Suresh Karpatiya, who is in his early forties, comes from an advertising background. Since 1999, his firm Kumbh Design Inc was helping clients with their print media and web designing needs as well as local advertising branding on outdoor and indoor media.
Over the years he became interested in local discovery. Two years ago he started SaleNavigate.com but it could not reach targeted consumers. “After re-studying the prevailing market I incepted a new website - Toplocal.in. Being an advertising professional, I conceptualized and initiated Toplocal.in with the motive of providing digital branding and promotion to all retail local businesses,” Suresh told YourStory.
In July 2013, Toplocal.in was launched with the aim of providing digital branding for local businesses. It gives a platform to local business where they can have a store profile, photographs, location and even a 360 degree virtual walkthrough of the store. Along with exhibiting the profile of the stores, Toplocal also puts up attractive offers/coupons exclusively for its users. It deals with a range of categories that include food and drink, health and beauty, fashion, home décor and living and other local businesses.
At present, Toplocal.in is live in Ahmedabad but in a few months the plan is to cover all major cities of Gujarat.
The team behind Toplocal also runs Kumbh Design Inc. When some listed local businesses need a dedicated website, Toplocal helps them set up a website as a cross selling opportunity.
The idea of hyper-local-search is to provide an online interface for local merchants to showcase their offerings for a digital audience. As mobile penetration in India is hitting the roof, apps like Haptik and Lookup app are being used to converse with offline businesses – for booking appointments at beauty salons and clinics; making reservations at restaurants, bars, pubs and hotels; getting information about offers, product availability, prices etc. This new trend allows more people to know about a local merchant at substantially lesser costs, when compared to conventional methods of advertisement. At present TopLocal is focused on the web, but to service the future and to be taken seriously they need to embrace the smart phone revolution and be a mobile first company.
What Toplocal is attempting to do is not entirely a new idea; it has been tried with multiple players before. Seuqeakee has tried it in Bangalore. PlayCez had a local recommendation engine. Local is a very difficult puzzle to be solved that requires an innovative approach and not just a recirculation of old ideas under a new domain name.