A FORMER Mexborough School pupil is hoping to give a shot in the arm to local high streets by revolutionising the way that businesses can attract new customers as well as engaging with their existing ones.
Mexborough-born technology entrepreneur Chris Hill (49) designed and developed the free mobile app Snizl which works by bringing offers, discounts, competitions and events to local customers' mobile phones in real-time, using the latest geo-tagging technology.
Snizl then creates a real-time feed, similar to that of social media networks, with the latest deals that are geographically closest to the customer appearing at the top.
The new app and web platform – which is already running successfully following beta testing in California and Nottingham - launches in conjunction with the Advertiser in Rotherham on Monday, May 22.
Chris said: "Small businesses know that they need to reach customers digitally because everyone has a smartphone.
"There was no easy path through it, so I decided to do something about it.
"I took a step back, looked at the problem in-depth and because I had such a good overview in tech, marketing and small businesses, I came up with Snizl.
"I spoke to small businesses and asked them about their experience digitally. They told me 'I've got a website' or 'I've got some Facebook likes' and 'I've tried Groupon but the model doesn't work for my business'. Bar none, they'd all had poor results and digital left a bitter taste in their mouths.
"Small business owners haven't necessarily got the time, the money or the knowledge to navigate this minefield, so I created Snizl.
"What Snizl does is allow you, the business, to tell customers nearby what you can offer them at that moment, attracting customers you already know and new ones that you don't.
"And the best thing about it is it won't take more than a couple of minutes to get that offer out there. You now have the opportunity to fill that empty chair or to busy up a quiet lunchtime.”
"Small businesses know that they need to reach customers digitally because everyone has a smartphone."
CHRIS HILL - SNIZL
Chris set up his own electrical goods business on the market stalls of Rotherham in the 1980s before going into the pub industry, running The Cranworth on Fitzwilliam
Road before heading to Sheffield to take over at The Foresters on Division Street, now named The Great Gatsby.
But it was his love of tech, marketing and small business coupled with the struggles of the local high street that made Chris first think about the concept.
"I've always been interested in technology, then I really got into the marketing side of things. I've also always had a passion for small business, having run a few myself," Chris said.
"Watching the high streets dematerialise in front of my eyes, I knew I had to come up with something.
"It's fitting that Snizl is launching in my home-town of Rotherham as I want it to benefit my friends and my home community first."
Snizl allows users to follow the businesses they are interested in and receive push notifications from them on their phones, which have an 80 per cent read rate.
Chris said: "If you have 400 businesses who all put 100 customers on to communicate with, then you're in a group with 40,000 customers. Snizl builds communities and that's what we need.
"Through the Snizl platform, a business can push themselves to the top of the feed, which makes it a level playing field. “A local coffee shop can now compete with the likes of Starbucks, as money does not buy position.
"It is surely better that businesses are judged on how good they are, how good their service is and how well they are presented. That is what Snizl does, it levels that playing field."
Chris has big hopes for Snizl and plans to roll it out globally, once it has become the go-to app in Rotherham.
He added: "I can already find out what my mate's cat is doing now on Facebook, everything is instant.
"This is instant localised search and we are talking to companies in other countries all over the world. We've spent over £1 million on the development and it is built for growth.
"It's called Snizl because I wanted it to become a verb, 'Don't search for it...Snizl it', and we hope this will become a verb recognised around the world."
Snizl is available to download for free through Google Play and the Apple App Store.
You can find out more about how Snizl can help your business reach local customers by calling: 01709 768002, by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or via the website: www.snizl.com/rotherhamadvertiser.
What is Snizl?
Snizl is a revolutionary app that allows businesses to reach, promote, reward and re-touch local customers, all in real–time and geo located. Snizl is for any local business wanting to increase footfall, fill appointments, promote products or services and make more money!
How does Snizl work?
- Businesses sign up to use the platform and they bring all their social media followers with them.
- The businesses post real time offers and competitions such as two for one, 50 per cent off, last five products, £20 off, three spaces left, special price due to a cancellation etc.
- The offers are posted on Snizl, but are easily uploaded to their social media feeds to further extend the message and the Snizl app has to be downloaded to use the offer.
- If a user signs up to follow a particular business category, they will receive a push notification to make them aware there are nearby offers when they are in the vicinity of a business using the platform (via geo location on users’ mobile phones).
- The public download the app for free to get real time offers, competitions and discounts straight to their phone, from their favourite local businesses.