I'm not surprised that someone came out with an online scheduling tool for SMBs. I am a bit surprised that it was GroupOn though. I suspect many smaller companies have tried doing it but found selling to the SMB much more difficult than they expected. Since GroupOn already has penetration in the SMB space they may find it a lot easier, especially if, as it looks, they will be offering it free to any business that runs a GroupOn promotion.
This brings a good amount of value to the business:
- Cheaper appointment booking system
since fewer people will use the phone
- Reminding customers about upcoming appointments
The real value is going to GroupOn though:
- GroupOn can see how busy the businesses are (not just from GroupOns)
- GroupOn can start offering a finer capacity management product - Imagine being able to see a haircut for $10 if you go in the next hour but $20 if you book it for tomorrow.
- GroupOn will have major visibility into the way businesses operate and will be able to relate it back to the customer
I'll be watching this to see how it turns out but I'm glad to see this space innovating. As businesses get more comfortable running their business online it will become much easier for new companies to attack this space.