Maxipage: Appointments as Foundation for SMB Marketing Services
Appointments are seen as the next frontier of e-commerce and advertising, as online and mobile-centric consumers increasingly look for the immediacy of booking electronically.
The appointment space is a competitive one, however, as several companies jump on the opportunity — although some are working special niches, such as medical and auto dealers. We’ve previously written about such appointment-centric vendors as Full Slate, BookFresh and Appointment City. Maxipage, another contender, is one we’ve also watched with interest — in part because its CMO is Jean-Pascal Lion, the former YPG executive.
Lion says his interest in appointments stems from his role as a spinning coach and his work with Studio Cycle, which covers 18 gyms in Quebec. After a year, Maxipage is now powering spinning schedules for 1,500 customers. Almost all of them use the online interface, although 5 percent reserve the old fashioned way — by phone.
Customers book their appointment, get calendar updates for multiple platforms (Outlook, iCal, BlackBerry) and receive a confirmation and an alert reminder. “Users really love that,” says Lion. In addition to Studio Cycle, Maxipage is handling appointments on a white-label basis for a wide range of verticals in Canada and the U.S.
But Maxipage, which has 10 people and operates from angel funding, can go further than basic appointment related info, which generally costs about $50 per location. It offers both “lite” versions and full versions that include a wide range of local business functionality, such as request for quotes, offer/coupon publishing and reservations. It also connects via Facebook Connect, and is available in French, English and Spanish.
Such functionality makes it ideal for partners such as Yellow Pages publishers that have strong sales channels for local verticals, says Lion, who considers sales a critical key to success.
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I think more broadly, as local begins to evolve into verticalized-local, these sorts of non-performance related add on products for SMB’s will begin to take more share from traditional SEM/lead selivery solutions. Appt. setting, event finders, assisted-search, etc, are all possible by-product industries to the local boom.