Locish. The Guide to Outside.

locish

It happens to all of us. We’re out, in a part of town we aren’t quite familiar with, and want to find the answer to that burning question….”what can I get to eat around here?”

Think of Locish as your neighborhood guide in a case like this.

How does it work?

Locish is a mobile app which allows users to discover the world around them. The platforms allows individuals to ask questions related to going out, and receive answers from the rest of the system’s user base. You can think of it as something similar to Yelp, but more to the point.

Besides asking questions, Locish also allows you to follow users who’s interests you might share, be notified when they check in somewhere, and read reviews they’ve left, all with the aim of progressively expanding your own knowledge of the city around you. If you find someplace that you might not be able to visit at the moment, there’s also a “save” option which allows you to store that location for the future.

As you’d expect, the app makes it easy for users to reach out to their friends, and contacts on other networks, inviting them to the site, or sharing their whereabouts.

The Run Down

The company is based out of Athens, Greece, and led by co-founders Alex Christodoulou, and Greg Zontanos.

The initial launch of the app was in 2013, and with the help of a substantial recent investment (Greek source) totaling $820,000 the company recently introduced their upgraded version 4.2 which features an array of improvements.

If its four star rating on Google Play is any indication, after nearly 10,000 downloads, its consumer base seems to be responding well.

Nice to meet you

To learn more about the changes going on at Locish, and what the company’s staff feel the future holds for it, I interviewed marketing associate, Sophia Simunec.

  • Where did the idea for Locish arise?

“Our co-founders, Alexis Christodoulou and Greg Zontanos were on a holiday in Budapest a couple of years back and, like most tourists, they were looking for nice places for food and drinks but had no idea where to start. They kept getting lost and going to all the wrong places. In their frustration, they started discussing how awesome it would be if there were an app that could provide them with tips from locals on which places to visit when abroad.  When they went back home, they decided to build this awesome app and Locish was born”.

  • Is there a specific hole in the market that the app was looking to fill?

“We feel that here is no fun, meaningful and efficient way for people in an area to exchange their views on places, whatever those may be. They can include anything from a restaurant, bar or cafe to art galleries and museums. Any place that people are interested in visiting. Locish is basically trying to enhance the social aspect and facilitate this communication among people in order to help them discover new places”.

  • Apps like Foursquare, Yelp, etc. also have interactive recommendation tools, what makes Locish different?

“Locish is focusing on microreviews; short, to the point, insightful reviews on places. We’ve focused on this because we want to provide fast results to mobile users on-the-go who do not have enough time to read through lengthy reviews on sites like Yelp or, sometimes, irrelevant tips on foursquare”.

  • Apps like this cater to word of mouth between consumers, was this also key to the marketing strategy Locish undertook to build up its brand name, or were there other marketing techniques used to a large degree as well?

“We’re constantly learning and trying to improve our marketing strategies. We’ve primarily explored the benefits of viral marketing, email marketing and social media to achieve traction”.

  • What are some of the main changes to the new app? Are there any new features users can expect?

“We are constantly testing our product, trying to apply innovative methods as well as listen to the feedback our users give us to make the appropriate updates. We truly appreciate and rely on the feedback of our users. Locish is at a great point but it’s not a finished product and that’s the beauty of it; we are excited where our users will take us. The things we are currently working on is to make it easier for our users to ‘search’ for places on Locish”.

  • How does it work with social media? Can I tweet recommendations I get, or even my question (or post it on Facebook, etc)?

“You can absolutely share the content you put on Locish on other social media such as Facebook and foursquare”.

  • What does the future look like for the company? As it grows is the management looking to expand outside of Greece, and target other parts of the world?

“Our primary focus has always been Greece and the U.S.. We launched the first version of our app in only three cities; Athens, San Francisco and New York so that goes to show you that these were our primary markets. As the app grows, we would definitely plan on opening offices in other parts of the world and focus on other areas as well”. 

The Verdict

Credit to Locish for finding a hole in the market, and exploiting it. Offering a platform based on quick, chat like recommendations, as opposed to the more bulky reviews we’ve become accustomed to on Yelp, and Tripadvisor is indicative of what I view as a general trend in the industry.

People appreciate quick information. When someone posts a question asking “where can I get a good burger”, a simple recommendation/tag is going to be more helpful than a well thought out review nine out of ten users won’t bother to read.

Locish has grasped this concept, and is now building an entire social media themed engine around it. As they pick up pace, companies like this have the potential for viral growth. Of course, having the right ingredients doesn’t always mean you’re going to produce the best meal, but it’s still early stages, and the startup has every reason to be optimistic.

  • Thank you to Sophia, and the rest of the Locish team for going out of their way to make this post possible. The image used is from blog.locish.com. 

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