After purchasing OpenCal, the makers of an automated online appointment scheduling app, back in September of last year for an undisclosed amount, Groupon quickly went about incorporating the technology. Before long, the company had announced Groupon Scheduler, a service designed to make it easy for both customers and merchants to quickly close the loop between offer, booking, and scheduling. As Groupon looks to build its perceived and actual value for merchants, the OpenCal acquisition, and subsequent launch of Scheduler, made a lot of sense.
Since then, the company has been pretty quiet about Scheduler, but that changed today, as Groupon announced a free beta version of Scheduler, available to all SMBs in the U.S. and Canada.
Groupon claims that Scheduler now represents one of the most “intuitive and complete free products of its kind,” and while that’s not exactly true, as there are plenty of intuitive, cheap online scheduling solutions out there, combined with the Groupon brand clout, and its already existing suite of marketing tools, this is a good deal for small businesses. Merchants now have a free means by which they can accept online bookings (24/7), the ability to add a “Book Now” button to their website, along with easily integrating the service into the Groupon deals process. Another part of Scheduler’s appeal: Merchants can use it to manage all online booking for their business, whether offering Groupon deals or not.
Merchants can customize Scheduler and take advantage of a client list and a business dashboard, which show realtime stats on total appointments, new customers, and percentage of bookable time filled. Importantly, Scheduler also gives merchants the ability to track Groupon redemptions.
On the customer side, once a Groupon has been purchased, they can then proceed right to Scheduler and make an appointment. The service sends customers immediate booking confirmations, as well as email reminders up to 72 hours before scheduled appointments, according to the release.
According to Groupon’s statement, the product successfully piloted in Sacramento and Miami, and is now ready to roll out nationwide — in beta, of course.
For more, check out Scheduler at home here.