Online scheduling and ordering platforms have been quietly picking up steam as local merchant adoption rates climb, but the Boston-based tech developer Pingup is betting that 2017 will be the year the vertical finally explodes, thanks in part to a new integration between Pingup and Bing that was announced this morning.
Consumers searching for local businesses on Bing will now be able to seamlessly schedule appointments, book services, and place restaurant orders online via Pingup’s local services transaction platform. The company’s technology will allow consumers to view appointment availabilities at businesses like salons, auto repair shops, and restaurants in real-time, without having to contact merchants by telephone or even click onto the merchant’s own website. Consumers can also view lists of services and menus within the Bing search experience.
“We’ve built a highly scalable platform that allows users to go from search results to task completion in a single click,” Pingup CEO Mark Slater told Street Fight.
Slater says that consumers themselves played a role in his company’s decision to launch on Bing, as more and more people are expecting service transactions to be easy and instantaneous. Bing’s substantial size — Microsoft now has more than 20% of the search market, growing at a faster pace than Google last year—also made the integration a logical choice.
“The integration came from the collective desire to shorten the distance between the consumer and the local merchant,” Slater says.
Today’s integration announcement is just one of many recent moves for the local business transaction platform. In June, Pingup announced a partnership with Yahoo that allows users searching for local services on the network to book appointments on-demand, and in September the company began partnering with the digital ordering service EatStreet. Pingup has also become known for its push into AI ordering, enabling consumers to place orders with local merchants through conversational bots on messaging platforms.
Pingup aggregates more than 200,000 U.S. businesses and uses proprietary technology to connect merchants with local publishers and social platforms, including Facebook, Kik, Yahoo, and now Bing. Already, Pingup says it has access to more than 300 million monthly users, however the company expects to expand its reach to nearly 40% of all search activity thanks to its integration with Bing.
“We are very focused on creating the future of automated local commerce and accelerating the path to task completion from search results. Our integration with Bing is testimony that the top digital properties are in tune with consumer desire to transact easily and immediately with local businesses,” Slater says. “You will see more transformation of local service transactions in the months ahead.”
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.