SOURCE: MerchantCircle

MerchantCircle

November 18, 2010 09:00 ET

MerchantCircle Launches Appointment Scheduler to Enable Free Online Booking Capability for Its Members

First Offering From Recent TimeBridge Acquisition Is Now Available to 1.4 Million Network Members

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwire - November 18, 2010) - MerchantCircle, the largest online network of local business owners in the nation, today rolled out its new Appointment Scheduler for local businesses. More than 1.4 million members of MerchantCircle can now capture inbound appointment requests via easy-to-use calendaring tools, while managing their appointment schedules right from their Merchant Dashboard, all for free. The company has created a demo video of the new feature, here.

"I've always wished there was something like OpenTable for my home staging business," said Mannie Tantawy of The Staging Fashionista in Alexandria, Va. "I'm so happy that now, potential and repeat customers will be able to see when I'm free, book an appointment and send me notes about their needs. I can easily respond and manage my calendar right from MerchantCircle, without being tied to my phone all day."

The Appointment Scheduler is available as an embeddable widget for members' personal business websites in addition to their MerchantCircle listing to fully centralize appointments. Facebook integration will also soon be made available. Non MerchantCircle members can access these free tools by claiming their listing at www.merchantcircle.com.

Now, consumers who wish to book an appointment with a local merchant can easily view availability and simply click on the "Book An Appointment" button on the business's profile page to propose a time. Merchants will receive email notification that an appointment has been scheduled and a confirmation is required. Customers will be notified by email of confirmed appointments as well as 24 hour appointment reminders.

Other key features of Appointment Scheduler include:

  • A suite of calendar management tools embedded in the Merchant Dashboard (confirm, reply, cancel, add new appointment and notes)
  • Automatic reply note to every inquiry, including any special instructions
  • Automatic email reminders to customers 24 hours prior to each appointment
  • Customized hours and days of operation as well as standard appointment length
  • Embeddable widget synchs merchant availability across MerchantCircle listing and personal business website

"MerchantCircle's continued mission is to enable and deepen conversations between consumers and smaller local businesses, and our new appointment booking tool will help merchants close the sales loop with potential customers by booking face-to-face meetings," said Yori Nelken, CTO at Merchant Circle. "It's exciting to so quickly leverage the technology and talent from TimeBridge into a feature that will manifest itself both inside and out of our network."

About MerchantCircle

Founded in 2005, MerchantCircle is the largest online network of local business owners, combining social networking features with a variety of free marketing tools that enable merchants to maximize their online visibility. Currently, over 1.4 million merchants use the MerchantCircle network to upload pictures, blog, create coupons and newsletters and connect with customers and other merchants. Local consumers can find more than 20 million business listings through www.merchantcircle.com or major search engines in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom and Australia. In addition to its free services, MerchantCircle offers a portfolio of premium online advertising solutions including search engine marketing and instant website development.

Ranked as one of the Top 100 web sites in the U.S. by Quantcast, MerchantCircle is based in Mountain View, Calif., and funded by Rustic Canyon Partners, Scale Venture Partners, Steamboat Ventures and IAC. Learn more at www.merchantcircle.com.