A platform for booking spas and salons GetRetreat.co
With the belief there was a simpler and more convenient way of finding and booking spa and salon services the idea of Retreat began in 2017. Over the course of eight months, a team of five co-founders, including myself, set out to build GetRetreat.co.
As the product lead, I lead the overall user experience, product vision as well as growing the technical team.
GetRetreat.co launched in 2018.
Our business was based around creating a centralized platform where spas and salons could list available appointments and users could search and book online.
The plan with Retreat was to build an MVP with end-to-end functionality including sign-up, service discovery, appointment request and payment for the user and service listing and appointment confirmation for the merchant. We would then get feedback and assess for traction and then revisit its viability.
A month after our soft launch, we invited 15 users to share feedback and insights on their experience with Retreat. The opportunity allowed us to speak directly with our target and find out what they liked and disliked about Retreat and in turn guide the next iteration.
The spa and salon industry is lagging behind
The ability to book and pay for a service online was welcomed by everyone.
Despite the fact that most things today can be done online, the spa and salon industry still relies on calling to book. Users also pointed out they enjoyed the fact everything was prepaid during booking and they were able to leave after receiving their services.
Users did not want to download an app
A surprising piece of feedback was that our users *liked* that Retreat was not a mobile app.
Our initial plan was to build a native app but after receiving this feedback we deprioritized the mobile app and focused on a mobile friendly web experience.
We lacked a social component
One overlooked aspect was that users could not book appointments with their friends or gift services to their friends.
Location was a key factor
One major factor in the decision-making process for our users was where the spa / salon was located.
Adding appointments for merchants was tedious work
Initially we designed the flow for merchants to add services one at a time. The idea was merchants would use Retreat for last-minute cancellations or if they had tough to fill time slots.
However, this wasn't how our merchants ended up using our platform. Merchants was adding all of their empty listings on our platform and because we didn't anticipate this type of 'bulk action', adding services was very time-consuming.
This was a key learning because it heavily impacts the merchant-side flows and gave us a better understanding of how the merchant intended to use our product.
The feedback from our soft launch gave us confidence there was an opportunity in the spa and salon space and our strategy was to continue exploring ideas and flesh out our product based on needs of from our users and merchants.
- ability to accept promotional codes
- searching for spas and salons by location via map view
- our merchant sign up process was automated allowing potential partners to sign up instead of it being a manual process
- automated listings and service templates allowed our merchants to add services to our platform much easier
With a clearer vision of our product we redesigned the site to see the needs of our users. The homepage was updated to better showcase our partners and provide users a more familiar app-like experience on the web.
Our listings page was re-organized resulting in a cleaner look while being able to surface more results.
See the latest at GetRetreat.co.