Google is flooding small businesses with thousands of new customers thanks to the appointment-booking tool it released last year. Reserve with Google helps businesses like salons, gyms, massage parlors, and restaurants connect with new customers by providing a platform where potential customer can book an appointment in just a few clicks.
Best of all, with the intuitive local interface Google has built up across the country it’s really easy for consumers to find products and services near them. About 75% of the bookings made on Google’s platform are new customers, as reported in a recent Reuters article. This is likely because when people are looking for a new place to, say, get their haircut, they’ll often do a Google search first.
According to Frank Martin, spokesman for Buenos Aires-based Restorando, which works with restaurants in Latin America, Google attracted nearly 15,000 diners who spent about $270,000 in the first few weeks of the service’s activation.
This is huge news for many small business owners looking to attract new people to their locations. There are a few issues, however, that the software can cause. Where many local businesses have a sort of “corner shop” feel, businesses who become inundated with traffic from Google may start to feel more like mass consumer spots.
“Am I losing control of my business a little bit?” says George Mardigian of Reserve bookings to his Oakland, Calif. gym Flex Fitness. “We’re a neighborhood gym, and we want to keep things sort of close to the vest.”
Also, while these bookings are great for driving traffic to restaurants and hair salons, there are a number of businesses that aren’t quite the right fit for the tool. Medical bookings, for example, are still too complicated to perform on a platform as simplistic as Google’s. Yet, by 2019, 64% of patients will be using online booking systems to schedule appointments.
Additionally, services like construction are too complicated for use on Google’s platform. At this point, Google hasn’t hinted at any intention to expand their booking software to cover a wider array of businesses.