Appointment booking is crucial for any business. Especially after the pandemic, small businesses are also incorporating online appointment booking to adapt to the new normal. With an estimated growth rate of 13.1% by 2026, there is plenty of appointment booking software and tools out there. With all the available options, users may find it a little difficult to find the best appointment booking plugin for their business.
WooCommerce, being one of the famous eCommerce store platforms installed on nearly 3,876,748 websites (i.e., approximately 0.2% of the total websites) on the internet by the end of 2021, we are going to see how to choose the best appointment booking plugin for a WooCommerce site.
Booking & Appointment Plugin for WooCommerce Vs. Regular Appointment Booking Plugins
When it comes to appointment booking, there are other dedicated plugins that help you add booking functionality easily to your WordPress website. But, most appointment booking plugins won’t be able to handle WooCommerce features.
WooCommerce is a powerful eCommerce platform tool that lets you sell both physical and digital products, run a multi-vendor store, easily run a subscription business, manage and update products. When you choose a simple appointment booking plugin, it acts as an additional feature but won’t act as an extended feature of WooCommerce.
For instance, if you are running a marketplace like Airbnb, where each property owner can edit and update their own individual property details and fares. A normal appointment booking plugin may not be able to treat each owner’s property as a unique product and give special pricing. Whereas in the Booking & Appointment plugin for WooCommerce, special booking offers, separate booking times for each and every individual property can be set.
Making that clear, let’s get into the essential features you must consider while choosing an appointment booking plugin for WooCommerce sites.
1. Easy To Import/Export Booking Data
An important yet overseen feature while selecting an appointment booking plugin for WooCommerce is the import/export option.
If you were manually offering bookings using a calendar, the import feature would make your job simple. Hundreds and thousands of details can be brought into the system with a click of a button.
At the same time, the export option lets you easily share the booking data with other persons within the organization. For example, in a hotel, the booking details can be shared with the hotel housekeeping team so that they can proactively keep the rooms ready before the guests arrive.
2. Flexible Booking Options
Appointment booking is not about adding event data to the calendar; it has to be smart and flexible. Not all businesses are the same. Each business has different requirements, and the booking plugin should meet the business’s needs.
For instance, a spa or a massage center booking calendar should have hour-based bookings. While on the other hand, hotel booking calendars should have a date range features. Some travel businesses provide special prices and discounts on a particular day; the booking calendar should show the special pricing when the user is about to make a booking.
If your appointment booking plugin is able to show the booking details throughout the checkout process, it’s a value-added feature that will improve the overall user experience.
3. Compatibility With Subscription & Recurring Payments
The subscription business model is something all businesses are trying nowadays. Right from food subscription boxes to SAAS companies, many are seeing a positive response. According to a Manifesto Growth Architects report, 70% of business leaders say subscription business models will be key to their prospects in the years ahead.
If you are also having a subscription business or a rental business with recurring payments, make sure that your appointment scheduling plugin is compatible so that you don’t have to adjust the calendar for every subscription cycle.
Sending appointment reminders is crucial for any business. No-show issue is something all types of service and entertainment businesses face. According to 10to8, “businesses without a reminder system will see up to 90% higher no-show rates.”
Though the text reminder method is considered effective, picking an appointment plugin with a wide range of notification/reminder systems like email notifications, social media messenger notifications, and WhatsApp notifications will improve the chances of bringing in the clients.
5. Easy to Cancel and Reschedule
Appointment cancellation/rescheduling should also be as simple as booking an appointment. From a business perspective, last-minute cancellation is vexatious. Imagine a travel ticket got canceled at the last minute; it’s a loss for the transportation company so that only the last-minute cancellation refund is always less.
The appointment booking plugin should have the option to set a minimum time frame beyond which the user can’t cancel the appointment. For special occasions, the website admin should have the option to remove or add the cancellation option.
6. Sync Booking With External Calendar
No matter how sophisticated the booking calendar is, the option to sync bookings with the Google calendar, Outlook calendar, or iCal takes the user experience to the next level.
Most of the plugins provide one-click sync options, but the external calendar they support will vary. Go through the plugin features to see whether the plugin supports the calendar you prefer.
7. Compatible With Product Bundles
The “Grouped Product” feature in the WooCommerce lets the user group all related product and sell them as a bundle to the user. Most salons offer a grooming package in which a customer can get multiple services for a considerably lower price.
The Booking & Appointment plugin for WooCommerce lets the user pick their package/product bundle while booking their appointment. A seamless booking experience, plus, the store owner can promote the packages easily to the audience.
Apart from the above-mentioned point, one feature that a WooCommerce store owner must-see in any plugin they are planning to purchase is the integration & API options and CRM integration options. The integration options and the CRM integration lets the store owner better manage customer data and deliver a more personalized experience.
Hope you liked this article. Did we cover all the important features? Or should we add a feature that you think must be considered while choosing an appointment booking plugin for a WooCommerce store? Share your thoughts in the comment section.