E-bookings, E-commerce, E-reservations – Enabling business at any time
In this series, we’ll be answering questions which we get asked by clients on a regular basis, as well as dispelling some myths.
We believe that you should be in control of your digital presence, leading your business or organisation.
Look out for further topics in the coming weeks covering SEO, Legal considerations, security, social media, Pay per Click, growing readership.
First, the background…
So, our business makes transactions. We sell things. Happens to be digital services. Many of our clients also sell things. From furniture to gaskets, and from gym classes to hire cars, and everything in between.
So, let’s have a little look at some site visitor stats for a couple of sites.
Business 1 – Car & van hire company. Not huge visitor numbers – about 200 a week. On analysis though, 48% of visits are between 6pm and 7am – when they are closed. With no booking system, bounce rate is high, at 75%. Adding in a booking system has increased bookings by 18% through out of hours transactions
Business 2 – Furniture Sales business – Now they do have ecommerce. However, they had a high rate of unfulfilled orders. Adding in an online chat system has reduced the problem and seen fewer failed orders.
Ecommerce, online bookings & payments
We get a huge range of clients using our services. Let’s have a look at the reasons why you should consider enabling people to reach you when you’re not able to answer the phone, and some examples how this has helped grow their business.
More than half of internet bookings or purchases are made within the hour of searching.
That’s quite a staggering figure.
Many smaller businesses dont have the manpower to answer every call, make every sale, or take every reservation 24 hours a day. With increased multiple leisure activities such as internet browsing while watching the TV, happening in the evenings, it is vital that you can respond quickly, or even better, carry out the transaction or booking with your customer online.
Lets have a look at a few of the examples for businesses.
The first, and foremost obvious one is online selling. You can set up an online store to sell physical goods, virtual goods or services. Payment runs through a third party, such as Paypal, or Stripe, with fees as low as 1.4%. Orders are emailed to the business for dispatch, and customer notes communicated back to them with delivery confirmation times.
Case study - New business selling sustainably sourced firewood.
With a new business, it’s important to hit the ground running, and get sales in. With online advertising key, their website had to look good, and be easy to transact with.
Boosting the business with some facebook advertising to a local audience, their first sale was within an hour of going live, and having added a competition to share the facebook page, they have reached over 12,000 people. Only one week old, and turnover is healthy in the run up to Christmas.
Healthcare specialist bookings
Taking new client reservations, confirming appointments and sending reminders can all be taken care of by online reservation systems.
Case study - Chiropractic Doctor in North Oxfordshire
Having moved recently to the area, juggling parental duties and chiropractor services, experienced chiroporctor Dr Mel wanted to grow her patient register. Problem is that if she’s working, then she can’t answer the phone as there are clients there. If she’s not working, then she’s doing other ‘mum’ things; picking the kids up, sorting the house, and the lyriad of errands, taxi duties, and other things any busy working parent has to do..
Her website is already established, with local adverts in various places, so getting visits. When we looked at the stats, it turned out that 1/3rd of her website visits were after 8pm, and before 8am. People are settling down by the telly, and deciding to book an appointment, or waking up in pain in the night, and thinking that they need to get an answer to their problems.
So, we installed an online booking system on her website. This allows for online bookings, integrated with her diary, as well as patient contact details to be linked together. Careful not to add in patient notes, and mindful of keeping data secure, the system has already given Mel 6 new clients in 4 weeks. When questionned, they all said that the online booking was a critical factor in their decision to use her services. Once the first visit has happened, Mel completes futher appointment bookings herself with the client present. The client receives a text message and email 24 hours before the next booking, with a link to cancel if they need to. This is saving hugely on missed appointments.
Mel wont look back, and is delighted with her new system, fully integrated with the website, and with notifications to her phone of any new bookings, or changes made by clients, she can manage to organise her business in the tiny gaps a working mum gets.
See the site here: http://activefamilychiropractic.co.uk/bookings/
Sports club bookings & membership payment
Organisations run by volunteers using paper based membership forms may benefit from online applications, and automated payaments.
Case study - members tennis club
Banbury West End Tennis wanted to move membership renewals online, and make the process of managing payments easy.
A combination of a tailored contact form takes people through the membership process with various choices allowing the form to guide them through completion. It made a complex membership form appear simpler. Go Cardless payments then manages direct debit payments notifying admins of any exceptions or failed payments.
Hair salon bookings
Sam owns three salons. Making best use of all of her stylists is imperative, and having to have a receptionist in each salon to answer the phone is not feasible. They simply cannot leave their clients to take reservations.
About the author
Rob has been creating websites since 2007. After leaving a career at commercial director level in high street retail and hosptality, Rob has focussed his skills on helping others reach out more via digital media. With over 500 websites so far, he has helped organisations with websites, digital security, online advertising, CRM systems, as well as market research, benchmarking, and other business advice.
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