SOURCE: MerchantCircle, a Reply! Inc. property

MerchantCircle, a Reply! Inc. property

February 28, 2012 09:00 ET

New MerchantCircle.com Takes Consumers From Search to Transaction

Redesigned Site Allows Consumers to Find Qualified Providers in Their Local Area, Receive Competitive Quotes and Find Expert Advice, While Giving Merchants the Ideal Tools for Servicing Their Local Markets

SAN RAMON, CA--(Marketwire - Feb 28, 2012) - Reply! Inc., the leading marketplace for the acquisition of locally-targeted consumer traffic, today announced the relaunch of its MerchantCircle.com property as a consumer destination that helps busy consumers quickly move from local search to transaction and gives merchants the ideal tools for servicing their local markets. Unlike sites that primarily offer directory listings and reviews, the new MerchantCircle.com allows consumers to find and engage with qualified providers in their local area, while giving merchants the ability to easily and cost-effectively market their business and acquire new customers.

"The new solutions we're introducing today represent a significant integration of Reply!'s patented marketplace technology with MerchantCircle.com following our acquisition of the company in 2011. We're taking the category way beyond providing reviews and contact information of local merchants to actually facilitate meaningful connections between consumers and local businesses," said Payam Zamani, founder and CEO of Reply!, Inc. "While MerchantCircle.com is the first major media property to integrate the Reply! platform to connect consumers directly with merchants, this solution will soon be available to any media site on a white-label basis."

The new MerchantCircle.com allows consumers to immediately connect with qualified providers in their local area, get access to deals and coupons, find expert advice and receive free competitive quotes for real-life tasks. Consumers can find providers across all business categories, including home repair and improvement; health and beauty; financial and professional services; construction and real estate services; restaurants; and many others. With more than 1.2 million active member merchants, MerchantCircle.com offers consumers the largest network of local business owners on the internet and has one of the most engaged business-to-consumer communities online today.

Key features for consumers in the new MerchantCircle.com include:

  • Request a Quote: this new feature, powered by the Reply! Marketplace, enables consumers to submit inquiries and receive immediate responses from interested providers.
  • Reading, Ratings & Reviews: from ratings and reviews to photos and blogs, MerchantCircle.com has over 6 million pieces of user generated content to help consumers find the best local businesses.
  • Answers: consumers can get questions answered across all categories by the MerchantCircle.com community of experts, made up of 1.2 million member merchants.
  • Deals: consumers can find discounts and special offers from local merchants, with over 500,000 offers generated and distributed to date.

Unlike many other local sites primarily focused on offering directory listings and reviews, MerchantCircle.com complements these features by also allowing consumers to easily and quickly move from search to transaction. For example, consumers searching for "roof repair" in their local area will be presented with the option to connect to the best local roofers and/or "request quotes" from multiple local providers. These inquiries are serviced by the relevant subset of member service providers within the extended Reply! network. MerchantCircle.com will also introduce new functionality in the coming months that will let consumers see which vendors have received their request and manage their responses.

With today's launch, MerchantCircle.com also introduced several powerful ways for merchants to acquire new customers, including "LeadStore," a service that gives local merchants the ability to purchase qualified, relevant local leads for their business on an on-demand basis. LeadStore presents leads across a wide range of business categories -- everything from roof repair to wedding DJs -- and sources customer inquiries both from consumers searching for services on MerchantCircle.com as well as the entire Reply! network.

Key features for merchants in the new MerchantCircle.com include:

  • LeadStore: a Twitter-like feed for leads, LeadsStore allows merchants to pick and choose leads from a real-time list of relevant consumers directly from their merchant dashboard.
  • DealStore: a new service that increases the visibility of merchants' deals, coupons and other promotions with premium placement on City pages, emails and the MerchantCircle.com category page.
  • Local sponsorships: offers merchants premium placement of their listing in city/category-specific search results.
  • Preferred badges: provides an exclusive opportunity to post an official MerchantCircle.com Preferred business badge to merchant listing pages to provide transparency to searching customers.
  • Lead management: allows merchants to review and manage all customers via the dashboard, or set up the system to deliver new customer leads directly to their inbox or mobile device.

"Small businesses are increasingly relying on a rich collection of useful marketplace information that goes well beyond the 'enhanced listing,'" said Matt Booth, senior vice president and program director, Interactive Local Media, BIA/Kelsey. "MerchantCircle's relaunch fully leverages this trend."

About MerchantCircle.com
With over 1.2 million member merchants, MerchantCircle.com is the largest online network of its kind in the nation. With MerchantCircle.com, local business owners gain access to marketing tools to boost their online visibility and find customers. When online reviews aren't enough, consumers rely on MerchantCircle.com to find the best merchants and deals, get expert advice and secure competitive quotes on local goods and services. In June 2011, MerchantCircle.com was acquired by Reply! Inc., the leading marketplace for the acquisition of locally-targeted and category-specific consumer traffic.

About Reply!, Inc.
Reply.com operates the leading auction marketplace that enables advertisers to acquire locally-targeted and category-specific customer prospects on a cost-per-Enhanced Click™ or cost-per-lead basis. By eliminating the need for advertisers to develop and maintain complex, expensive online marketing infrastructures and teams of experts to source online consumer traffic from many different channels, Reply.com simplifies online locally-targeted marketing for businesses of all sizes. To learn more about Reply!, visit www.reply.com. Additional information is available at blog.reply.com.

Contact Information

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