Tattoos date back to Neolithic times, making them one of the oldest forms of body modification that is still readily practiced to this day. In fact, at no other point in time were tattoos more popular than they are today.

More than 1/3 all people around the world have at least one tattoo, and there are some countries—the United States being among them—where nearly half the population is tattooed.

“Tattoos and body art in the U.S. have soared in popularity lately, especially amongst Millennials, fueling an industry comprised of 20,000 tattoo parlors or studios,” says John LaRosa, the research director and author of U.S. Tattoo Parlors, Tattoo Removal & Body Piercing Services: An Industry Analysis. “The industry, which also includes body piercing and tattoo removal, is estimated to be worth $3billion, and is growing strongly”.

Even though tattoos have gone mainstream and are now worn by people from all walks of life, including Wall Street loan managers, middle-school teachers, and suburban soccer moms, many tattoo parlors have remained stuck in time, still relying on the same outdated business technology that was available decades ago, when tattoos were still a huge taboo, and those who were adorned by them were considered unemployable.

What is Tattoo Tech?

Tattoo tech, the shortening of the term tattoo technology, is an emerging industry that aims to use modern technology to improve activities in the tattoo industry.

In a broad sense, tattoo tech encompasses both the business side of things as well as state-of-the-art tattooing techniques, such as augmented-reality tattoos, microblading, 3D printed tattoos, or tattoos with biosensors and embedded microchips. In a narrow sense, tattoo tech refers to various business management software solutions for tattoo parlors of all sizes, which is how we’re using it in this article.

The Need for Tattoo Tech

Most tattoo businesses are relatively small but remarkably complex.

Even before opening its front door to customers for the first time, a tattoo business needs to devote a lot of time to offline and online marketing. When customers start coming, it’s important to have an effective strategy in place for managing relationships and interactions with them. These days, customers expect more payment options than just cash, so tattoo businesses should also accept major types of credit or debit cards.

There’s also a staff management problem because most tattoo businesses employ multiple tattoo artists, some as apprentices and guest artists and some as regulars. Tattoo businesses need the ability to easily determine who is scheduled when and how much they should be paid for the delivery of their service. Payments themselves are rarely fixed and are almost always open to negotiation.

Of course, it’s possible to do all this with a pen and paper, but there are many reasons why more and more tattoo parlors are embracing business management software solutions instead—with online reviews being chief among them. Indeed, it doesn’t take more than a couple of negative online reviews to irreparably damage the reputation of a tattoo parlor.

Digital tattoo tech tools can help tattoo shop owners ensure that all customers leave satisfied and spread the word to their friends and colleagues.   

We understand that it would be prohibitively expensive for small proprietors to build digital tattoo tech tools in-house, most likely costing thousands of dollars. That’s why we have been developing a comprehensive suite of digital tattoo tech tools that tattoo parlors of all sizes can effortlessly implement to better manage their day-to-day activities and rise above their competition.

Solving Problems with Tattoo Tech

Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways tattoo businesses are using technology to solve their business problems:

Point of Sale

A dependable point of sale system with modern features should be the cornerstone of every tattoo parlor. The best point of sale systems can accept multiple payment methods, including cash, debit and credit cards, and mobile payments. They are PCI-DSS-compliant and employ end-to-end encryption to protect customers’ data while in transit.

Built-in support for gift cards is a welcome feature that gives customers yet another reason to come back, while a companion app for iOS and Android allows tattoo artists to process transactions with nothing but a smartphone and a tiny mobile credit card reader.

Online Booking

With an online booking system, a business can be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It allows customers to make a reservation that fits into their schedule without talking with the tattoo shop’s employee.

Apart from being convenient for customers, an online booking system also has many benefits for the business that implements it. By gathering necessary customer information and automatically storing it in a database, it makes it very easy for tattoo shop owners to manage all active bookings and see at a glance whose services are in demand the most. By requiring customers to pay a non-refundable reservation fee, an online booking system can dramatically reduce no-shows and eliminate all gaps in tattoo artists’ schedules.


An online booking system is essentially an automated online receptionist, but tattoo shops also need a way how to schedule walk-ins, find out who’s available and when, and see what’s coming up on a simple dashboard.

Scheduling is one of the most popular applications of tattoo tech because it greatly eases the business side of running a tattoo shop and allows artists to focus on their art, instead of wasting their valuable time looking for lost memos and calling scheduled customers to verify their information. A scheduling system additionally makes it easy to reschedule customers if they can’t make their appointment due to unforeseen circumstances.

Reminders and Confirmations

With effective online booking and scheduling systems in place, there’s no reason not to implement automated reminders and confirmations to further reduce no-shows. Appointment-reminder systems have been found highly effective in the public sector, and tattoo shop owners who have implemented them speak highly of them. Just like with so many examples of tattoo tech, reminders and configurations benefit both customers and business owners, which is why it’s such a no-brainer to implement them.

Digital Waivers

Virtually all reputable tattoo businesses require their customers to sign a consent form to get a tattoo or body piercing. From the point of view of the customer, the process ends with the signature, but it looks very different from the point of view of the tattoo business.

The consent form must be properly archived, which inevitably involves its digitalization and upload to a third-party cloud storage server. Digital waivers can greatly simplify the process, reducing it into a series of simple taps. With nothing but an iPad or some other touch-enabled electronic device, tattoo businesses can not only improve their efficiency but also cut down on their paper waste and help protect the environment.

Customer Relationship Management

Often referred to simply as CRM, customer relationship management can be described as a strategy for managing an organization’s relationships and interactions with both existing and potential customers. Businesses of all sizes implement a customer relationship management strategy and solutions to stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability.

According to statistics, 70% of those who have tattoos have more than one of them, and 20% have more than five.

In other words, it makes a lot of sense for tattoo shops to stay in touch with their customers and turn them into loyal ambassadors, which is something that’s very difficult to do without a proper customer relationship management system in place.

Mobile Apps

Being true digital natives, the members of Generation Z use mobile phones for all activities imaginable, and they expect businesses to be available on all major mobile platforms.

Mobile apps present a fantastic opportunity for tattoo shops to extend their reach and present their work in a more interactive manner.

Mobile apps also pave the ground for the visualization of tattoos using augmented reality, allowing customers to see how they would look in real-life before they become forever embedded under their skin. Thanks to modern mobile frameworks and platforms, the cost of app development has decreased dramatically, making mobile apps affordable even for small tattoo parlors with just a couple of employees.

The Future of Tattoo Tech

The future of tattoo tech is certainly bright.

Tech-savvy millennials are most likely of all generational cohorts to have a tattoo, and it won’t take a long time before they will be replaced by the members of the Generation Z, who are characterized by their embrace of social media and a strong preference for edgy products and services.

The Generation Z will likely popularize entirely new, technology-driven forms of tattoos, such as electronic tattoos made of highly flexible circuits and embedded microchips or augmented reality tattoos capable of transforming the human body into fantastical works of art through the lens of a smartphone. It’s quite possible that there will be other reasons for people to get tattoos in the not too distant future, such as to gain real-time visibility into vital health metrics or as an alternative authentication method.

Tattoo tech will also continue reshaping the business-side of the tattoo industry, helping tattoo businesses deliver better service to their customers and making tattoos even more accessible to mainstream audiences.


Regardless of whether you’re just looking to open your first tattoo studio or already own one, you should take advantage of modern technology solutions to ensure its long-term success.

Digital tattoo tech tools make it very easy to manage all aspects of a thriving tattoo business, allowing you to keep track of thousands of customers to extract valuable insights that you can apply to gain an important competitive advantage over tattoo businesses that have remained stuck in time.

The good news is that we’re now witnessing the emergence of a new generation ofbusiness technology for the tattoo industry, called tattoo technology or just tattootech (sometimes spelled as tattootech). Companies like Marked are propellingtattoo technology into the 21st century and helping tattoo artists capture allopportunities and better serve their clients by providing business managementsoftware that artists can easily incorporate into their workflow.