TimeTrade recently announced our partnership with Google – via integration with the tech giant’s “Reserve with Google” program. This is an entirely new way to let customers discover and book personalized appointments and classes in retail stores and local businesses directly from Google search and map results.
Why is this big?
Quite simply, because search is going to change – and for the better. And TimeTrade, through this partnership with Google, will be a major facilitator of this change.
The Reserve with Google launch last year was limited. Google’s early focus was on U.S.-based spas, haircuts, yoga classes, etc. – basically personal services and SMB customers.
Since that time, Google has expanded this program to more types of businesses and larger retailers, and also into new geographical areas. In the very near future, when people use search with Google or use Google Maps, they’ll increasingly notice a booking button. This is just the beginning. Check out how it looks for Sephora:
In the past, when Google has launched similar services, the approach has been to expand services from baseline to more elaborate capabilities. Take airline booking for example – Google initially provided basic listings, then schedules, and on to integration with your own calendar (showing reservations), and finally to reservations as part of their expanded capabilities.
Bookings through Reserve with Google should reliably follow the same pattern. We can expect bookings to become an expected search result for any local business. For businesses like retail, this will have a measurable impact.
Retailers tell us an incredible insight: walk-in traffic has a fraction of the conversion likelihood and lower average transaction value of customers who schedule appointments in advance. One retailer shared with us that their appointments have a 3 times higher likelihood of purchase than walk-ins.
With TimeTrade’s wide breadth of customers in larger retail, financial services, and technology companies, we can potentially “change the face of search” by creating a new expectation: that from search, you can book a personal meeting.
Think of it this way: the first wave of appointment-based booking was when Apple Retail stores first socialized the idea of getting an appointment in advance with the Genius Bar. This not only created the expectation of a great customer experience but positioned the product as a “must have” item.
Of course, this has been a core capability of TimeTrade, even before the Apple Genius Bar.
Reserve with Google is the next big development – potentially the “second wave” of appointment-based personalization. In this new era, consumers will expect that search helps them book appointments and location-based businesses will benefit from these more engaged prospects.