Bespoke Booking Systems
The requirements for this project are a great demonstration of how off the shelf ecommerce and booking systems can be constrictive and not provide the full range of functionality that may be required.
The core requirement was to allow customers to book a range of party items for hire (bouncy castles, inflatables, foam machines etc), and to pay for the booking online via credit or debit card. This seems straightforward enough and appears that an off the shelf system should be able to handle that, or other web developers may even quote for the job with a price lower than what we would charge, offering a more basic non-customisable system.
The devil is in the detail however and when we started getting into the requirements in more depth, we discovered that the client wanted to do some things in a very specific way, and they needed some features and functionality that would not commonly be found in standard ecommerce websites or booking systems.
At this stage other web developers may start to say certain things aren't possible or beyond their ability to implement, or an off the shelf system simply doesn't have the feature required. Problue Solutions on the other hand embrace these challenges and we set to work developing these bespoke features.
Most off the shelf booking systems are geared toward booking a simple event or booking a product for certain price, however our client wanted a more advanced range of e-commerce features integrated with the booking system. A few of the custom features required were:
- Ability to have multiple units of the same product that could be booked over different time periods
- Ability to book a range of different products for the same date period, which could be one or more days
- Discounted pricing for all bookings more than one day
- Discount coupon codes
- Ability to offer package deals that include multiple products
- Ability to provide 'add-on' products that can be added to the booking when checking out
- A specific checkout flow that allows the selecting of a booking date and then the ability to add any products to that booking
Some or all of these features are either not found in an off the shelf booking system, or they are part of a service that requires a significant ongoing monthly fee.
Problue Solutions do not charge booking fees or ongoing licensing fees for the website we build. We develop customised booking systems to specification for a one-time fee.
Other features that are included on the NI Inflatables website are:
- Automatic stock control - if an item has no units available for a date period it will be unavailable to book
- Backend booking calendar providing an overview of all bookings
- Credit and debit card payment processing along with a cash on delivery option
- Customised checkout form to collect specific information from the customer
- + all of the standard features you would expect with an ecommerce website
We developed the NI Inflatables website for a very competitive price, significantly lower than what most web agencies charge for comparable functionality. The price was of course higher than what cheap budget web designers charge for an ecommerce website, simply because what they provide is not comparable, and as described above - when you get into all of the very specific tweaks and bespoke customisations that were required to build this website, many web designers will simply not have the skills or knowledge to provide exactly what is required.
If you would like to talk to us about developing a booking system website or an ecommerce website, get in touch.