Whatser has added functionality to its mobile marketing application to allow local businesses to engage with customers and expand their user base.
The Whatser app, which is available on Apple, Android and BlackBerry devices, allows users to recommend favourite establishments such as shops and restaurants to friends.
Businesses will now be able to see how many users have added them as a favourite and will be able to push out promotions and updates.
The functionality is aimed at rewarding regular customers, and will help to build loyalty, drive foot traffic and increase sales, according to Michiel Verberg, co-founder of Whatser.
"Whatser is different to other check-in geo-location services which hand out offers specifically when users are already at an establishment," he said.
"Using Whatser, businesses can communicate with customers anywhere. When new stock has arrived to their store they can inform customers and push out discounts to drive sales, for example."
Whatser also plans to incorporate Quick Response technology, which is currently in the testing phase and is expected to be rolled out next month.
Quick Response will let businesses push coupons out to devices which will be redeemable at the point of sale. Merchants will also be able to keep track of how many special offers are being used.
Peer-to-peer sharing is another upcoming feature, allowing users to share updates with friends. The aim is for these updates to go viral and grow merchants' circles of regular customers, Whatser said.
G-Star RAW is the first global brand to sign up to use the platform, and users can visit the web site to 'claim a spot'. The cost to a merchant to use the service is €8.30 per month per spot.
There are currently over 20,000 registered users of Whatser, and the firm expects this to continue growing as smartphone sales increase.
Meanwhile, eBay has acquired location-based mobile firm Where, a further indicator that the retail landscape is in transistion owing to the proliferation of smartphones.
Where is a local advertising network that gives people relevant, real-time information and deals from businesses, explained Amanda Pires, senior director of global communications, brand and experiential marketing at eBay-owned PayPal.
"By giving people hyper-local relevant retailer information and deals on their mobile phones, we see a huge opportunity for local merchants to reach more buyers, and for consumers to get more choice and value when they shop," Pires said on the PayPal blog.
"As a first step, we plan to integrate PayPal into the Where mobile app to make it even easier for PayPal customers to take advantage of the local deals."
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