NEW SERVICE SET TO TAKE SOUTH AFRICA BY STORM
Advertising, Internet Marketing, Web Development
The winds of change are blowing in the South Africa. In July Think Local launched their new website into a captive market, with a comprehensive portal for local businesses. Whereas Tripadvisor is a leading force in the hospitality industry, as is Autotrader in the motoring sector, to date local businesses, like plumbers, tyre suppliers, home industry stores, restaurants, medical facilities, to name but a few, have remained un-serviced on the web. According to Think Local’s CEO, Sam Knowles, the market has responded extremely well to the offering and the live beta phase is now drawing to a close. “We have found that our Forever Free Website offering is making waves in the industry, since most entrants to the small business sector who have previously developed ‘template’ directory website offerings are still attempting to charge for a basic website. Our strategy is a longer term view that a business’ basic presence on the web cannot be charged for going forward,” says Knowles. Established directory players like Brabys and Yellow Pages still offer only simple telephone number and address searches that has left local business communities wanting.
The first areas unfolding are the Eastern Cape, including Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage, Despatch, Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp, St Francis and surrounding villages. In the Southern Cape, towns like George, Oudtshoorn, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Sedgefield and surrounds are live. “We envisage roll-out to the rest of South Africa on a measured basis to ensure stability of growth, first completing the Eastern Cape with Grahamstown, Port Alfred, East London and surrounds, followed by KZN, mainly because we already have a substantial presence in print editions there,” says Knowles.
Naj Essop, Operations Manager, adds that “there are more than 12 000 businesses with whom Think Local has already transacted in print, and so our trusted brand removes the barrier most web providers experience, namely that of trust. I am overseeing the hiring of skilled staff at a rapid pace at the moment to ensure first class service for both print and web services.”
What is unusual about this launch in particular, is that this is the first website launch that has a footprint in print for over 9 years, that is simply diversifying into the digital era in a meaningful way. The huge customer base and brand reputation will give impetus to the take up, which is expected to take South Africa by storm. For now, the future looks bright for the communities in the Cape who are already showing substantial interest in the product.
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