Groupon has released a free beta version of Scheduler, an online tool for small businesses to accept online bookings easily and seamlessly integrate them into the Groupon deals process.
The technology is the fruit of the company’s acquisition of OpenCal, the makers of an online appointment app, last September. The service is available to all small businesses in the US and Canada.
While Groupon asserts that the tool is “the most intuitive and complete free products of its kind,” there are a good number of free scheduling tools out there, though none with the brand recognition of Groupon. The app is designed for customers and shops to more quickly close the loop between offer, scheduling and booking.
“Effectively managing appointments and staffing schedules is critical for small businesses, but it takes a tremendous amount of time and energy,” said David Katz, General Manager, Groupon Scheduler. “Scheduler streamlines these time-consuming tasks and lets business owners dedicate more time to what matters most—developing a thriving business.”
Merchants now have a free way to accept online bookings 24/7, can add a “Book Now” button to their website, and easily integrate the feature into Groupon deals, though the function also works separately from Groupon and doesn’t require any Groupon deals whatsoever.
Merchants get customizable functioning as well as a business dashboard showing realtime stats on total appointments, new customers and percentage of bookable time that’s been filed. The function also enables merchants to easily track Groupon redemptions.
“We began using Groupon Scheduler in February and it has been a great tool to help manage customer appointments and employee schedules,” said Jane Kane, Loving Lotus Center & Spa in Coral Gables, Fla. “It was extremely easy to implement and Groupon Scheduler has helped reduce the amount of time I spend on administrative tasks, giving me more time to do what I enjoy most—work with my clients.”
Customers can use the function to proceed to scheduling right after purchasing a Groupon, and receive booking confirmations as well as email reminders up to 72 hours before scheduled appointments.
The function was first successfully piloted in Sacramento and Miami, the company claimed.
Businesses can sign up for a free version of the beta Scheduler function here.