Tiffany Otoya; Graham Beckwith; Luke Galford
High Concept Statement:
The best reviews always come from your friends, the people who know you best. Think of our app as a simplified, game-fied “Yelp”, allowing you synch-up with your friends to find the best local listings. By leveraging your phone’s contacts and social media accounts, Scoop would allow you to send-out queries to find restaurants, bars or other businesses in your immediate vicinity. If you like a friend’s suggestion, you can “reward” them for their good taste! After enough rewards, users can cash-out for vouchers to local businesses. This gives you the benefit and convenience of online sleuthing without any time wasted. Best of all: every online recommendation is tailored to you.
Need or Demand:
Online reviews of local businesses are proven drivers towards sales and consumer interest. Although several platforms such as Yelp and Google Maps have amassed large quantities of online reviews from random users, these platforms fail to distill reviews that are personalized to each user. To make matters more complicated, these platforms lump most business listings into vague categories such as Cocktail Bars” and “Thai” restaurants. Armed with a smartphone, consumers do not want to spend too much time and energy searching for a nuanced experience, such as a “Fast-Casual Mediterranean with Seating Space”. On the other side, people like to feel like they have great taste and suggestions for restaurants and bars. Current food review platforms only reward volume of activity, and not the quality of suggestions.
Product / Service / Solution:
Receiving a single recommendation from a trusted friend with an understanding of one’s tastes and preferences is far more valuable than multiple recommendations from thousands of strangers. Scoop would allow users to access friends directly from their contact list, Facebook friends or trusted social networks. Scoop would also gamify this system, through incentivizing users with great taste and knowledge of local businesses by their accumulation of rewards. Users could set geographic locations and business types as areas of expertise, (i.e. Restaurants in the East Village), and be notified when friends are querying about these areas.
Scoop provides value by simplifying the local business and search market and moving away from large crowd-sourced lists towards trusted friends and sources. Additionally, Scoop’s gamification of the recommendation process would provide motivation and validation for users with great tastes and opinions on local businesses. Finally, Scoop would improve its product with more users through network effects, leading to more eyeballs and attention on the product.
Yelp is the largest player in the local business search/review market. Yelp’s strengths are due to a large user base and high number of crowd-sourced reviews. Yelp’s weaknesses are information overload and lack of intimately trusted sources for its users.
Foursquare is very similar to Yelp in that its strength is based on a large existing user base and crowdsourced reviews. Foursquare has a social network component through its linkages to a sister app, Swarm. Swarm allows people to “check-in” and make plans with friends on the app through location sharing. Foursquare and Swarm’s weaknesses are information overload and fewer intimately trusted sources of users.
Rex is a social network dedicated to recommendations. Rex’s model is based on users posting about their favorite podcasts, movies, books and local businesses. Rex’s strengths are higher user base and broad category mix. Rex’s weaknesses are that it appears more like a social network and doesn’t allow for direct querying of trusted friends.
ScoopIt was a very similar app based on searching for recommendations. It is unclear if it had game-ification and incentives for users to join. It is unclear what led to its demise.
Scoop’s model would be a hybrid of an ad-supported revenue and paid features. With enough users searching through the app, local businesses could reach targeted populations through ads. Scoop would also offer fee-based features, allocating a limited number of queries and rewards per month, and allowing users to pay for additional interactions, similar to Tinder.