An online cross-industry B2B and B2C marketplace platform for service providers

About

About the Project

The web portal that we developed for our client allows various types of service providers, such as photography studios, salons, and driving schools, to take their businesses online and widen their target audience. Each vendor who registers on our client’s platform can set up a proper business profile and build a portfolio of all the services that they offer. The website not only helps vendors expand their audience but also facilitates their customers. Customers can search for their favourite vendors and book and pay for appointments via the marketplace. They can cancel or reschedule their bookings at any time.

The system is built for service providers and customers all over Switzerland. With a simple registration process for both parties, the marketplace is available in two languages, German and English.

About Client

Based out of Zürich, SimpleFind GmbH is a sui generis service broker that aims to help small- and medium-sized vendors from multiple industries in Switzerland go digital and expand their horizons by tapping into newer markets. SimpleFind also offers a unique booking software add-on to businesses with existing websites to make the appointment scheduling process increasingly efficient for their customers.

Banking

Problem

Our client realised the hassle that service providers and their customers have to go through regarding booking management. For customers, it can be difficult to effectively communicate with vendors, particularly for booking appointments or cancelling them. Vendors, on the other hand, often have a tough time juggling multiple appointments and organising their schedules. Another important gap was also identified in the Swiss market: the lack of a unified cross-industry marketplace dedicated solely to services.

As their software partner, our aim was to develop a software solution that addressed both these problems in the best way possible. For enhanced user experience, the web portal had to be built in such a way that it would run smoothly on all screen sizes and offer maximum ease of use.

Solution

Solution

We came up with an optimal solution for our client: a web-based marketplace portal that would a) allow vendors to showcase their services to customers b) enable customers to book appointments and pay for them online. The primary goal of developing this portal was to make the management of bookings simpler and more efficient.

It was decided that we would first develop an initial version – an MVP – of the web portal, where basic features would be implemented. In later releases, we created an evolved version of the platform with more complex features and additional functionality for the users.

The web app has three intended user roles – SimpleFind administrators, vendor administrators, and customers – and each type of user has a specific sub-portal they can use to perform their respective actions.

The marketplace cum booking management software is mobile-optimised for customers, with a clean, sleek interface that makes it easy to use.

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What We Delivered

Role-Based Access

Role-Based Access

The web app that we built is meant to facilitate four different types of users. The functionality and features that each user can access depend on their role.

SimpleFind administrators can log into the app via a dedicated admin portal. They can then perform various functions, such as accepting vendor registration requests, managing customers, and generating reports containing details of all appointments made via the portal.

Role-Based Access

Vendors are allowed to view and modify information related to their particular business only. They cannot, for example, view appointments of other vendors on the site.

Customers do not get access to any of the backend functionality regardless of whether or not they are logged into the system. They can perform actions on the main website, e.g. conduct searches, make or cancel appointments, or edit their profile, but cannot operate in an administrative capacity.

Customer User Profile

Customer User Profile

Customers who sign up on the marketplace platform can update their personal details, such as their contact information, via the user profile section. They can also add a photo of themselves and reset their password. On this dashboard, the customer can also view details for the appointments that they have made via the platform. If they cancel any booking they do not wish to go through with, an email is automatically sent to the vendor to notify them.

Admin Panel

There are three types of administrative dashboards, each for a different user role.

For SimpleFind Administrators (Super Admin)

The Super Admin are the platform managers. They can accept or reject requests from vendors who submit their registration forms via the vendor portal.

Super Admin

SimpleFind admin has access to both vendor and customer management functions. When approving a new vendor’s registration application, the admin decides how many staff members the vendor can add to their business profile. Super Admin can also review the performance of each vendor in terms of successful bookings, and can then place well-performing vendors in the Trusted Vendors category displayed on the customer website homepage.

While the SimpleFind admin cannot add new industry sectors to the portal, they are allowed to add new service categories to existing industries.

For Vendor Administrators (Super Users)

Vendor administrators, aka Super Users, once added to the system and assigned their personal login credentials, can further create user accounts for each of their staff members. They can even add other staff members as co-administrators. The admin panel also offers the option to reset passwords.

Super Users

Through the admin panel, vendors have the liberty to set up a profile for their company so that customers can get to know their brand better. Super Users are responsible for defining the operating hours for their organisation as well as each of their staff members. Managing the services that their business offers also falls under their authority.

The vendor admin panel has a section where Super Users can pick a certain day and view a detailed list of all appointments booked for that day.

Staff-Members

For Vendor’s Staff Members

Each member of the vendor’s staff has their own profile on the platform. They can update their profile as they wish. For example, they can change their login credentials, edit their personal information, change their working hours according to availability, and view their past and upcoming bookings.

Services Portfolio Management

A key feature of this platform is the management of services that can be done via the vendor dashboard.

Services Portfolio

At the time of registration, the vendor has to pick an area of specialisation, i.e. the service industry sector that they are part of. Once they have joined the platform and set up their business profile, they can add pre-defined services to their portfolio as they go.

Each service can be assigned to multiple staff members according to their skillset, so that customers, when booking an appointment for that service, can choose from a list of all available experts.

As vendors expand their operations or diversify, they can list additional industry sectors and service categories on their business profiles. The latest release of the web app allows vendors to add and offer custom services, such as music classes and guitar lessons.

Searchable Listings

Searchable Listings

If a customer knows exactly what they want, they can utilise the search feature and look up the service they are interested in. All vendors who offer that service will be displayed in the search results; they can be filtered by location and date of availability and sorted according to distance.

Calendar Synchronisation

Automatic Two-Way Calendar Synchronisation

One of the most interesting aspects of the appointment booking management software is the calendar synchronisation feature. This marketplace portal offers calendar sync options to both customers and vendors. Users can choose to sync SimpleFind appointments to their personal off-site calendars, such as their phone calendar or Google/Outlook/Apple calendar. The initial version of the app incorporated one-way sync where users could have bookings from SimpleFind automatically added to their personal calendars. However, the new release offers two-way sync. If a customer cancels a booking on their off-site calendar, it is automatically synced to the vendor’s SimpleFind calendar as well.

Booking-AddOn

Appointment Booking Add-On for Vendors

The second phase of this project included the development of an add-on to facilitate the appointment booking process for both customers and vendors. This custom-built add-on offers the vendor’s website visitors the option to book appointments via SimpleFind without having to leave the vendor’s site.

Rating System

SimpleRate Feedback and Rating System

In order to facilitate customers in the vendor selection process, the marketplace has a transparent rating and feedback system, SimpleRate. Once an appointment is completed, the customer can rate the services of the vendor with respect to its staff’s friendliness, timeliness, location, and overall value for money. There are two ways to provide feedback. The customer can either rate the vendor within the pop-up box on the website, or follow the link to the feedback form that is sent to them via email.

Bilingual Support

Bilingual Support

The web portal is available to administrators, vendors, and clients in two languages: German and English.

Payment Integration

Payment Integration

As part of the evolution of the MVP, the marketplace portal cum booking management software now incorporates an online payment system that customers can benefit from when booking appointments, allowing them to go completely cashless.
API integrations for Payrexx, Google Pay, and Apple Pay have been implemented.

Our Process

To start off with the development process, we spent close to fifteen hours with our client, conducting extensive requirements gathering and analysis. We wanted to be absolutely clear about what our client expected from this project.

Our client was deeply involved in the planning and design phase. We worked on the wireframes together. After gaining clarity from our detailed discussion with the client, we also suggested that we place special focus on the UX design. It was critical to ensure that all users have a smooth journey navigating through the portal. The web app was also to be mobile-optimised for customers, to cater to varying screen sizes.

Our client wanted us to build an initial version – an MVP – for their software, incorporating all the basic features that they wished to see on their platform. After a successful release of the MVP, we developed the app further, adding more complex logic and features to it. This process was also highly dependent on the feedback that our client received from registered marketplace users and communicated to our team. There were weekly updates and feedback sessions between our project manager and the client throughout the development process.

Team

Team

A team of two software developers, a quality assurance engineer, an analyst and a UI/UX developer, headed by the project manager, was tasked with the responsibility of seeing this project to a successful launch.

Technologies

php

PHP

React

React

NodeJs

NodeJs

MYSQL

MYSQL

Client’s Feedback

Clutch Review

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Things
we do next

  • Our team contacts you within one business day
  • We engage an initial discussion to understand your requirements
  • Our team of analysts and developers assess the scope and propose a way forward with mutual consultation
  • All information exchange is protected via a mutual NDA
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