Last week I reported on the new service, Leavefeedback.org that elegantly closes the circle of consumers and small businesses. The New York Times reports on a new class of small business products that further brings local and smb’s together: Making Appointments for Doctor or Dinner that further embeds the internet in the lives of clients and businesses. The web based appointment generating services work on two different pricing models, a monthly subscription ($20 to $30)and a per appointment transaction fee ($3.50).
Greg Sterling is quoted in the article as saying: â€œThis is something thatâ€™s been needed for a while, but no one has been able to do it successfully,â€ said Greg Sterling, of Sterling Marketplace Intelligence, an online consultancy. â€œWith these new services, there are a lot of circumstances where it can work quite well for both the business and the consumer.â€
The monthly subscription model of Hourtown would lend itself to higher volume appointment scheduling that would be more likely in larger, more tech savvy cities. If a business could schedule one appointment per day via this method it would put the scheduling cost at $1 per, a very appealing price point. At this price, if the volume were there, barbers and hairdressers with a lower average transaction amount could participate.
The per transaction model offered by BookingAngel would appeal to lower volume but higher average transaction amount clients like Doctors. This would work even in rural settings, assuming that the volume was high enough to offset the learning curve.
Given the current pricing models most rural businesses would be unlikely to benefit either due to high per transaction costs or very low scheduling volume. Going foward on-line appointments services could be used by a large number of local businesses in many markets and industry segments. Assuming that these services are easy enough to learn and provide significant value to the business in the form of more business or happier clients it will be interesting to see if and when these become widespread.