It’s just after 12 p.m. and you’re walking down Main Street in downtown Greenville. Suddenly, your smartphone starts buzzing, telling you that a restaurant a block away is having a lunch special.
Hungry and curious, you make your way to the restaurant and take advantage of that advertised lunch special.
Locally Epic launched the app that allows participating businesses to create instant promotions to attract potential customers in real time.
Chase Michaels, Locally Epic founder and CEO, said the platform is not like the e-commerce marketplace Groupon.
“They are totally two different platforms,” said Michaels. “We are nothing like those.”
He said instead of reselling a company’s services for a discounted rate, Locally Epic is a service platform that uses GPS and push notifications to connect local businesses with potential customers in the area of the particular business at a certain time. With Locally Epic, businesses pay a monthly fee and receive a certain number of campaigns per day and notifications sent per campaign. Michaels said Groupon will take an item or service from a company and resell it at a lower rate. Groupon and the business then split the lower rate received.
“When Groupon came out, they were hot for small business,” Michaels said. “They went public, and it was hot, but it’s not good for small business because they are carrying the cost for 90 days.”
The app has 45 categories — 30 for businesses such as restaurants and retail stores and the rest related to job offers, non-profit organizations and schools. Locally Epic said around 100 businesses have signed on to be part of the new app.
If a restaurant wants to attract more customers for lunch, it can use the app to target followers in a specific area and send offers and promotions straight to those followers’ mobile devices, said Michelle Minor, Locally Epic’s chief information officer.
“Customers get the offers they want, when and where they want them,” Minor said. “Business owners can create an offer, choose the time it broadcasts and how long that promotion lasts.”
The idea for the app came after Michaels became frustrated with not being able to measure returns on advertising. He said the purpose of Locally Epic is to provide local businesses with tangible information about campaigns and promotions. Locally Epic plans start at $149 per month and go up to $299 per month.
“We can provide solid return on investment for every message or campaign a business runs,” Michaels said. “We can give real consumer numbers and a database where businesses can tell when a customer has been in and what they choose to purchase.”
Jeremiah Dew, vice president of business development, said the company has spent the last few months tweaking the app to help with better customer engagement. The app has already reached 18,000 followers in Greenville.
“What we have learned is that people want authentic and innovative ways to create a great local experience,” Dew said.
The company said it plans to expand the app into other areas such as helping nonprofit organizations find volunteers and event organizers track how crowds move during an event. Locally Epic also wants to serve as an app where job seekers and companies can be matched, said Dave Ropes, the company’s chief marketing officer.
The app is available on both Android and Apple platforms.