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‘Digital High Street’ a step closer as leading retail brands sign up to NearMe

The idea of the ‘Digital High Street’ has come a step closer with leading retailers Everything Everywhere, Asda and Tesco joining the growing list of retailers signing up to appear on search and discovery app NearMe – adding potentially more than 30million customers to the service that already has an organically grown user base of 500,000.

Near me is a mobile guide app – that currently works on iOS only – that lets consumers search for the things they need that are near them, from specific shops, to pubs, hospitals, parking and so on. But what makes this different is that brands can now pay to appear on the home screen of the search service, creating something akin to a digital high street.

Everything Everywhere – the latest to join – and Asda and Tescos will all appear on the app and will have branded experiences therein. They join B&Q, French Connection, Fullers Pubs, Young’s Breweries, ScrewFix, Giraffe Restaurants and a host of others now appearing on the app.

While consumers can still search the app for what is near them, the brands that are signing up in droves to the service get to have a preferential presence on the home screen, as well as getting branded space within the app. In addition, they also get to push messages and offers out to the consumers, based on where they are and what they are doing.

“Customers can not only see what is around them and find what they are looking for, but they can also engage and be engaged by brands as well,” says a spokesman for NearMe. “Retailers can target offers at specific countries, cities, towns or even individual stores that can then be seen by users. This can be offers, invites, information or even job ads for those stores.”

For retailers the NearMe service offers the chance to get listed on maps that users use to find what is near them, as well as to engage with consumers. Starting at £35 per venue for a year, listings are already in the hundreds of thousands worldwide.

The addition of Everything Everywhere is significant as it now means that the telco – made up of Orange and T-Mobile – will now be extensively marketing NearMe to its 28million consumers over the next 10 weeks – something that is hoped to transform near me into a household name and the go to site for finding things when out in the real world.

“It really does bring search, discovery and engagement on mobile into the real world,” says NearMe. “It creates a digital High Street on the phone and also digitises the real High Street and adds in a range of social commerce and social engagement to the idea of going shopping.”

John Skinner, Group Digital Manager, Fuller, Smith & Turner adds: “When looking for a great pub, our customers know a Fuller’s pub is the natural choice. If they’re out and about with NearMe installed on their smartphones, they’ll now be able to find us in just a few taps. Because NearMe™ will also help them find all sorts of other businesses, we think it will become an invaluable part of their app arsenal.”

More retailers, banks and hotel chains are expected to be announced on NearMe in the coming weeks.

Source : Paul Skeldon – InternetRetailing

26 January 2012
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