Target and Toys R Us posted overall sales declines during the holidays.
New iPhone app brings small business marketing to merchants on the go, allowing them to immediately respond to customer inquiries, stay on top of reviews and instantly create deals, photos and status updates and publish these across multiple social networks
Mountain View, Calif. – May 4, 2011 – MerchantCircle, the largest online network of local business owners in the nation, today announced general availability of the Merchant Mobile App, a new iPhone application that gives local merchants a simple way to create, upload, and manage content anytime, anywhere, using the familiar iPhone environment. The first mobile app designed specifically for local merchants, the Merchant Mobile App allows users to instantly create and publish daily deals, photos, status updates and more across multiple social networks, including MerchantCircle, Facebook and Twitter. Users can also use the app to respond to customer inquiries, manage their business listing, monitor reviews and engage with their merchant networks.
One of the best ways for local merchants to attract new customers is by keeping their online listings updated with fresh content, but many merchants have very little time for marketing and are generally "offline" for much of the day while they're serving customers or working on projects. Built on top of MerchantCircle’s new, more powerful API, the Merchant Mobile App empowers merchants to create and publish and share content wherever they are, whenever they have time and in a way that is convenient for them - whether they're on a client site, working in their store or even waiting in line at the bank. Merchants can also take advantage of social media features that allow them to post once in MerchantCircle and push directly to their Facebook and Twitter streams seamlessly.
Key marketing and engagement features of the Mobile Merchant App include:
* Deals: Create deals on the fly using MerchantCircle's pre-defined templates, monitor and manage deals and upload live photos associated with your deals.
* Showcase: Take photos of your work or business and instantly post them to your listing, including before-and-after shots that help tell your story
* Photos: Remotely build your business's photo gallery and post photos directly to your page
* Brand Management: View and edit your business listing information, monitor and manage your reviews in real-time and maintain your showcase photos
* Status Updates: Create status updates and photos and publish to MerchantCircle, Facebook and Twitter in just one step.
* Inbox: Create and reply to email messages and new customer inquiries on the go
* News Feed: Stay on top of all the activity in and around your network, comment on merchant updates and respond to comments on your updates
* Connections: Manage your connections and invite new merchants to join your network
MerchantCircle merchant Gino Orfitelli of ePRO Computer Repair is using the Merchant Mobile App to immediately respond to customer inquiries that come in through his MerchantCircle page and manage his marketing efforts on the go.
"Being out of the office for most of the business day means I really cannot get to the one thing that keeps my phone ringing, and that is MerchantCircle. For the last few years, I've always had to catch up on customer inquiries and other marketing once the business day winds down. With MerchantCircle Mobile App, I can now work on my marketing efforts as I have time for them during the day," says Orfitelli. "Handling things as they come is an important part of keeping happy customers, and now I have one more tool at my disposal to keep me connected when I'm away from my main office. MerchantCircle has always been amazing at connecting my business to my customers, the Mobile App just lets me be more efficient at making that happen."
"We anticipate that merchants will use the Merchant Mobile App in a variety of different ways - everything from staying on top of new customer inquiries to uploading real-time photos of their business and their work," said Darren Waddell, Vice President of Product and Marketing at MerchantCircle. "We believe that making content creation fast, easy and convenient will enable many more merchants to maintain the kind of robust online presence that will help them drive new business. We look forward to developing new features that connect local businesses to local customers in the near future."
More information on the mobile app can be found at http://www.merchantcircle.com/corporate/mobile/
Founded in 2005, MerchantCircle is the largest online network of local business owners in the nation, combining social networking features with a variety of free marketing tools that enable merchants to maximize their online visibility. Over 1.6 million merchants use the tools offered on MerchantCircle to create conversations with customers and connect with fellow local merchants. Local consumers can find more than 20 million business listings through http://www.merchantcircle.com or major search engines in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom and Australia. In addition to its free services, MerchantCircle offers a portfolio of premium online advertising solutions including search engine marketing and instant website development.
In 2010, MerchantCircle acquired TimeBridge and the popular Bloglines service to futher extend its network offerings. MerchantCircle is based in Mountain View, Calif., and funded by Rustic Canyon Partners, Scale Venture Partners, Steamboat Ventures and IAC. Learn more at http://www.MerchantCircle.com.