiq in simple terms because it’s something that’s never existed before. When people see or experience the technology for the first time, there’s a real WOW moment; it takes a few seconds to really register what you’re looking at.” The piiq pod looks just like a mirror (and is one for all intents and purposes) albeit a digital mirror that houses an inbuilt camera, embedded consultation software and integrated beauty lighting; all of which may be activated at specific intervals during the consultation and cut/colour/styling processes.

A compact, custom built tablet controls functionality, allowing both client and stylist to interact directly with the mirror and each other. “Picture this: you’re chatting with a friend over coffee. They pick up their phone and ask if you’ve seen a particular post before handing you their device for appraisal. You both interact with the same device, using it as a shared point of reference. That’s the premise of piiq; it provides a three way, dynamic interaction between the client, stylist and device.”

The first step involves checking in for your appointment via the salon reception desk. Clients have the option to check in through Facebook, allowing an expertly crafted algorithm to read their social footprint and gather tailored images. “The algorithm is what allows us to personalise the consultation to each individual with curated images targeted to each client. Let’s say you’ve had a piiq consultation prior to the day’s session. Your stylist can bring up a scrollable, 360 degree capture of your last hairstyle, access your entire colour history and retrieve a list of all your formulas in little to no time at all.”

First time piiq users begin their consultation with what Richard describes as a ‘visual survey’; text and images appear on the mirror’s surface and guide you through a series of questions with accompanying visual cues. “Each of the questions (which cover your hair history, styling routine, lifestyle preferences and work environment) help us get to know you and your styling habits more comprehensively.” Through the course of the survey, clients select their preferences using the piiq tablet, with results recorded and stored for succeeding consult steps.

Lights turn off… and on once again. This time the mirror displays a grid wherein clients line up their faces as an inbuilt camera captures a snapshot. “The lights turn on when the camera initiates – it’s just like magic.” Using 120 point facial recognition technology, the piiq algorithm creates an averaged face result pinpointing respective face shape and eye colour. Clients are matched with five celebrities bearing similar features and invited to share results via their social media feeds. “Clients regularly bring in pictures of celebrities and ask to have the same hair – not realising it won’t necessarily suit their features, colouring or hair type. What piiq does is give you and your stylist reasonable parameters with which to consult; you’re now referencing people with similar attributes to your own.”

The best part? The process is quick, fun and offers a virtual snapshot of your tastes, habits and aesthetic preferences. “The consultation process takes one-to-two minutes, as opposed to the countless hours and sessions it can take to really get to know your client. I now know you far better; your visual aesthetic, your lifestyle – we’ve had a dialogue about your face shape, hair density and texture and our records contain everything we need to know about you moving forward.”

“95% of hairdressers say they do a consultation for every client but only 7% of clients feel they’ve only ever had a thorough consultation once; that’s a major issue. Hairdressers who deliver a great consultation up their sales revenue, booking rate and client retention by an incredible percentage. So many of us struggle to follow the steps required for a correct consultation, but piiq affords you the freedom as a hairdresser to do your job well, connect with people and ensure every base is covered.”

Data is accumulated through piiq’s patented software, before a visual snapshot of findings is shared with each client – prime and ready for posting via their social channels. “It’s no longer the salons talking to their existing audience; it’s the clients talking to their own audience about their experience. What makes piiq unique is that it reaches the inner circle of every client – not just that of the salon. If you have ten clients sitting in a chair, you’ve got ten different social media feeds that are being populated with content about your salon.”

Just as piiq elevates your salon’s social profile, so too can it profoundly bolster your retail revenue. “One of the most dreaded conversations is recommending retail to clients. Studies have shown 7 out of 10 clients want to purchase products, but they aren’t receiving the recommendations.” Rather than either party initiating the conversation, relevant product recommendations intermittently appear on the mirror, with additional details available via the tablet. Clients can then choose whether to view the products, ask their stylist for more information or ignore the prompts all together. “People will always buy products from somewhere, and you want to give them what they need; it’s just as important for the client as it is the stylists. We all know this logically, but approaching the conversation can be difficult for most. So, if the mirror says ‘let’s talk about this’, you’ll have the opportunity to talk through retail recommendations – without that added element of awkwardness.”

Clients can next access product basket and purchasing information via the tablet or ask their stylist for additional recommendations. If they choose to purchase products, clients can pick up items from the reception desk following their session, or have their goods shipped to their home address as per their preference. It’s that simple.

No session is complete without that all too important after shot, and piiq takes the phenomena one step further; generating your very own 360 degree image from the comfort of your swivel chair. Clients are slowly rotated as the inbuilt camera captures all head angles. The software next stitches the images together to create a scrollable, 360 degree rendering that’s stored on your profile ready for your next visit. The camera also activates beauty lighting, so clients can perfect their post session selfie before sharing their looks via Facebook or Instagram.

Available for purchase in August ‘18, an exclusive ‘piiq prime’ program will invite 100 salon owners to experience piiq’s revolutionary software firsthand, before it hits the market. Salons will also have the opportunity to be included in piiq’s consumer media campaign, partake in in-salon training sessions and access a host of exclusive offers. Check out www.piiqprime.com for full eligibility criteria.

This article was first published as Piiq Prime in Issue 3/2018 of The Journal. Words by Daniela Maroun.