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WhatSalon: a marketplace and CRM with appointment features for beauty salons

July 2018 - April 2020, Fixed-price, Time & material, Dedicated development team

WhatSalon is an Irish startup offering a mobile and web app that allows users to book beauty salon visits through a convenient marketplace. It also provides a component CRM functionality (WhatSalon Go for mobile or WhatSalon Grow for web).

The WhatSalon provides a centralized marketplace where beauty salons can offer their services, while users can book appointments directly from the mobile or web app. Thanks to the logical and concise user flows, WhatSalon helps users to quickly connect with the preferred specialists or rely on geolocation data to find the best offering in the selected area.

This purpose-built platform supports six leading salon CRM vendors and allows for API integration with a variety of CRMs like Phorest, iSalon, Shortcuts, Premier, and more. With smooth CRM integration, businesses can count on the well-known benefits of using a marketplace. They include affordable advertising and marketing, faster buying process, and better brand visibility. If a beauty salon or a freelance professional doesn’t have their own software to be integrated, WhatSalon helps them not miss opportunities and offers ready-to-use software solutions.

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SCREENS:

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Services:

iOS

Android

Back-end

Front-end

QA

Design

Technologies:

Swift

Kotlin

PHP Laravel

React JS

Angular

Stripe Payments

Industries:

Consumer products & services

Business services

E-commerce

Other

Team composition:

iOS Developer

Android Developer

Front-end Developer (+1)

Back-end Developer (+1)

QA Engineer (+1)

UI / UX Designer

CTO

THE CHALLENGE_

At the start of cooperation with NERDZ LAB, the customer already had an iOS and web app they wanted to get finished. Based on the outcomes of the code review performed by our team, the client agreed that it was best to discard the existing code and start from scratch. The project started with a small team of iOS app developers and grew into a full-scale dedicated development team. Later on, as the project decisions required deeper engineering and architectural vision, the client agreed to add a CTO’s role, which was also performed by the NERDZ LAB’s expert.

Our team’s most challenging task was to ensure interoperability with any given number of salon CRM systems. Many platforms had different booking workflows or demanded varying details. Adding every new CRM to the marketplace means integrating it with all other systems present there. So, the more partners WhatSalon had, the more complex the integrations became. With all the complexity mentioned above, the client expected to get an easily extendable system that provides a smooth browsing experience. It must allow clients to easily search for salon services using a wide variety of parameters.

On top of that, the marketplace had to unify disparate data stored in different CRMs with different formats. Each particular CRM might have inconsistency in the stored data (like wrong geolocation info) or even lack the specific details required for the proper display on the marketplace. And it was the next issue to tackle. All because no matter what CRM the salon uses, the application should allow end-users to search the salon across all possible parameters and provide a consistent user experience.

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The Solutions:
  • Introduced microservices architecture to easily add or remove new CRM integration.
  • Developed a Salon dashboard portal to allow each salon to select and manage data that they’d like to display on the marketplace without affecting the selected data in their CRM.
  • Created an advanced algorithm for dynamic search across all possible parameters of a particular salon—list of services, location, date and time slots, and more.

THE DESIGN

First, NERDZ LAB helped the client redesign the previous version of WhatSalon apps and website and brought design across different salon CRMs to a common standard. We successfully simplified several workflows, which had considerably improved the user experience.

At the following stages of cooperation, we often performed the product owner’s role. It means we had to align the requirements of different stakeholders—our client and their customers, beauty parlors. Such cooperation allowed our client to focus on expanding their business by contracting new beauty parlors, often with non-typical offerings. Meanwhile, our team was in charge of adding new business logic or adjusting the existing admin dashboard logic.

Moreover, we designed and developed various new workflows to allow booking the specific service or service packs in both iOS and Android apps.

As the result of our product design services, the client has supported their business ideas with the following solutions:

iOS and Android apps, as well as a website showcasing users the idea behind WhatSalon and offering an opportunity to find a required salon and book a specific service.

A marketplace that helps beauty businesses either to connect their existing software or, if they don’t have one, to make use of an easy-to-use booking system, once again, connecting it to the WhatSalon marketplace.

Design services:

Design workflow

01

Design discovery and research

We hold detailed discovery sessions to align our design and development initiatives with the customer’s product vision.

02

UX design

We prepared user stories based on the discovery phase results to ensure end-users have positive, smooth, and memorable journeys within the app.

03

UI design

We developed a sleek and intuitive design that will help the end-users achieve their goals without any complications.

04

UX/UI design testing

We performed A/B website testing in production and rolled it out for the entire user base.

PRODUCT DESIGN_

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THE RESULTS

01

Thanks to the expertise with startup product development, we have managed to successfully implement a complex business logic. Feedback suggests that the customer’s clients are pretty satisfied.

02

We developed a logically sound design and functionality for mobile apps/web marketplace based on the actual needs and the improvements we suggested.

03

The client's business increased so much during the project that we had to extend our development team from just one developer at the start to nine developers.

04

NERDZ LAB integrated WhatSalon with the six biggest salon software providers in the United Kingdom.

05

Whatsalon’s user base grew significantly thanks to an improved and simplified user experience journey. We built a full-scale server ecosystem that can handle 200,000 users.

06

The customer reached the market with 20,000 beauty salons available to users.

07

The business was acquired for €15,000,000 and is highly valued by the end-users.

TESTIMONIAL

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David O'Flynn
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WhatSalon

They deliver functional solutions early after making insightful suggestions throughout the development stage. Customers can expect to work with a dedicated team that creates value.

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David O'Flynn
logo

WhatSalon

They deliver functional solutions early after making insightful suggestions throughout the development stage. Customers can expect to work with a dedicated team that creates value.