As we move into a second year of Coronavirus restrictions, businesses have become accustomed to exploring a range of options and models to maintain services and contact with customers.
The majority of these options are underpinned by online booking, whether it be appointments for controlled in-store shopping, personalised experiences or virtual interactions.
Fluctuating limits on trading will continue in the short term, though with customers responding positively to the convenience and experience of appointment-based services, it is a model many progressive businesses will focus on developing long term.
So much so, in fact, that a recent study estimated the online booking software market to be worth over $600m by 2027.
Below we look at how your business can use TIMIFY as an end-to-end system to deliver services both new and old, but built around pre-booked appointments.
1. Click and collect
Click and collect was already popular with retailers to compete with online shopping, but with stores closed or restricted during COVID it has become a crucial way to maintain sales and customer satisfaction.
However, the concept fails if queues build up when customers come to collect their items.
TIMIFY’s appointment booking system boasts numerous features to accurately account for the time required for each appointment, as well as buffer times to avoid client crossover or the build-up of queues.
If required, include an additional field in your click and collect booking process to include order numbers, allowing products to be retrieved from stock rooms in advance and save further time.
2. Personalised experiences
“A majority (86%) of respondents who have experienced personalisation say that this influences what they purchase to some extent, including one quarter (25%) saying personalisation significantly influences what they purchase.”Infosys – Rethinking Retail
The holy grail of retail is having a customer enjoy a one-to-one experience that feels special and personalised – it boosts loyalty, word of mouth recommendations and, ultimately, sales.
For fashion retail this could be meeting with a stylist, for technology it could be a support or set-up appointment or in health and wellbeing it might be a tailored treatment session.
With TIMIFY it’s simple to offer a wide range of personalised services across multiple stores and locations, without having to worry about appointment scheduling or resource availability.
Another key element is data – finding out what will feel unique and special for different groups of customers by gathering preferences and recording interactions across multiple touchpoints.
TIMIFY can gather customer preferences as part of the booking process, allowing staff to personalise effectively, while all appointment histories are stored in the database.
Here some examples from our international customers:
3. In-store services
Retailers battling falling footfall increasingly focus on memorable in-store experiences for customers, creating stations for refreshments and pampering, new product samples or trialling new tech.
As COVID rules allow customers back into shops, these kinds of customer-centric extras have become central to a modern store, restoring confidence and enjoyment of in-store shopping.
However, nothing could damage the perception of such services more than crowds, queues and long wait times.
As such, we have seen TIMIFY clients change in-store services from casual, walk-up stations to appointments that can be pre-booked online, or while browsing in-store.
This keeps the focus on a great customer experience without delay or crowds, while giving retailers a system to ensure safety by scheduling time between bookings, to avoid queues and undertake hygiene processes if necessary.
Customise every element of your appointment set-up, from timings and rescheduling options to auto-assigning resources and offering the option for virtual video conferencing when required.
4. Premium shopping experience
In addition to one-to-one personalised services, a digital scheduling system allows retailers to create VIP experiences for special groups via marketing and promotions.
The possibilities are endless depending on your business, but could range from pre-launch access to products, V.I.P. events or even closed-door shopping sprees.
TIMIFY lets you add custom tags to create customer groups according to their profile. Offers can then be tailored to specific groups (e.g., subscribers, V.I.P.s, special interest) and marketed in a personalised manner, keeping experiences relevant and inspiring for individual customers.
Tip: Offer premium experiences virtually, with video-based tutorials, events and product reveals, meet the experts or entertainment – use the TIMIFY apps for Zoom or GoToMeeting.
5. Controlled in-store shopping
“Nearly 60% of US consumers are worried about shopping in stores…with 85% taking additional health precautions“Shopkick survey on changing shopping behaviours
An entirely new challenge brought about by Coronavirus restrictions has been how to safely manage limited numbers of customers in your premises at a given time.
TIMIFY’s new Book and Shop app provides a simple system to set up time-limited slots for specified numbers of customers to shop in your store.
What makes it different from online booking?
When a customer books their time slot in advance, they automatically receive a QR code. This QR code is shown to an employee at the shop entrance who checks them in for their shopping session (the same code is used to check out when they leave). The system gives stores the means to accurately monitor store capacity in real time, while providing a comprehensive and accurate system for contact tracing if needed.
Learn more about the TIMIFY’ Book and Shop App here.
6. Virtual sales appointment / support
When in-store appointments aren’t possible, or a customer prefers the convenience of a virtual option, a video-based consultation can also provide a special customer experience.
The format is perfect for advice, consultation and specialist support and can build a unique bond with customers without them ever visiting a store.
TIMIFY takes care of scheduling video appointments (we partner with Zoom, GoToMeeting and have our own platform Meet Me), but also automatically creates the video meeting and shares joining links with all participants. This leaves your team free to focus on delivering the best appointment possible.
7. Virtual and in-person group events
TIMIFY offers the functionality to easily manage the online booking of events for groups.
This can be used for various purposes, from offering exclusive access to in-store events, managing controlled shopping sessions with limited capacity or for virtual events and live streams.
It’s simple to set maximum attendee numbers, create recurring events, assign and reserve resources and allow guests options to reserve a space for a friend or to pay in advance online.
If you’d like to know more about how to use TIMIFY to bring your store to the next level. Do not hesitate to contact us via our website. Our team will be happy to assist you.