Choosing the right software is one of the most critical decisions you’ll need to make for your yoga studio business. The right software can streamline handling administrative tasks like attendance tracking, employee management, billing, client communication, and retail sales, and much more. But to realize all these and many more benefits, you need to make the right buying decision, and there are few things you’ll want to keep in mind to help you do that.
Some of the things you need to know when buying yoga studio software include the fundamental elements of yoga studio software, how much functionality you need for your business, how the software fits your branding and growth efforts, and the cost of adding users.
Keep reading for up to 7 key things you’ll want to keep in mind when shopping for yoga studio software.
Know the 3 Fundamental Elements of Yoga Studio Software
This is an absolute must-know because you can’t choose an excellent yoga software if you don’t know the bare minimum elements to use as a starting point. At the very least, your yoga studio software should be:
- Capable of cloud computing
- An all-in-one solution that centralizes all your operations
- Automate all, or most aspects of managing your yoga studio
Let’s discuss the importance of each element in the next section.
Cloud computing capability means the software is web-based, allowing you to access your account and perform management tasks on the web. Such capability means no downloads, networking, upgrades, and installations that typically plague desktop software applications. It also means that you can run your yoga studio from anywhere, anytime.
Integrating independent software pieces can be quite a hassle. When you upgrade one application, it may not sync with the rest, and you may end up with a mish-mash of software with frequent malfunctions. So instead of saving you time and making managing your yoga studio easier, you end up doing more just to get the various pieces working in sync.
That’s why centralization should be a top-priority element when choosing your yoga studio software. With an all-in-one solution, you get comprehensive software that caters to most, if not all, of your computing needs. This way, you won’t have to go through the hassle of getting many applications synced up and working together.
The more you can automate in any business, the better, and a yoga studio is no exception. Running a yoga studio involves managing many variables such as staff, schedules, sales, inventory, students, and so much more.
Some of the time-consuming tasks you can eliminate through automation include:
- Studio check-in
- Waivers, sign up, and registration
- Course, class, and appointment bookings
- Client communication, including updates and reminders
- Waiting lists and booking cancellation management
- Course, appointment, and class schedules
With software that automates the management of these tasks and many more, you can take a significant chunk of everyday menial tasks off your hands. You can then allocate the freed-up time to the main goals: securing regular students, keeping your classes full, and growing your business all around.
When before you spend on any yoga studio software, you’ll want to request a demo to determine whether it automates as many tasks as spec’d. It might help to have a list of the tasks you’re looking to automate so you don’t get sidetracked by any flashy, unnecessary features.
Watching the software in action provides a chance to identify areas that need manual “workarounds” to get your desired result. It also allows you to determine whether the software you’re eyeing is a good fit for your businesses.
Mobile Is Everything
In the modern business environment, you can’t overlook the importance of mobile compatibility. Studies show that mobile usage and adoption have been on the rise in the last decade and that approximately half of the global web traffic is mobile.
Whether you’re looking to have an online presence or not, these stats have several implications for choosing your yoga studio software. Choosing mobile compatible software allows you to improve communications with clients drastically. You get to meet them where they’re most comfortable (on their mobile phone), making it easier for them to communicate with you on the go.
Additionally, managing your yoga studio through mobile compatible software makes things like booking appointments, scheduling, payments, studio check-ins, and other tasks easier for your clients. Streamlining communication and making life easier for the consumer translates to customer satisfaction, which improves loyalty, brand reputation, sales, and other aspects every business owner wants to improve.
For a yoga studio owner looking to have an online presence, there’s an even greater need to choose mobile-compatible software. Having an online presence means you’ll need to invest in a website and develop an SEO strategy, among other digital marketing requirements. At some point, you’ll need to integrate your management software into your website so you can run everything smoothly.
With most of the people you’re targeting through your digital marketing efforts using mobile devices, your site will likely be mobile-friendly. If your management software isn’t mobile compatible, integrating it into your mobile-friendly site may be difficult. This can lead to a host of problems, especially since integrating your management software into your site allows users to do things like:
- Checking their membership plan
- Monitoring yoga class and events schedules
- Checking booking options
- Planning their workout against available workout plans
- Checking information on offered packages
Remember that these are just a few examples of how having mobile-friendly software can extend your website’s functionality. We could go on forever about why mobile compatibility is essential for yoga studio software, but you get the point: don’t sign on the dotted line if the software you’re considering doesn’t have a clear strategy for mobile.
Avoid Long Term Contracts
In the modern software market, there’s no need for long-term, rigid contracts. Since set up time on most software systems on the market is fast and inexpensive for the provider, any company that believes in their product should give you an option for a short-term contract.
A company that feels the need to tie you down with an inflexible long-term contract just to keep your business is probably offering not-so-great yoga studio software or customer service. If they did, they would trust the quality of their service and product to secure and keep your loyalty in the long run instead of using a contract to force you to stay.
Pay Attention to the Cost of Adding Users to Your Software
You’ll be charged for the product with some providers based on how many users you have on your yoga software system. When you’re just starting and don’t have that many clients, this might not be so big of a deal.
But when your yoga studio picks up and the clients start flocking, you’ll need to employ more instructors to help share the workload. This means that you’ll need to create individual user profiles for each instructor, and that’s when the costs of adding users start to take a toll on your pocket.
Depending on how many users you’re looking to add, you may end up paying more per month for the software than what you signed up for. That’s why you need to check the provider’s terms and conditions before you sign up for any yoga studio software. Specifically, check the usage policy and find out if there are any hidden costs for adding users, limits to how many users you can add, and so on.
Think About How the Software Fits Your Branding Efforts
Providing the functionality, you need to build a brand is one thing that differentiates a top-of-the-line software solution from average options. Generally, branding is all about customizing your business and products such that they stand out from the rest. Just take a look at some of the most reputable and recognizable brands in any industry: there’s something different about them that no one else, or few have.
Sadly, most yoga studio software solutions out there do the bare minimum with the degree of customization they allow. Sure, they might allow you to create a header, capture your logo, and select primary colors from “a wide selection” when designing your business’s online pages.
However, most yoga studio owners don’t know that the same limited customization is offered to hundreds of other businesses, making it very easy to end up with online storefronts or online pages that look all too similar. That’s why you need to consider the customization flexibility offered by the various options when shopping.
For the sake of creating an online brand that stands out from the competition, prioritize yoga studio software that meets the following criteria:
- It gives you the freedom to fully leverage your creativity to highlight your brand throughout your customer’s purchase journey.
- It provides all the tools you need to design and customize your pages without needing too much technical help.
- It allows you to build great-looking, mobile-friendly pages that you can use as your business’s online presence even without a website.
Let’s talk a bit more about the last point because it’s crucial. Nowadays, many yoga studio scheduling software offers users the option to establish an online presence without a website. This is godsent for business owners who are yet to pool enough resources to launch a fully functional website.
Such business owners create a page for their businesses on their desired social media platforms for free. They then share their booking pages in description boxes or bio sections, depending on the platform (description boxes apply to youtube, and bios to Instagram).
This way, they can market their products and services, engage with customers, and even secure new business, all without the costs and the bulk of work involved in designing and running a conventional website.
Know the Scope of Scheduling Functionality You Need From the Software
Every yoga studio has different needs that should be reflected in the choice of the studio software. Since no one knows your business better than you do, it’s up to you to identify these needs and use them to determine the features you need from a yoga studio software.
On top of the three fundamental elements we covered earlier in this post, here are some software features you might want to consider:
- Online yoga class scheduling
- Easy scheduling
- Enrollment options
- Payment processing
- An online store
- An option for setting up gift cards
- Email marketing
- Inventory tracking
- Student account management
- Staff management
- Payroll software
- Reporting capability
- Policy enforcement
To help you determine which of these features you may need for your yoga studio software, let’s discuss their importance and benefits in the next section.
Online Yoga Class Scheduling
Online class scheduling is a crucial customer service feature. Here are some of the functionalities you might want for your online scheduling:
- Waitlists. with software that lets your students add their names to the waitlist, you can save yourself the hassle of managing these lists. The software does the heavy lifting for you, freeing up valuable time that you can allocate to other tasks.
- Printable sign-in sheets. Some yoga studio owners prefer to have their sign-in sheets in printed form. If you’re one of them, choose software that provides a print option for sign-in sheet templates.
- Student self-check-in. This can be quite a time-saver for both you and your students. By letting your students scan their ID cards and check-in by themselves, you spare them the hassle of having to stand in line as they wait for you to check them in manually. You also take off your hands the duty to check in every student, freeing up time to prepare for classes.
- Room and equipment rental scheduling. If you frequently rent out equipment or rooms, choose software that automates that process and makes it easy for your clientele to book equipment and rooms themselves.
- Recurring bookings. Few things can scale a yoga business like recurring clients. Thus, you might want to choose software that makes it super easy for your students to book several classes and commit to your business long term.
- Class attendance stats. You can’t know how your yoga business is doing if you don’t measure results. With software that provides easy-to-read periodical reports on class attendance stats, you get the tools you need to differentiate between money-making classes and those that may not be worthwhile.
Drag and drop functionality for class booking can be a real luxury because it makes class and appointment booking straightforward for your clientele. It’s even better if you’re working with software that gives you a birds-eye view of your schedule because it means you can quickly look at the big picture of your bookings by duration, service, gender, name, and much more.
Color coding the schedule may also come in handy, so you might want to choose software with that kind of functionality. Sure, you’ll have to memorize the various colors, but color-coded schedules are quicker to view and analyze in the long run.
Some yoga studio business owners offer more than just classes. Depending on the business structure, they may offer courses, seminars, and special events alongside yoga classes. If you’re one such business owner, you’ll want yoga studio management software with the flexibility to accommodate scheduling for all your other offerings.
It might also help if the software comes with payment plan processing functionality for all your offerings. Most yoga studios offer a range of pricing packages, and having software with payment plan processing capability makes it easy to sell, tabulate, and accept payments for the various packages.
For payment processing purposes, you’ll want your yoga studio software to have the following capabilities:
- Credit card integration. This is quite a convenient feature. By allowing you to process credit card payments on the cloud, yoga studio software with this functionality spares you the time and money you’d otherwise spend on setting up credit card processing hardware. Unfortunately, not all yoga studio software options come with this feature, so you’ll need to check when shopping.
- Linking payments to services. With this capability, you can easily produce financial statements whenever you want to quickly assess your business’s financial status.
- Membership cards and ID tagging functionality. With these, you can lose the paper and add some professionalism to your business with swipe cards that facilitate self-check-ins and easier client tracking.
An Online Storefront
If you only sell your services retail, creating an online storefront can be a great way to boost your revenue. With the right software, this should be easy to do. Some yoga studio software come with eCommerce capabilities, allowing you to track and manage your in-studio sales and start selling through your website.
With such software, you can diversify your clientele by selling your yoga class packages, gift cards, and event tickets through your website. You can even take it a notch higher by partnering with other businesses that sell yoga, health, and fitness-related products that you don’t sell in your studio.
Whether you choose to do this through dropshipping deals or carrying inventory, you get a commission for selling other businesses ‘ products through the same site you use to market your yoga classes.
Gift Card Setup Option
There’s a reason established retailers and service providers like selling gift cards. You might already know that you can use them to boost sales during holidays. But did you know that gift cards can also be great for building brand awareness and building customer loyalty? That’s right! And, these are just a few mentions in the multitude of ways your yoga studio can benefit from selling gift cards.
Gift cards can also boost your sales for yoga class packages and any other offerings you may have. Unlike discounts that usually strip away some of your products’ value, gift cards will keep your clients coming back so they can max out the card’s value. Through these multiple visits, you get a chance to upsell any new products or class packages you may be trying to push.
For the clients, buying a gift card is also advantageous. Say one of your customers is looking to buy a gift for a friend or family member who’s passionate about yoga. They know that anything yoga-related would make a great gift, but they’re not exactly sure what to buy.
They come to your store and get a gift card. With the card, they have a sense of security about their gift because they know the recipient is free to choose whatever present they prefer. See how that makes life easier for your clients?
Given the above advantages, you may want to opt for yoga studio software with the functionality to let you offer gift cards. Such software will let you customize your gift cards, sell them, and monitor sales. Other functionalities you may want from your yoga studio software when implement gift cards include:
- Options for prepaid gift cards
- The ability to keep track of clients’ gift card account balances
- The flexibility to let your clients load the gift card with any amount of money they prefer.
Email marketing is a handy tool for any business, and your yoga studio is no exception. You can use it to:
- Attract new prospects
- Convert them into paying students
- Encourage existing clients to attend classes regularly
- Promote sales and promotions
- Send out reminders
- Introduce new products and discounts
- Create awareness about upcoming events
To take advantage of all the good things email marketing offers, choose yoga studio software that integrates easily with any email marketing software you may already have. This way, you’ll be in a prime position to leverage your studio software’s contact database for email marketing-instead of having separate databases for email marketing and student contact details. This kind of centralization may take some effort to achieve, but it’s worth it.
Centralizing your student database with your email marketing software allows you to segment your client base, so you only send the most appropriate messages to each individual. This facilitates personalization, a crucial element of marketing messages in the modern era.
Among other benefits, it allows you to leverage data from list segments, studies, or surveys to create effective marketing messages that resonate with your audience’s interests and shopping habits. Research has found personalized emails to be more effective than random promotional mailings. According to a recent study conducted by Experian, personalized marketing emails have a 29% higher chance of being opened and 41% higher click-through rates.
If you sell yoga accessories, clothing, learning materials, or any other products in your studio, digital inventory tracking can be another time-saver. Keeping track of how much stock you have, where it’s stored, and the exact quantities in each storage location can be time-consuming if you have to do it manually.
Even if you already have an app or software for that purpose, it may help to have a yoga studio software with the inventory tracking functionality. This way, you can centralize your operations and eliminate the need to run separate software for inventory tracking and studio management. Tracking inventory with your studio management software also allows you to sync sales with inventory, making it easier to create up-to-date financial statements.
Student Account Management
If you’re using cloud-based software (and you should), you’ll want it to come with functionality that allows both you to create student accounts that both you and your clients can log into. This way, both you and the clientele can track things like purchases, class attendance, profile details, referrals, and so on. This can be convenient for both parties.
The one liability you may have with software that allows your clients to sign up online is the dreaded waivers. While they may not be fun, they’re necessary. The good news is that some yoga studio software allows you to offer e-waivers for clients who sign up online to agree to. If you’re looking to let your students manage their accounts, be sure to inquire whether the yoga studio software you’re considering will allow you to provide e-waivers.
While you may be focusing your yoga studio software needs on client and inventory management, staff management is an equally important facet of your business. Your staff is an important asset, and like any asset, they require management. That’s why staff management functionality should be a priority when selecting your yoga studio software.
At the very least, your yoga studio software should allow you to add:
- Back-office staff (such as your cleaner, accountant, and anyone else who manages back-office operations)
- Admin (the individual with complete access to every portal on the yoga studio software. This person will likely be you)
With some software options, you can also:
- Create a staff portal that you can use to send instructions and to-do lists to your entire workforce
- Create individual log-in accounts for each employee that you can use for personal communication
- Set permission levels for different portals in your software
- Schedule shifts through an online platform that your employees can access remotely. This is way more convenient than the conventional monthly schedule printouts you may be using because it’s easier to access from anywhere for both you and your employees, and any changes in your staff members’ availability can be accommodated with quick adjustments (no more erasers).
Built-In Payroll Software
When you have so much to pay out in fees, commissions, and wages, it’s not always easy to keep track of payments because yoga teachers and instructors often opt for a variety of remuneration options. You may have hourly payments, flat rates, commissions, or several combinations of these payment options.
For illustration, take a yoga instructor who earns a predetermined flat rate plus a bonus/commission for meeting a certain class attendance threshold. Okay, a single class with one instructor may not be too hard to keep track of, but imagine having over 20 classes and five instructors. Things can get complicated easily.
A top-of-the-line yoga studio software will come with built-in payroll software that can track all your payments to staff regardless of how complicated they may be. With such software, tallying the total amount owed to staff and managing each employee’s payments is much easier.
For payroll management purposes, look for yoga studio software that can track individual payments and total amounts owed and provide a punch-in clock for hourly employees. This way, your staff will be able to quickly log into the software over the internet and key in their start and stop times with a few clicks.
Additionally, any yoga studio software with payroll management capabilities should also have the functionality to allow you to quickly export payroll data into your accounting software. This way, it’ll save you money in accounting fees, as well as the hassle of reconciliation when it’s time to file your taxes.
It’s almost impossible to know how your business is doing if you don’t know where it was in the past, where it is at the moment, and where it’ll be in the future based on its current performance. To know all this, you need to track and measure, and that’s where having yoga studio software with reporting capability comes in handy.
It doesn’t just let you track your financials (balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement, and so on). It also allows you to track and measure things like:
- Class attendance
- Number of clients per instructor
- Payroll costs
- Client and employee retention rates
- Product returns
- No shows
- Past, current, and projected sales figures
Keep in mind that these are just a few reporting capabilities to look out for. Depending on the nature and structure of your yoga studio business, you may have more performance indicators to track, and you’ll want to keep these in mind when examining the reporting functionalities of potential software purchases.
If you offer group classes like most yoga studios, having strict attendance and cancellation policies is essential. You don’t want your clients booking a place in a group class, only to fail to show up.
Most yoga studios enforce a no-refund policy if a client cancels a booking within a certain period (usually 24 to 48 hours) before the appointment. Such a policy increases accountability on the client end because no one wants to lose their money on a class they didn’t attend.
If you’re looking to enforce a no refund-or any other policy, you’ll need a yoga studio scheduling software that allows you to draft rules, inform clients about them, and enact enforcement measures. Some of the policy-related rules your software should be able to manage include:
- Waitlist management
- Management and enforcement of cancellations
- Consent and waivers
Consider how the Yoga Studio Software Fits your Scalability Goals
Not all yoga studio owners want to expand and build a chain of businesses. Some just want to develop the one or two studios they have to their best potential and be content with it. Regardless of which category defines your goals, you’ll want your software to align with them.
Sure, it might seem like a great idea to purchase software that can accommodate a large business when you run a small studio. However, you may end up overpaying for features that you barely use because, with most software, the baseline features are enough to accommodate the needs of a small business that only needs to manage a few employees and a handful of customers.
On the other end of the spectrum, a yoga studio owner looking to scale their business a great deal will want a software solution that’ll keep up with the needs of the business as it evolves.
Specifically, such business owners need a software solution with a tier or multi-package system.
This way, when the business is in its early stages, they won’t spend on features they don’t at that stage of their business growth because they can opt for a lower tier or cheaper package. When the business finally picks up and starts to expand, they can simply move up to a higher tier or a premium package instead of having to purchase entirely new software.
Even if a given software solution you’re considering has a tier/multi-package system, you’ll want to ensure that the higher tiers have enough growth features to accommodate your yoga business’s needs at every growth stage.
Some of the key growth features to look out for in yoga studio scheduling software include:
- Communication suite
- Promos/discounts and gift vouchers
- Lead capture
- Client accounts and profiles
- Review management
- Multi-location and advanced filters
- Zoom video integration
- Client referrals and loyalty management
Sure, you may not even need all these features in the future, but it’s nice to know that they’ll be there when you switch a tier or package and need them.
We’ve covered quite the ground. Hopefully, you now have a clear idea of what you want from your yoga studio software in terms of feature, functionality, and general suitability to your specific business needs. Ultimately, the final buying decision rests in your hands because no one knows your business better than you.
- Yoga Baron: 16 Things to Know Before Buying Yoga Studio Software
- SalesVu: 10 Tips to Buy A Yoga Studio Management Software That’s Worth Your Time
- Studio Growth: Yoga Studio Scheduling Software: 18 Must-Have Features
- Glofox Blog: 5 Tips For Choosing Yoga Studio Management Software
- Zen Planner: Tips for Choosing the Best Yoga Studio Software
- Constant Contact: 6 Reasons Why You Should Personalize Marketing | Constant Contact
- Experian plc: Experian-Marketing-Services-study-finds-personalized-emails-generate-six
- YOGI TIMES: what to sell in my yoga studio?
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