Groupon trial online booking
Groupon launched a pilot for a new service Wednesday that lets customers independently book appointments with small businesses online, regardless of whether or not those appointments are associated with a Groupon deal.
The trial version of “Scheduler” launched with merchants in a couple of cities in the US who are running Groupon deals. These businesses can embed a “book now” button on their websites that allows customers to reserve an available time slot for service (or cancel one) online.
Based on an appointment scheduling tool that was acquired in September, the program can handle deal vouchers, multiple locations, separate staff schedules, different services and appointment reminder emails.
The current trial is limited and most definitely targeted at small business but critically it’s the start of moving online booking to the centre of the transaction process for a whole new sector of businesses that traditionally doesn’t work well with e-Commerce.
Groupon has had a rough time since it’s recent IPO and even though it’s current value (really?) is somewhere north of $10bn it’s still attracting a lot of concerned comment about it’s losses, how it funds payment to older investors by raising new money (Ponzi scheme?) and it’s somewhat unusual accounting procedures.