Getting local businesses on board with any kind of digital marketing or payment service can be a tough sales nut to crack. But how many people really want to call up a local hairdresser or nail salon to book an appointment if an online booking option existed? In our increasingly phone-averse society, online is usually far more popular.
Which is why one entrepreneur has launched MyTime, a site that lets small businesses create profiles and sync their bookings calendars to allow customers to discover their sites and book appointments through the website, eschewing the potential pitfalls of local deal sites like Groupon.
Entrepreneur Ethan Anderson, who was previously a product manager with Google and then sold his last startup Redbeacon to Home Depot in January 2012, started working on MyTime about a year ago and just launched the site this week. MyTime has about $3 million in funding from GRP Partners’ Mark Suster, 500 Startups, Brian Lee, Jason Calacanis, David Tisch, and others.
The site, which is starting out with businesses in L.A. but looking to expand, allows businesses to create a page for their company, sync up with Yelp reviews and ratings, sync appointment calendars, and set deals for particular slots to entice customers to less popular times. The service is free to join, but companies that let MyTime promote their offers through dynamic pricing, Google AdWords, Twitter ads, and other solutions give up 40 percent of revenue from bookings that come through the promotions (excluding existing customers). Anderson said about half the businesses so far have taken advantage of the marketing option.
The site exists right now as primarily a desktop website that’s optimized for mobile, but Anderson said developing native apps is up next. He points out that while local review and ratings sites are common (think Yelp, Foursquare, etc.), the actual booking component is not as well widespread.
“Our vision for the business is that you connect your calendar once and then everything is taken care of. We bring your customers back, and we allow you to later connect with your consumers. And for the customer, it’s the ultimate convenience,” he said. “I feel like no one else has brought together the calendar and the pricing and the actual e-commerce experience. ”