Google My Business will begin allowing service businesses to book appointments soon. This includes allowing Google My Business merchants to add “online appointments,” “online classes,” or “online estimates” attributes to their Business Profiles.
The more information a business can provide online to its customers, the better they can serve them. And more than ever this is highlighting the importance of having a digital presence.
In the announcement, Jen Fitzpatrick, Senior Vice President, Google Maps, explains the goal is to “Help businesses get the support they need, adapt their operations, and quickly update customers about their latest changes.” And this includes implementing new features and helping businesses communicate their latest services, operating hours, options and promotions. And increasingly digital technology is making this information readily available to customers.
Not only is digital technology making this possible, but it is also ensuring small businesses stay operational during this time. A recent report by the Connected Commerce Council in partnership with Google reveals as much.
According to the report, close to a third or 31% said they would close all or part of their business without digital tools. Furthermore, 70% say these tools have been useful with another 74% adding they will return to normal in another six months. So, what are the new tools from Google?
The one thing the pandemic is doing is making small business owners aware of the importance of having an online presence. With that in mind, the new features from Google are going to make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers.
As a verified merchant on Google My Business, you can now offer more ways to serve your customers. You can take online appointments, hold online classes, and give estimates. For now, you can add these features using Google My Business, but in the coming weeks, it will be visible on your Business Profiles in Search and Maps.
Google is making this possible by expanding Reserve with Google to help merchants take appointment bookings online. Once a business is part of the platform, it will allow customers to take online bookings directly on Google. They can then share the details on how to pay and take part in the online event using a video platform.
Your Business Information
Access is another benefit of having an online presence. Your customers can quickly find out key operational information so they can come to your place of business or order online. However, you have to keep this information up to date to fully take advantage of it.
The new tools will help you inform your customers about how and when you are operating. You can mark “Temporarily Closed,” “Reopen,” and “Secondary Hours,” directly on Google Search and Maps.
If you are a small business in the restaurant industry, Google has added more third-party ordering providers. This now makes it possible for customers to order delivery and takeout from an additional 25,000 restaurants directly on Google. Additionally, Google will also add options for adding your preferred online ordering partners on your Business Profiles.
This particular feature comes as restaurants struggle with processing fees from third-party delivery services. By being able to specify the ordering platform you prefer, you can choose the most cost effecting company on your delivery for you and your customers.
To date, this is responsible for more than 3 million restaurants changing their dining features in order to adapt to the pandemic. This includes the ability to add support links to their business profile.
Let’s face it, small businesses are hurting. And as part of the community they serve, there are many people in those communities who want to help.
Goggle is making this easier by allowing businesses to add support links directly to their Business Profiles on Google. If you chose to do so you can add, one or both, donation and gift card links on your profile. Using these links, your customers can donate directly or buy a gift card.
Goggle is partnering with PayPal and GoFundMe for the donations. For the gift cards, you can use the eligible partners from Google including Square, Toast, Clover and Vagaro.
This article, “Google My Business Allowing Service Businesses to Book Appointments Online” was first published on Small Business Trends