A Community Building App That Connects Businesses With Local Customers

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Startup: Pushlocal

Co-Founded: Zach Jex and Brent Bourland

Launched: June 2012

Base: Natchez, MS

Challenge: Go to Twitter and find 10 restaurant specials in your city.

According to Zach Jex, Co-Founder of Pushlocal, social networks like Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook let you send information out into the Internet ether but none of networks are a real effective way to attract customers in the community. Jex says he and his partner wanted to find a way to make this process simple, affordable and measurable for small businesses.

On the other side of the equation, Jex says he just found it hard to keep up with what was happening with local businesses in his town.

“You can go to a newspaper. You might see a post on Facebook or Twitter,” he says. “But there was no place to go for all of our local needs. We were missing out on a lot of local things.”

Since launching in 2012, Pushlocal has expanded into about 40 cities around the country. Jex says they’re taking a hyper-local “bottom up approach,” wherein local entrepreneurs essentially take ownership of marketing the app and building a community with local customers. In addition to restaurants which happen to be Pushlocal’s largest customer base, there are also non-profits and local governments that use the app as well.

Natchez, MS-based Slick Rick’s Foods was one of the first restaurants to adopt the Pushlocal app, with great success says COO Dee Boyte. Slick Rick’s posts at least once a day including announcements about daily specials and events, and even use the app to recruit new crew members.

“If we are ever delayed in posting, our followers get in touch asking to hear from us,” Boyte says. “Our customers know we use Pushlocal so they don’t have to go wading through Facebook to find the day’s specials.”

One of the challenges Jex acknowledges is the reality of app fatigue but thinks Pushlocal can be an answer to this problem. Development companies are pushing the idea that every business needs its own app. But Jex says that just contributes to the app fatigue. He says their pitch is that you don’t need your own app, you need Pushlocal.

“What if every restaurant and bar in the city had its own app? There’s no way, you as the consumer are going to download every app,” he says, adding that there’s no easy solution to app fatigue. “We think we have enough value where you can just get everything in your local community using one app.”

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