Introducing: iluk 2.0

This is THE blog post we’ve been waiting eagerly to write. Today, iluk enters a brand-new chapter. After many months of planning, iterating, working, and reworking, our highly anticipated launch day is finally here. Introducing iluk 2.0: the fastest way to find a last-minute appointment at a top-rated salon.

Our new-and-improved iluk is now in open beta!

We are beyond proud to announce that we have completely redesigned iluk from the ground-up: an all-new booking flow, new look and even more salons in Montreal. iluk 2.0 is our most daring endeavour yet. We aim to completely change the way people find and book beauty and hair appointments in the future and shake up the entire industry.  

Rather than browsing various salon profiles on the app, or filtering appointment options by service, we are making the process of finding a last-minute appointment today or tomorrow even faster. In our new version of iluk, simply indicate what service you need to book, the times during which you’re available, the area and distance in which you’re able to go for your appointment, and your maximum budget. iluk matches you with an available salon that meets the criteria you set. Think of booking on the same way you’d use a ride-hailing app: instead of being matched with a driver, we match you with a salon! iluk 2.0 also prioritizes convenience: you pay and tip in advance on your phone so that you can walk in and out of your appointment worry-free.

But let’s back up a bit.

How we got here

Since launching our first version of iluk, we have been through a LOT and have learned more than we bargained for. Our biggest challenge was of course the Pandemic. We launched iluk in December 2019, only a few months before COVID-19 forced salons to close nation-wide and forced us to put our big plans for iluk on hold. As the months stretched on, we tried to find ways to stay alive and support our salon partners where we could: creating online gift cards that clients could purchase at their favourite salon, offering salons free online stores to sell their products, and creating a SaaS for mobile professionals.

By the summer of 2021, things started looking up as salons were allowed to reopen in Ontario and Quebec. We then redirected our efforts back to where we started: helping users find a last-minute appointment at a list of vetted and top-rated salons in Montreal and Toronto.

Since August 2021, iluk has experienced tremendous growth. We’ve doubled down on our Montreal business and have seen it steadily grow with double-digit month-over-month growth. And all of this without investing a single dollar in marketing!

However, over the last few months we felt like something was missing and that there was room for iluk to be more innovative. We wanted our users to get in a salon chair even faster.

We looked at all we’d learned over the last months and a new idea began to take shape.

What We’ve Learned

Listening to our users

Since the beginning of iluk’s journey we’ve really invested in listening to our users. We’ve organized feedback sessions, video calls and mapped user behaviour.

One major learning was people come to iluk to find a last-minute appointment at a great salon. Most users are indifferent to the salon in question. They care solely that they can get a slot at the time and area in which they are available. They also want to be sure that the salon at which they book is exceptional. This showed us clearly that to win, it’s necessary for our users to find an appointment that is both conveniently located and fits their schedules. QUICKLY.

Service Industries are Changing

We are also paying attention to where other service industries are going. What has become very apparent is that consumers increasingly expect their service to be contactless with express check-in and out. Whether it’s Sunday in the restaurant industry, Virtuo and GetAround Connect in the car rental industry, Sonder for accommodations, or Amazon Go for in-store retail, customers’ experiences become easy and delightful when they can pay, tip, check-in and check-out on their mobile devices. No waiting at a reception desk, no wasting time waiting to pay. We firmly believe the hair and beauty industry should be no different.

An App for the Experience Economy

Finally, we learned we cannot compromise on salon quality. We now live in an Experience Economy, where consumers seek and prioritize experiences over products and services. This holds true for the beauty and hair industry. When people go to a salon, they expect an experience beyond just the service they’re booking. That’s why we decided to vet and only list salons that provide an amazing experience from start to finish. This means a beautifully-designed salon space, expert stylists, barbers and estheticians who only use top-of-the line products, and who prioritize cleanliness and customer service.

What’s New

So what have we changed?

A lot of ourselves went into iluk 2.0. We decided to completely go back to the drawing board and rethink iluk’s entire design and booking experience. Our objective: how can we make getting a last-minute appointment even easier, faster and more delightful?

The biggest change we made was to the entire booking flow itself. We went bold and decided to do something that had never been done before. As we mentioned, our users don’t have a strong preference as to which salon they book. Since iluk is an app for last-minute appointments, our users primarily care about the convenience factor. Can they get an appointment in the location that is most convenient for them, at the time they need? Is the salon a great one? We took this information and got to work in order for iluk 2.0 to be the fastest way to find a last-minute appointment at a top-rated salon.

New Booking Flow

With iluk 2.0, users no longer need to browse a list of salons, select the service they want and request to book. Instead, users are now matched with a salon that fits their criteria.

Users indicate what service they need (eg: a gel manicure or a beard trim), their availability (eg: today between 12pm-4pm), their maximum budget, as well as their location and how far they are willing to go for their appointment. Their request is then sent to all the salons that meet that criteria. The user is then matched with the first salon who accepts up their request.

This is a model most people are already familiar with. The same way in which customers are matched with a driver when they use a ride-hailing app, now they are matched with a salon!

Sleeker Design

iluk 2.0 also got a face lift. We wanted the look and feel of our UX/UI to match the premium experience of iluk. So, we redesigned our app to feel premium! We changed iluk to now be in dark mode, with new iconography and visuals. The result is that the iluk app is now sleeker with a more premium feel. Our sleek design will also help us achieve our mission of being the fastest way to find a last-minute appointment at a top-rated salon.

Even More Top-Rated Salons in Montreal

iluk 2.0 also has even more salons! To pull off this new booking flow, we are acutely aware that our users need to have full confidence in our salon offerings. Users will not want to be sent to a salon of iluk’s choosing without the full reassurance that every single salon on iluk is amazing. We also knew that we needed to increase our service area. We are proudly Montreal-based. The app needed to have salons in other key Montreal neighbourhoods outside of Downtown, the Plateau and South-West. We have therefore added over one hundred new salons to the iluk app to match our users with new amazing salons. As always, all salons on the iluk app are vetted and top-rated. They are places we would go ourselves and salons we proudly stand behind.

Change the Game with Us!

We are beyond proud and excited to introduce iluk 2.0 to all of you. It’s been a JOURNEY to say the very least and is the result of countless hours of work.

What’s perhaps most exciting for us, is our belief that iluk 2.0 will completely change the way people find and book hair, beauty and barber appointments going forward. We envision a future where finding a last-minute appointment at an incredible salon is only a few taps away. A future where the entire experience is seamless, quick and contactless. One where you can walk in and out of your appointment worry-free.

We are excited for you to try our open beta of iluk 2.0 for yourselves. Help us build and evolve the product, and change the game with us.

You can learn more about iluk 2.0 here and test the app yourselves by downloading it on iOS and Google Play.

Use the promo code GAMECHANGER for $5 off your first booking and give it a go!

Introducing: iluk 2.0. We can’t wait to hear what you think.

Welcome to the future!

Karine, Stacey & Mayur
iluk co-founders

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