Two years after launching as a primarily business directory app, Mobile Assist has transitioned into a mobile shopping app with a soft launch last month.
Already ten merchants have signed on as early adopters, according to Adria McCardy, who is the marketing manager for Mobile Assist.
“We primarily dealt with surveys, contests and the business directory. We still have those on the app but our main focus now is shopping. So, for example, in the business directory, if you are looking for any Bahamian business, you can find it on the app; now our focus is that you can now shop with those vendors,” she said.
“Now, we’re trying to give Mobile Assist a new face and get those consumers interested.”
Since it launched in 2017, more than 60,000 devices have downloaded the app.
McCardy said the company is seeking to become the Amazon.com of The Bahamas.
“Mobile Assist has been around for two years but this specific platform has recently just soft launched in December. We’ve received a lot of good feedback. People are excited to get another venue for revenue and so that’s the biggest ticket for the business partners,” she said.
“We’re in the very early stages. Eventually, we’ll be integrating the Sand Dollar on our platform so you can just use it like another form of payment. Mobile Assist is a shopping platform where we have local vendors on the app and basically it takes the work out of coming into the physical store. You just shop online, you purchase online and if they have delivery services, it comes right to your door. Think of it like The Bahamas’ Amazon. So far, we had ten come onboard as early adopters and so now we’re getting other businesses to sign up.
“We’re trying to be as big as possible. We want to get to the point where anyone using the app doesn’t have to move if they don’t want to, all the local Bahamian vendors are there and you will save time and money.”
Marketing consultant for the app Salina Archer said the service also provides an avenue for smaller businesses, or even those adversely impacted by Hurricane Dorian on Abaco and Grand Bahama, to reach a wider consumer base without a traditional brick and mortar location.
“For entrepreneurs, those who may not have the means to set up a physical storefront especially in Abaco and Freeport, areas hit by Dorian, this actually gives them an avenue where they can get back in business really quickly, have their products featured and bought without having a physical store,” she said.
“For other entrepreneurs that are looking to expand into other territories or different areas, there’s no big storefront, they don’t have to build their own app which can cost up to $10,000, they can get started with us and they get their monthly service as well with tech support and all of the things they need to operate the app without that big overhead cost.”
Mobile Assist launched in December 2017 in a partnership with telecommunications company Aliv and was touted as a tool to change the way Bahamian businesses interact with customers on a mobile platform.
At the time, the goal was to have the platform either purchased by a larger technology company or to take it public.