July 28, 2011, 10:23 AM

Mobile app turns locations into marketplaces

Consumers can post photos of local merchandise to share via the app.

Lead Photo

The mobile app relies on consumers sharing deals they find with others.

Mobile commerce shifts into reverse with a new GPS-oriented shopping app capitalizing on the hot trend of local. Instead of merchants posting to various marketplaces in hopes that mobile consumers will find their products, the Goshi app, from Map Ding Inc., enables consumers to post photos and prices of their favorite merchandise to share with other Goshi users. The app also lets users share their posts on Facebook and Twitter.

Central to Goshi is the concept of hubs, says Chad Lomax, co-founder of the company. “Hubs can be a local coffee shop, a chamber of commerce or a community event, such as an art fair,” Lomax says. “We are working with several Chicago chambers of commerce to create private hubs where their members are the only ones who can post to the hub. They would be able to post sale items, events or specials within the same hub.” After the app’s GPS function pinpoints the shopper’s location, she can browse for products by local hubs instead of product categories, he says. Hubs are visible to consumers up to 50 miles away, Lomax says.

The iPhone app’s home screen features a selection of recent product postings with buttons above to select nearby and recent posts or to select a hub to search. The app relies on the smartphone’s built in camera to snap a photo of the product. Goshi combines a marketplace with location data and the ability to use social media, Lomax says.

For merchants, this can mean exposure to more consumers by creating a virtual storefront based on the consumer’s location, Lomax says. “Goshi provides a platform to drive foot traffic to the store,” he says.

Goshi also is developing a mobile payment component for the app that will enable consumers to buy local products, but he offered few details about it other than one source of Goshi’s revenue will be through a percentage of sales on transactions made with the Goshi payment platform.

The shopper exposure through Goshi can help merchants move products, which increases their sales, Lomax says.

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