the impact of COVID-19 likely to hurt small businesses and consumers for some
time, an app called Claim is helping to get customers back into our restaurants
and cafes – rather than away from them like the many online delivery apps.
The app is designed
to ensure consumers keep doing what they love on a budget – such as saving on
the best deals for Pilates classes, beauty treatments or date nights out – in
tough pandemic times.
Designed by Brisbane’s Tim Langford, the app uses geo-location and customer preferences to connect businesses with potential customers nearby. “Claim was developed after we kept noticing cafe and bar staff standing around with nothing to do,” Tim says. “Every business experiences quiet periods, so we wanted to create a product which helped lure customers in during the quieter periods, or if they get a last-minute cancellation.”
“The app uses geo-location and customer preferences to connect businesses with potential customer.”
Tim sat down with
lots of business owners, bar and restaurant staff and beauty business owners
over a 12-month period to see how they thought technology could help drive more
traffic into their venue.
“The main thing they wanted was a push notification to people in the area,” he says. “They essentially saw it as a group text to people within walking distance letting customers know they’re there.”
The team developed
three prototypes that they gave to the business owners they had spoken to, to
get their feedback on which model was the best. From there they built the
product, and added more features as they got more feedback from businesses and
Originally designed for the hospitality industry, Tim and his small team recently rebuilt the app to make it practical for use in more industries such as hair and beauty, and fitness. “We even have a company pushing out cheap car parking with the aim of filling empty spots,” Tim says.
Claim has been specifically designed to cut through the social media “noise” to connect businesses with customers who are nearby and genuinely relevant to that business, using a mix of the customers’ location and their previous buying habits to target them with deals which may suit them.
Businesses who sign
up pay a small monthly or yearly subscription fee to be on the platform, and
Claim doesn’t take any commission, something Tim says is unusual in this space.
“Basically, the business signs up on our website, adds their business details then they are ready to start posting deals and information which pushes out to our android/iOS apps and website,” he explains.
Tim believes Claim will become a part of many businesses’ marketing campaigns, helping them to attract customers primarily during quieter periods. He is also planning to develop a loyalty program. “That will help assist with customer retention whilst constantly improving the offering to best serve both business and consumer,” he says. “We are aiming to roll out updates on a fortnightly basis.”
This story first appeared in issue 31 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine