Online marketing network for small business owners MerchantCircle is launching an iPhone app today that allows small businesses to manage and update their listings on the site and other social media pages, upload photos, answer new customer inquiries and stay on top of their reviews on the go.
Merchant Circle provides a business directory for merchants in smaller towns and currently lists over a million small businesses. MerchantCircle has long targeted merchants in small locales versus catering towards the consumers, as sites like Yelp and CitySearch do. MerchantCircle has local business members in 95% of the 24,600 U.S. cities and towns with populations over 200.
The free iPhone app allows users to create and publish daily deals, photos, status updates and more across multiple social networks, including MerchantCircle, Facebook and Twitter. Users can also use the app to respond to customer inquiries, manage their business listing, reply to messages, and monitor reviews. For example, a hairstylist on MerchantCircle could snap before-and-after photos of clients and immediately post them to her page. Or an IT specialist could respond to inbound customer inquiries as they come in.
A mobile app seems like a natural extension of the network for small businesses (similar to the usefulness of mobile apps for networks like Facebook or LinkedIn). I’m actually surprised that MerchantCircle didn’t already offer small businesses a mobile app.