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Study: 40% of Online Appointment Scheduling Happening After-Hours

Gears Machine

Online booking platform Pingup compiled data from Q1 2016 bookings across its local publisher network and exposed some interesting trends and insights. These findings are available in an infographic; however I’ve summarized most of them below.

Online bookings grow 30%: Pingup said that online bookings have grown 30% month over month in Q1. While this is certainly good news for Pingup, the more important point is that it reflects growing consumer acceptance and interest in online scheduling.

Roughly 12% of clicks turn into appointments: the company reported that 11.9% of clicks on “book an appointment” buttons resulted in scheduled appointments.

Scheduling happening 24/7: the company observed that 60% of bookings were happening during business hours and 40% after hours. There are two points here — presumably some percentage of the 40% of bookings happening after hours would be lost but for the booking button. And among the 60% during the day, a percentage of that group doesn’t want to get on the phone and make a call. It would be interesting to see a demographic breakdown of those customers. Are the mostly Millennials?

Mobile vs. desktop: Pingup found that almost exactly 2/3 of online bookings were happening on the PC and 1/3 on mobile devices.

45 hours ahead: the average lead time between booking and the fulfillment of the requested service was 44.8 hours

Men vs. women: the gender breakdown was also very interesting — 68% of online bookers were women.

A few things stand out here for me:

  • The after-hours bookings (40%)
  • The gender breakdown (dominated by women)
  • The relatively low number of “book an appointment” clicks that actually turn into bookings (one would assume high intent here)

Pingup argues that these data reflect a growing consumer preference for clicks/online tools vs. calls. There’s probably some merit to that point. However I don’t necessarily think it reflects call aversion or avoidance. It’s more about consumer convenience in my mind. I believe that calls and clicks in this case support and complement one another — a kind of local “omnichannel” strategy.

What are your thoughts about this data? Does anything strike you about the Pingup numbers? And how “mandatory” do you think online booking for local businesses will become in the next year or two?

3 Responses to “Study: 40% of Online Appointment Scheduling Happening After-Hours”

  1. Low conversion rate isn’t a surprise. I believe it was Marketo who had a statistic that showed that 96% of visitors to a website are not ready to buy. Plus, SMB websites are notoriously terrible. They are outdated, don’t always provide information customer is looking for, and lacks social proof to help nudge visitors to convert. Having a button doesn’t mean people will use it.

    On the other hand, SaaS companies that offer online bookings should be held responsible to some degree for low conversion rates. They are the ones who make UI decisions, so if someone clicks on the button but does not complete the process than they need to work on improving booking process for the users. In ecommerce world, we always try to make changes to checkout process to decrease cart abandonment. Not sure why this would be different. It’s a checkout process too, regardless if they pay or not at the end. User experience matters, and such low conversion rate shows it sucks right now.

    SMBs don’t know to ask these questions of their booking vendors, thinking their website or marketing or business sucks since no one is booking appointments. When in reality customers might simply hate the booking process and leave.

    Food for thought.

  2. Greg Sterling says:

    I’m not directly familiar with the booking experience so I can’t speak to its usability. Presumably however when someone clicks on that booking link they’re “ready to book.” So the low number is a bit surprising.

  3. If we flip that conversion number, now we know their “booking abandonment” rate: 88.1%

    Can you imagine ecommerce business with 88% shopping cart abandonment rate? This is one of the reasons why I don’t send leads to a booking page, but instead ask them to enter their name, email and how can we help field. Only after they submit that information, do they get booking page. And if they don’t book it, I follow up until they do. Because I got their contact information. I simply applied shopping cart abandonment tactics to bookings. Capture information first to bring them back if they leave.

    In some cases, I don’t even let them see booking page until I review request. This is usually for free consults, some people need a question answered in an email and not a whole consultation over the phone.

    This is easy to do on your own website, but when you have no control over external websites (like YP booking button or Yelp), then you’re out of luck and these vendors need to focus on helping businesses capture leads even if they did not book an appointment.

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