Another Local Site (Repair.com) Introduces Online Scheduling

Consumer repair site and merchant lead-gen marketplace Repair.com has introduced online scheduling. It looks like this:

This is interesting to me as a reflection of a move toward online scheduling (and other operations) for SMBs.  While online scheduling was stalled for several years, it now seems to be picking up steam again. Sites like DemandForce (Intuit), RedBeacon (HomeDepot), ZocDoc, Groupon and others are giving it renewed visibility.

There’s a huge (capital H) opportunity for Facebook to make its business pages more useful with an online scheduling option for SMBs. However, a majority of SMBs still aren’t ready to participate in something like this even though consumers would like to have the capacity to schedule appointments online.

Back to Repair.com: One of the challenges of a system like this is developing confidence in the business being selected. Most savvy consumers will probably click over to Yelp and check out reviews for potential service providers. As you can see above, Repair.com has its own scoring system (explained above). But that system is not really established or transparent enough to truly inspire confidence.

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9 Responses to “Another Local Site (Repair.com) Introduces Online Scheduling”

  1. Bill Lange says at

    The online scheduling space is definitely picking up steam.  

    Agree Facebook is a huge opportunity.  Though, from an SMB’s perspective, FB is one of many facets of their online presence (website, mobile, directories, etc.) and a scheduling solution needs to span them all.

  2. Greg Sterling says at

    Agree. There are third parties (e.g., schedulicity and others) that can cover multiple points of presence. 

  3. Bill Lange says at

    Yes.  Full Slate covers multiple points of presence, as well.

    We generate a landing page for customers that some of our customers use in lieu of a website.  Our Facebook widget is clean and easy and adopts the FB look-and-feel.  Our widgets can be added to pretty much any online presence so clients don’t have to switch contexts (e.g. leave your website or directory listing) when booking. And our JavaScript widget is designed to inherit the look-and-feel (fonts, colors, etc.) of whichever site you place it on, so it blends in beautifully. 

  4. Lowell Manners says at

    Enjoyed your article.

    Agreed that many SMBs are still not ready to make the leap to online scheduling, however I think that’s changing fast (I don’t have hard data to back this up, but I suspect the % of SMBs who would seriously consider online scheduling has climbed significantly even in the past 12 months).

    The bottom line is if I’m a potential client browsing Yelp or Google, and I see a business that lets me book online, that business has a better chance of me scheduling an appointment with them than any (otherwise) equally qualified competitor who doesn’t offer online scheduling.

    Since there’s a business advantage to be gained, I think SMBs will move en masse to online scheduling sooner rather than later.

  5. Greg Sterling says at

    Lowell:

    That especially becomes true of a number of publishers and other SMB “enablers” make it easy for them to adopt online scheduling

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  7. Brad Simonis says at

    I have to agree with Lowell. The ease and immediacy of booking online is a great advantage for forward-thinking SMB’s. However, my personal experience is that a good portion of the SMB’s we work with still fight even appointment requests via a form on their website that comes to them in an email. It is so frustrating to watch them turn down business because they are stuck in their ways.

  8. Sam Critchley says at

    Over here in Europe we’ve got Libersy selling mostly through directories/yellow pages companies like BT and Swisscom. Not sure who else is active in the market.

  9. Eaco says at

    We agree with Brad. Its for that reason that we’ve put a lot of effort into building a unified business management platform, that brings together all of the different elements of their business needs (lead generation, lead management, business management, etc).

    Once you have general acceptance from a business owner that all aspects of their business are going into one system, its then much easier to introduce new elements to their business such as scheduling and booking systems. In particular, this helps overcome the increasing fragmentation of marketing products offered to SMB’s.

  10. Lizliz says at

    I definitely agree that Online scheduling is the new competitive advantage for the e-marketing. Now a days people want the faster and easier and safer services.  

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