Hyperlocal business directory MerchantCircle has been steadily growing its business directory for merchants in smaller towns. MerchantCircle has long targeted its site’s features towards merchants in small locales versus catering towards the consumers, as sites like Yelp and CitySearch do. Today, MerchantCircle is expanded its online marketing platform and business directory to Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.
The startup provides small businesses with a web page listing, blogging and email newsletter application, and a local business social network that focuses on connecting local businesses with each other. Since launching in 2007, the startup has gained traction in small towns where the larger sites don’t have reach. MerchantCircle has also added features to make the site attractive with consumers, launching a question feature that allows consumers to enter a question to merchants about any topic on the platform. MerchantCircle also aims to be a mini-social network, where consumers can “follow” local businesses for information on promotions, coupons and announcements.
MerchantCircle says that the large number of small businesses in the UK, Canada and Australia make the potential growth of its platform in these countries significant. Of course, competitors Yelp and Citysearch both have already expanded internationally.
Of course, this international expansion may support the belief that MerchantCircle could be on track to IPO in the coming year.