Helping local business owners find new customers.
Local business owners needed a way to build high value, sustainable relationships with local patrons. Charities needed predictable recurring revenue streams. Patrons could benefit from real time offers by their favorite local venues, shops, and restaurants while supporting their community.
My town is a real time offer and distribution platform that enables local business owners to reach high value customers through partnership with charities.
Listening to business owners
We visited with several dozen business owners in Denton and College Station to understand how they advertised, what was working, and what they struggled with.
We noticed a common thread in each and every owner we talked with: a lack of time, not knowing how and where to advertise, and not understanding clearly which of their advertising efforts were actually workings.
Our platform needed to handle the advertising, distribution, tracking, presentation, and attribution in order to solve all three problems for local business owners.
The web admin experience was primarily for our agents and early customers to create offers, manage channels, and create a profile. In addition to the admin experience was the My Town homepage, signup and login flows, and all web based offer redemption pages (for social posts aka Facebook and Twitter).
The dashboard showed the user their available offer spots and current offers, and the overall performance metrics of their current promotions.
It was important to me to create a consistent visual language for offers to be used throughout the web, mobile, and channel distribution experiences and that the status of the offers could be clearly understood at a glance.
Creating offers takes less than 90 seconds and users can select from over 100k photos integrated via Unsplash API ensuring their offers always look great no matter where they are promoted.
Business owners can choose how much they want to spend in advertising and My Town takes care of the most effective distribution of ad dollars across connected channels. Users can also adjust spending per channel. Connecting channels is easy and in most cases one click.
The mobile app experience was intended for patrons who purchased membership from a charity or participating organization. The app allowed patrons to see real time offers near them throughout the day, favorite offers and businesses, and redeem offers.
Roxi: A Conversational AI
Our long term vision for the business owner product experience centered around a conversational AI called Roxi that would communicate with through voice and sms with our customers across different platforms and devices.
We wanted Roxi to feel like an extension of the business itself, working tirelessly to manage the marketing efforts for the business owner always on the go.
I developed the front end client apps and website using Riot.js, a light-weight component based library very similar to React. I used Webpack for the tooling and Cordova for the initial iOS and android apps. I also a built a native Swift version of the iOS app.
The backend was built on Firebase, AWS, and other micro-services like Stripe and Send Grid. Our offer distribution platform api’s were built by my Business partner Dustin.
An amazing journey
Being a part of starting a company and building a product from the ground was one of the most rewarding and challenging things I’ve done. My Town was an ambitious project. We set out to truly help solve a difficult problem for business owners.
Over 160 business used My Town, and we were in talks with larger franchises and marketing firms about white-labeling the My Town offer distribution platform.
Unfortunately, we took to long to convert to revenue and could not sustain the business. We had taken to long to get to market. It was very hard lesson for us to learn. Remember. Get to market soon, with a small product you can charge for NOW. :)
All in all I am really proud of the work and the product we built. I find that in life, the journey truly is the reward. I learned so much through this process, made new friends and solidified old ones, and got to travel to Korea.