Booker Acquires Frederick, Expands Marketing Automation for Service Businesses

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Scheduling platform Booker announced this morning that it has acquired San Francisco-based local marketing automation platform Frederick, expanding the company’s ability to help customers intelligently fill appointment-based inventory. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Frederick’s software analyzes small business management systems and combines utilization information with historical customer and transaction data to  highlight potential empty days and times that the business can promote to targeted customers. The service sends automated text and email marketing to the specific customers who are most likely to be interested in the available times, reducing unused inventory and rewarding repeat customers with special offers.

The two companies had an existing partnership in place, and Booker has already rolled out Frederick’s marketing services to 200 of its existing customers. Following the deal, Frederick will retain its brand and will continue integrations with other business management systems — a number of which are in other verticals, and some of which are Booker competitors.

The acquisition will help Booker — which has its roots in salon and spa appointment management — expand into new local service verticals like auto repair.

“Part of our promise has always been that we want to serve as many service-based businesses as we can,” Booker CEO Josh McCarter told Street Fight earlier this week. “Frederick allows us to expand into other verticals — still based on booking, but doing it in partnerships with people who have best-in-class products in particular verticals.”

McCarter says that the acquisition falls squarely into the Booker’s roadmap: “What Booker started out doing originally was providing what we call a ‘service-commerce platform,’ and that’s really all of the tools that a service-based business needs to run their local operations and promote their business online through bookings,” he said. “That’s everything from a staff-management system, scheduling, booking, CRM — so it really becomes a hub of information, or the ‘operating system’ for that business. Because of that, it gives us a lot of great insights into the business, like which customers return, and which customers return only if there’s a special, and which customers pay the most for their services; what days do they come in, and what days may have lower occupancy compared to others.”

McCarter says that given all of this information already within the company’s system, Booker has been thinking since early on how it could potentially be used to not only help merchants manage their business but also to grow their business and revenues.

“Think of this as a next-generation Demandforce,” said McCarter. “The system integration is designed so that Frederick goes in and pulls out all of the data that exists in Booker. Things like customer transaction history, service sale-through rates, staff utilization rates, daily occupancy and utilization information, et cetera. And it pulls all of that into a database and then has a variety of marketing automations. … Frederick then essentially brings an intelligent one-to-one marketing that understands utilization rates in the future and consumers’ propensity to buy particular products and services based on the day and the price.”

Merchants who use the system are able to set the level of discount that they are comfortable with and Frederick can then match the offer and the specific time of the open appointment to consumers who have bought services at similar days and times in the past — and thus are more likely to be interested in redeeming it.

The conversation also goes both ways, says McCarter: “Maybe I send you an offer that says, ‘You can come Tuesday afternoon and get 20% off of your haircut’ and you write back that you can’t make it but, ‘How about next Tuesday?’ — this captures that information and checks to see if the offer should be valid the following week. It’s both email and two-way SMS, depending how the consumer wants to be communicated with.”

Frederick also has functionality to initiate and promote certified reviews and feedback from customers who have made and appointment with a service provider — allowing merchants to mediate their reviews and understand how customers are reacting to specific service providers.

Booker has raised a total of $77 million in venture funding, and McCarter said that while his team had been working on some similar elements in their products, they were impressed by the results that Frederick was getting for customers.

“One of their original automotive customers that’s been with them something like 18 months has driven 600 appointments and $180,000 worth of sales,” he noted. “When you hear numbers like that, you think ‘Wow, we really need to get out into the automotive repair industry, because no one can doubt numbers like that.”

David Hirschman is a co-founder of Street Fight.

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