How retail can use an online appointment tool to deliver business insights

Canadian eyewear retailer BonLook has used to remain innovative and competitive for years.







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Five years ago, they started using to manage crowds in a small store. It dovetailed perfectly with BonLook’s goal of bringing a cutting-edge retail experience to what was a clunky model.

During Covid, local laws required all store visits to be booked in advance to ensure social distancing. BonLook turned to to quickly roll out across 36 stores, moving from 20% of visits booked online to 100%.

Today, BonLook continues to modernize and improve its customer experience using detailed data analysis. helps provide critical business intelligence about what their customers are looking for and how they like to shop.

Half a million bookings later, BonLook knows that using an online appointment tool for store visits has:

  • increased the likelihood that someone who books online will go on to buy
  • reduced the time a customer has to spend in-store
  • improved resource management
  • delivered enhanced insights into the customer journey
Podcast Quotes Episode 4 (2)

“Using has brought business benefits beyond simply managing customer numbers. We now know that booking online is a strong indicator of a sale. It adds visibility for the staff in store. And the data allows us to be more precise with our business planning. It just makes a lot of sense.”


The challenge: could an online appointment scheduling software offer a better purchasing experience?

Ten years ago, Sophie and Louis-Félix Boulanger wanted to bring a better experience to that purchasing process. The brother and sister team dreamed of using innovation, technology, and brilliant design to give customers beautiful eyewear at an accessible price. 

They created BonLook as an online eyewear retailer, using their website to educate their customers (do you know how to tell if a frame fits your face?), show off their fashion-forward styles, and allow a full-service process to happen almost entirely online.

“Every single product that we sell is tailored to the end-user, according to very precise measurements,” says Louis-Félix.

“BonLook is about making sure that we provide, along with high-level technical expertise, a very fashion-forward style that people can really use to express their uniqueness and their personality.

But at the same time, we want to deliver a great experience.

People get their glasses and say, ‘Wow, that was fast and it was easy.” 

After a few years of online-only shopping, the BonLook team realized there was a segment of customers who would benefit from an in-person experience. They started with some pop-up shops and, in 2015, opened a kiosk in the middle of the Promenades de la Cathédrale shopping mall in Montreal.

The solution: an eyewear retailer manages their stores in an innovative way using

“Quite rapidly the kiosk in the mall sort of became overrun with people,” says Louis-Félix. “It was a good problem in that it showed us that a store network could work. But, really, we had a problem with the customer experience. 

“People were showing up and there was a huge bottleneck and we couldn't manage it properly. So quite rapidly, we started looking into solutions to manage the flow.”

The BonLook team looked at several scheduling solutions and quickly saw that was their best option.

“It had a lot of features that were really important to us - most notably the support for both French and English was really key for us. Being able to adapt to different time zones, having customizable messages, and of course being able to access the data in so many ways. That's really what made come out on top.”

Online scheduling lent itself to the innovative, technology-driven business model that Sophie and Louis-Félix had originally imagined. It helped differentiate BonLook from what was a cumbersome and complicated experience at other retailers. 

“Every retailer experiences the typical lunch hour rush. But with, if you're in the office and you book an appointment at 3 pm, you just pop into the shop, you buy your glasses, and then you go back to work. Half an hour - bing, bang, you're done. It was much easier.”

Bonlook in store services

For the next few years, played an important role in managing footfall in BonLook’s 36 stores. The booking pages integrated seamlessly into the existing online experience and were individually customized for Optometrist appointments, Stylist appointments, and French-speaking and English-speaking customers. Despite being an optional service for customers, and only being used for about 20% of visits, the account was taking an average of 7,000 bookings every month! 

Then 2020 arrived and, as for all of us, Covid changed everything. 

“In Quebec, optical stores were an essential service, so we were able to stay open. But it was mandatory in many provinces to be appointment-only so we could restrict the capacity in the stores,” says Louis-Félix. 

“We were so fortunate to already have because it allowed us to immediately pivot to 100% of store visits being booked online.”

From July 2020 until restrictions eased a year later, BonLook was taking on average 15,000 bookings each month.

Bookings = Business intelligence  

Integrating with all their other systems meant that not only was BonLook able to maintain socially distanced appointments, but it was also able to drill into the resulting data to extract crucial business insights about the stores and their customers.  This data impacted four key areas:

Critical resource management

“ really helps us to optimize the usage of our eye care professionals, the opticians, and optometrists,” says Louis-Félix. “These are scarce resources, required for very specific measuring, adjustments, and delivery of the more complicated prescriptions. So we want to make sure that we manage their time as efficiently as possible.”

Bonlook appointment room

Improved sales

The data that Louis-Félix is able to track from has revealed invaluable business intelligence about how customers shop, what they’re looking for, and what helps get them to the final sale.

“We view our website not only as a tool to convert and sell prescription glasses on the spot but also as an educational outlet for our customers to prepare for their visit in-store,” he says. 

“They can pre-shop the different models, they can read about our lenses, and then they can book their appointment. All of these are micro-conversion events that dramatically increase the likelihood that customers will end up purchasing eyeglasses when they show up in-store. And they reduce the time that the customer has to actually spend in the store.”

Better business planning

Online bookings add visibility for store staff to know what their day is going to look like. It helps with staffing requirements per store, and lets the individual teams adapt quickly as needed. 

There are a number of reasons for the stores to love using “In some locations, the stores love getting appointments because it means the sale is almost guaranteed,” says Louis-Félix.

“In other locations, they like having appointments because they are a barometer for how busy the store will be and how to prepare for the day.” 

Essential business intelligence

The BonLook team relies on information from online bookings as one of many data points in their strategic planning. 

“We are aggregating data from pretty much all of the touchpoints that we can get our hands-on,” says Louis-Félix, “and is one of them. Whenever an event is either booked, modified or canceled, we use a webhook to save the information in our database.”

💡 Pro-tip: webhooks are a powerful feature that help YCBM work seamlessly with all the tools you use: automatically update your CRM, notify stakeholders, create a bespoke reporting database. They’re easy to set up with minimal programming ability. Learn about passing data from YCBM to other platforms.

This data informs every area of the business. 

“It empowers our Customer Service team because webhooks let us automatically update the customer’s account with information about the booking. Before, if someone called about their appointment, we didn’t have a clean way of finding it. Now we just need to get the email address to find up-to-date information and give a better customer experience.”

“It helps our business planning because the database receives information about what the booking was for. That gives us an idea of the split of how many appointments are for purchasing and how many appointments are for after-purchase services like adjustments.” 

It also facilitates Marketing efforts. By aggregating the booking data with other customer data, the team can see which types of customers tend to book appointments versus those that prefer to just walk in. They can also see which types of orders generate the most post-purchase visits to a store.

“We can use the appointment booking as a conversion metric to drive our digital ads campaigns,” says Louis-Félix. “It allows us to be a bit more precise with the way we serve customers, which promotions we push, and which types of customers that we want to target.” 

An eye to the future 

With Covid restrictions easing across Canada, BonLook is expecting their set-up to change again. “I think we're going to come back to sort of a hybrid format,” says Louis-Félix. “Some stores will be able to take a lot more drop-in traffic and others will probably just keep the appointment system as is.” 

But what won’t change is that the team will continue to innovate. 

“I think we're going to probably start integrating a bit of SMS messaging into our booking pages,” says Louis-Félix. “And also a post-visit email for measuring things like net promoter score, or just overall experience. It’s very easy to do that so I really don't see anything in that is a limiter for us at the moment.”

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