At this point, we’ve probably all heard (or experienced!) the scenario where you’re walking past a store and your phone buzzes to alert you about nearby deals. The challenge, though, is sending a message that’s actually interesting, useful and maybe even exciting, rather than annoying.
Nevin Jethmalani, co-founder and CEO of Notify Nearby, said he’s had that experience himself — he was driving to a friend’s house and, thanks to Shopkick, “Some random company sent me a push notification.”
“I thought, ‘This is just terrible, this is a reason I would uninstall this app,'” Jethmalani said.
So he’s trying to deliver a better experience with the Notify Nearby iPhone app, which launched earlier this week. (The Android app is coming soon.)
Like pretty much every location-based marketing startup, Notify Nearby uses beacon technology and location data to show you nearby deals, but the key here is that you’re following the brands that you choose — companies currently in the app include Tory Burch, Saks Fifth Avenue and Levi’s.
Once you’ve opted in, you should be able to follow all the fashion brands that interest you. Some of those brands are actively posting, while in others have given Notify Nearby permission to post content that they’ve shared elsewhere.
Since it’s more about following companies then getting random deals and alerts, Jethmalani compared his app to Spring. The difference, he said, is that Spring focuses on showcasing products that you can actually buy (we’ve described it as “the shoppable Instagram”), while Notify Nearby is more about fashion content.
Asked what kind of content will succeed, Jethmalani acknowledged, “Of course, because of the way human nature is, promotions will do the best. But strong pieces of content [can include] product launches, new collaborations, exclusives. If someone posts a product launch to our app, that’s something people are going to find really appealing.”
The beacon functionality may be the cool new thing, but the app’s beacon integrations are mostly in New York for now. (“We can’t just saturate the country with beacons.”) But even without those features, everyone else can still use Notify Nearby to follow brands and see their latest content.