A booking platform for spas and salons
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 set out to build GetRetreat.co.
As the product lead, I lead the overall user experience, developed the product vision and ensured it fit business goals as well as helped grow the technical team.
GetRetreat.co launched in 2018.
Despite being a $6 billion dollar business in Canada, there are two major issues affecting the personal care industry.
1) Spas and salons are losing money because of unfilled bookings. Capacity in a service-based businesses is time-dependant and if a booking is not filled when it is available, that capacity / sale is lost forever.
Many merchants promote vacancies only through social media. But due to the time-sensitive nature of openings and the fractured audience of social platforms, it is not very effective.
There is currently no widely accessible platform a spa can post or promote available appointments.
2) Many personal care business do not own an online presence let alone offer any type of online booking or scheduling functionality. This forces users looking to book a spa service to call each spa individually to inquire about openings which can be time-consuming and tedious.
GetRetreat.co is a two-sided market place that will act as a centralized platform where spas can list available appointments and users can easily browse and book online services. Retreat will aim to bring the convenience users have become accustomed to in other areas of their life ( ordering food, finding a cab, booking a hotel ) to the experience of finding and booking their next spa service.
Being a small team and the fact we we're already building a two-sided marketplace, we kept our initial product as lean as possible. We defined our MVP to include only flows needed for end-to-end functionality for both merchant and user.
The user journey flows included signing up, user onboarding, the service discovery, requesting to book and finally payment processing.
The merchant journey flows included spa profile set up, merchant onboarding, setting up Stripe authorization, adding services and booking confirmation.
User Booking Flow
Merchant Listing Flow
The design process included creating a design system, information architecture, art direction, responsive website design and standardized email communications.
User - Desktop
User - Mobile
Merchant - Desktop
Design System - Typography (Not to scale)
Design System - Colour Palette
Design System - Components
Soft Launch & Feedback
A month after our soft launch, we invited 12 users (non-merchants) 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 help us guide the next iteration of Retreat.
Focus Group Feedback
The ability to search, book and pay for a spa service online was welcomed by everyone. Users especially appreciated the convenience of paying during booking because they leave as soon as the service was done.
Retreat not being an app was seen as a positive. This was one of the more interesting insights as we were already starting to plan development on iOS and Android apps. After hearing this we put a hold on the native apps and focused on improving our responsive web product.
We overlooked the social aspects of going to a spa with friends. Booking multiple appointments for them and their friends or the ability to gift services is something we are actively working through.
Location played a larger part in the discovery phase for users. With this in mind we prioritized a map view option in our search.
Adding services to our platform was tedious. The add service flow was initially designed for merchants to add one service at a time but we noticed was that spas were adding all of their empty listings on our platform.
Keeping an ongoing dialogue with both users and merchants, we are consistently uncovering new insights on how to improve Retreat. Below are some things we are working on or have planned for the future.