Appointy is an online scheduling software for small and medium sized businesses to help them grow exponentially. Today, you can buy a movie ticket, flight or train ticket online. But what about your Salon, Spa, Doctor, Dentist, Hot Air balloon ride or even your pet groomer? Appointy is helping these businesses start scheduling online and fill their open times by reaching their customers faster. The company was founded by Nemesh Singh(CEO) along with a home grown 4 key team members.
In the good old days, if you needed a haircut, you would walk down to the nearest salon, wait for a while if you happen to go on the weekend, and get the service you desired. Need to see a doctor? No problem – there is one near the market, you go there and wait for your turn, and get treated. Needed a tuition? You talk to a few friends to find a good teacher, go there to register yourself for a year, and you are all set.
Things have changed over the years:
- Service consumers like us have much less time and patience to wait for the service to be delivered
- ‘Talk to a few friends’ has gone away as a reference mechanism because living close-by doesn’t mean knowing each other
- Services (at least in developed economies like US) have become very expensive, service providers have proliferated, and perhaps most importantly, Internet has penetrated most lives.
So today, if you need a haircut, you search online for businesses in your neighborhood, you look for the one with best references/recommendations, you call up to make sure you will have 0 waiting time when you arrive, and you use your smartphone to entertain you if you do have to wait.
Need a doctor? You go to one or more sites that specialize in doctor search and use their recommendations and appointment engine to book a slot online.
Need a tuition? You will look for one that offers trial classes, you will compare prices in addition to credibility of the teachers, research their past results (which are all available online thanks to user generated content), and only then purchase the services – and you do all this without leaving the comfort of your home.
As you can see, in good old days, you bought the service at the time of consuming the service; you walked in, waited in line, got a haircut, and made the payment. Or you walked in, waited in line, got a prescription written by the doctor, you made the payment. Today, you buy the service (you may or may not make the payment at that point), and arrive to receive the service only when it is your time, thus cutting all the waiting time. Buying the service and consuming the service now happen at different points in time.
If you are a business that sells services to consumers – doctor, dentist, career coach, salon, spa – this behavioral change is very impactful. It means that people want to complete the first part of transaction (buy the service, or at least buy the right to get a service by booking an appointment) without arriving at your business – they will transact through phone, mail, and other technological means rather than being physically present at your business. Technology is disrupting the service purchase, and it increasingly resembles a product purchase.
The act of purchasing a service is usually called ‘book an appointment’. I think this is a very misleading description – it hides the commerce part of the act. Given the fact that the business sets aside a slot of time to serve you when you ‘book an appointment’, this in fact should be no different than ordering a printer on Flipkart or Amazon, or ordering in your nearby BestBuy (if you are in US) and driving down to pick it up from the store.
Appointy offers online scheduling for small and medium sized businesses. Here is a better way of saying this: Appointy is the platform through which small and medium sized businesses sell their services. They have helped their clients sell services worth $350M so far and do about $2M sale a day.
Today, Appointy handles 15K appointments and signs up 70 new businesses every single day and this number keeps growing rapidly. They have about 60K businesses using their platform for their scheduling needs, and they are on almost every major street of US.
Appointy works seamlessly on devices and web – experience on mobile has been specifically designed to fit that form factor – to support their clients who increasingly want to do things on the go.
It is interesting how the appointment product, that Appointy sells, came about. They have been building an appointment tool since 2006, as plug-in to popular CMS platforms (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.). This was in response to the need for a scheduling page for many businesses who used these CMS to create their website. Idea was to give it for free, and generate revenue from consulting and development projects from these clients.
It didn’t have much traction initially. When Appointy created another product – a free plug-in to add Facebook ‘Like’ support on a site – they used this plug-in to advertise their scheduling plug-in. The Facebook plugin saw 10K downloads in no time, and the word spread about their appointment tool too.
During 2010-2011, the company went into a financial crunch as the development projects dried up. While looking for other sources of revenue, they realized they had about 20K businesses using Appointy, for free!. They had continued to enhance the software based on customer feedback, and it now had a healthy adoption in the market. They also started noticing the mails from some customers enquiring about paid plans – businesses wanted to get better service and support and they were willing to pay for it!
Company pivoted and made Appointy their core product. They created paid plans and started actively developing the product for multiple verticals, while keeping it a generic product. And rest, as they say, is history!
You can read rest of the article at ProductNation.
Mrityunjay Kumar is Founder and Chief Career Coach at Career Bloom. He is also working as Course Director and Career Advisor at Sunstone Business School.
Editor’s Note: This story first appeared on ProductNation and has been republished with permission.