“Buy local” is a popular slogan, but it is often easier said than done. Large international corporations enjoy a number of advantages over local businesses, not least of them brand recognition. Big companies are everywhere and well known; local businesses are also all around us, but in many cases, we simply don't know where to look and what to look for. Consumers, job hunters and entrepreneurs alike have much to gain from turning to smaller local companies, but where would we begin?
A France-based startup called Fliptech offers one possible answer to that question. Social media is an essential part of marketing these days, but thanks to their deep pockets major businesses enjoy an innate advantage there as well. By bringing the existing FlipNpik app over to the blockchain and enhancing it with new premium features, Fliptech hopes to create a unique collaborative social media platform aimed at promoting local companies.
How will the FlipNpik platform work?
The platform is going to operate on a freemium model. Both businesses and ordinary users will be able to register on the platform for free through an iOS or Android app. Companies (or other users) would post their business profiles, which would then be visible to nearby users in a geolocalised directory. Users would set up personal profiles with their consumer preferences and subscribe to receive information about businesses. Their preferences and location will be used to generate a personalised news feed and offer them promotions. They will also be able to participate in games with real prizes, such as the Wheel of Savings and the Surprise Box.
FlipNpik effectively uses two currencies: the Flip Social (FS), a platform reward system, and the FlipNpik Token (FNP). Users will receive FS for simply being active on the platform, referring others and using FNP, and will spend it to participate in games and special offers. The token could be used in the same way as FS, but will also give access to premium features. Businesses will use it to access advanced marketing tools, personalised support and big data on their profile visitors, increase their visibility, implement special promotions and provide an augmented shopping experience for subscribers. Finally, both sides could use it to interact with each other on an online marketplace.
On top of this, FNP holders will have another unique way to interact with local business: By placing a 500 token deposit and referring a minimum of three active users to a company's profile, they could become Ambassador Partners of one or more willing businesses. In exchange for 20% of the company's FNP budget, an Ambassador Partner will be expected to keep its profile active and visible on the platform. Ambassador rights could be sold to other users; they could also be allowed to lapse, resulting in the return of the deposit.
Who will profit from FlipNpik?
Local businesses have been shown to be of greater benefit to their neighbours compared to large corporations, as a larger share of their revenues tends to return to the local economy. If taken together, they generate more jobs. They also can have more unique products and services. This platform will help local companies and their loyal customers increase their visibility with incentives for both sides. By doing this, it will stimulate the local economy further, making smaller companies more viable while also subjecting them to more active competition with each other.
By relying on the platform and its users, companies might save a lot of money on marketing. The online market could also generate additional revenue with less overhead. Customers would also gain new ways to engage with their favourite local companies, earning tokens for doing so.
What are FlipNpik's advantages over the competitors?
While existing social media platforms already allow companies to use them to increase their visibility, their functionality tends to be rather lacking, especially for smaller companies that need all the help they can get. FlipNpik offers those companies a unique opportunity to crowdsource a large part of their promotion, while giving them a special-purpose platform on which to interact with current and potential customers nearby. It also provides advanced marketing tools and other services based on the increasingly popular model of inbound marketing, attracting and retaining customers through useful and interesting content.
Essentially, the basic software and the business model of the FlipNpik platform have already been tested off the blockchain through the existing app. This project is therefore not an attempt to create something from scratch but an effort to scale up a tested product with blockchain technology. Fliptech is licensed to use FlipNpik all over the world outside of North America and is prepared to expand its operations globally, with an action plan to promote the platform in a few specially selected cities.
Token sale details
In addition to the sales, FNP could also be received in exchange for FS. It will be provided out of a “social mining” reserve. By the time this reserve runs out, the platform is expected to become fully self-sufficient.
A timely service for local economies
It is a paradox of the modern world that the long-term tendency towards globalisation is increasingly accompanied by the opposing trend towards localisation. With the help of the Internet and an ever more advanced industrial supply chain, many products and services that were once only available in major cities can now be accessed anywhere. This makes local businesses progressively more viable and more attractive as an alternative to major corporations, and thus more able to compete with them – at least in theory.
Turning that theory into practice is FlipNkik's main promise. If its collaborative promotion model succeeds in bringing customers and local companies together, it may end up being on the forefront of a major trend in the ascendance of new localised economies. Then it may become indispensable to a potentially infinite number of developing ecosystems worldwide. Some details of its model could benefit from further elaboration, especially the interactions between Ambassador Partners and businesses. But given the growing number of local-scale companies looking for new ways to promote themselves, this service seems bound to find demand.
This review by Bonanza Kreep is all opinion and analysis, not investment advice.