1. TalkTo Visualized

    Every day, American’s walk into brick ‘n mortar stores and turn over $12.5 billion. That’s right, in one year all of America spends about $4.5 trillion - with T - in stores, from the smallest boutiques to the biggest big boxes.

    Despite amazing volumes, there is not a good way to ask questions to - and get answers from - nearby stores. Sure, you can call; but calling is a nuisance. Google tells you what stores are nearby but it cannot tell you what’s on the shelf. A few stores have “check inventory” web services, but these are often inaccurate. Good luck getting an answer via email, Facebook or Twitter.

    So what happens when you give consumers an easy and delightful way get answers from nearby businesses? They use it! Over the last year, TalkTo has answered hundreds-of-thousands of questions asked to nearby stores. Questions ranges from the expected (“Do you have the iPhone 5s in stock”) to the not so expected (“How much does it cost to get a tattoo?”)

    The below heat map shows a timeline of conversations, starting with launch in 2012 and ending with the 2013 Holiday season. In total, our community connected with over 100,000 different stores. The most popular businesses, as measured by greater than 300 individual chains contacted, were:

    Walmart
    Target
    Best Buy / Future Shop
    Apple
    CVS
    Home Depot
    Walgreens
    Costco
    Staples

    This is what disrupting local commerce looks like. So grab some popcorn and a soda and enjoy the show.

  2. More Answers to save you time

    Happy holidays from the TalkTo team!

    We’re excited to introduce some changes today that make it even easier to get answers from nearby businesses, and to help you save some time during your holiday shopping.

    In the latest release (iOS, Android and Web), you’ll find TalkTo’s new local shopping feed which gives you a way to tap into existing answers from the larger TalkTo community.

    image

    Want to know if an Xbox One is in stock before battling store crowds? Someone else probably did too. The local shopping feed shows answers from nearby retailers to these types of questions.

    As more answers are collected in the feed, local shopping will become faster and easier. Additionally, you can filter the feed by a particular business, product or service to get your answers fast.

    Questions that appear in the feed are about pricing and availability; and because privacy is important to us, the questions are not attributed to the person that asked them. Questions related to reservations and appointments are not included in the feed.

    We know everyone is pressed for time during the holidays, and hope the updated TalkTo experience will make life a little simpler. Let us know what you think at hello@talkto.com.

    Team TalkTo

  3. Insights from the iPhone 5s Launch

    Last month, Apple launched it’s 7th generation iPhone. People camped outside of Apple Stores days in advance. Others ran from store-to-store hoping to get their hands on the lighter, faster device. And some folks pulled out their old iPhones, launched the TalkTo app and asked nearby stores what they had in stock. TalkTo, being the way people find local products, had a perfect vantage point to uncover patterns in the iPhone shopping mania.

    AT&T is still the king of the iPhone
    Over half (56%) of US queries asked for AT&T phones, followed by Verizon (29%). This gap is largely driven by past history. If you remember, the iPhone was exclusive to AT&T for about 3 years. During that period, AT&T won early adopters and have been able to maintain those customers. And what did Verizon during that time? They bet big on Android, most notably spending $100 Million advertising the DROID.

    The 5s is hot; the 5c not so much
    With a faster processor, bio-marking security and better motion detection, the 5s was all the buzz during launch week. TalkTo fielded 20-times as many queries for the 5s as the 5c. The Gold 5s was in highest demand, with more than 3-times as many people asking for Gold over Space Gray.

    image

    For every 20 availability questions about the 5s there was 1 question about 5c.

    The Apple Store and Best Buy are top-of-mind for iPhones
    It’s no surprise that The Apple Store is where people go to get the newest iPhone. What’s interesting, though, is that Best Buy holds the second position, by a wide margin. This is due to the fact that Best Buy is carrier agnostic, so an AT&T or Verizon or Sprint customer can get what they want at Best Buy. It’s also interesting to note that RadioShack, which Wall Street is bearish on, owns significant mindshare when it comes to new iPhone launches. RadioShack was tied with Target as the 5th most TalkTo’d store.

    image

    RIM Country goes Apple
    The typical US metro areas were iPhone hotspots. The corridor between Boston and DC saw about 25% of TalkTo traffic, followed by the West Coast. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the activity in and around Toronto. Just a few years back, the Waterloo/Toronto area was Blackberry country. Using an iPhone was worse than wearing a Boston Bruins jersey. Well, the times have changed and our brethren to the North sought iPhone’s as ravenously as folks in San Francisco.

    image

    The next big product launches are Playstation 4 and XBox one. Stay tuned for more TalkTo Local Insights.

  4. Winner, Winner — wait, WHAT’S for dinner??

    TalkTo is like a Swiss Army Knife; it’s one tool that can do so many jobs. With TalkTo, you can connect with nearby businesses - big or small, independent or national chain - and ask just about anything.

    To get a sense of what’s possible, we gave our users a challenge: Share your most creative use cases. The results are in. Wow, we have a creative community!

    The Winner

    Congratulations to Michael Wimsatt and his text to Ottomanelli & Sons in New York. Is it true: Does alligator taste like chicken?

    The Almosts:

    This Father used to TalkTo to fill his tummy while his child counted sheep.

    This hiker needed the right boots from REI.

     

    And, well, this one just made us blush.

    Thanks to everyone who submitted! We love to hear what tasks TalkTo makes easier for you.

  5. TalkTo Goes Native…Android, That Is

    TalkTo is live in the Google Play store. And of course, our updates notes don’t disappoint.

    Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,

    A tale of a new release,

    That started from a whiteboard sketch

    Downloads it should increase.

     

    The interns were mighty Princeton men,

    Their mentors wise and bright.

    The small team started work that day

    On a complete app rewrite, a complete app rewrite.

     

    The coding started getting rough,

    Must succeed at any cost,

    If not for the effort of the two interns,

    The release would be lost, the release would be lost.

     

    TalkTo is now ready for you to install from the Play store

    With new features

    A new look too,

    Text businesses maybe three,

    The hair salon

    Get a table before they’re all gone,

    It’s just so versatile.

     

    So this was the tale of an app release,

    We told it to you in rhyme

    TalkTo is at home on Android,

    And you’ve found it just in time.

     

    Trust TalkTo and the agents too,

    To do their very best,

    Replies from all the businesses,

    In Canada and the U.S.

     

    Compare a price, check hours, make reservations,

    Not a single phone call made,

    You text for everything you need,

    And replies are soon displayed.

     

    So go install TalkTo my friend,

    You’re sure to get a smile,

    From knowing when you use TalkTo

    The phone you’ll never dial.

  6. 800 5-star reviews, analyzed

    A few days back, TalkTo received its 800th review on iTunes. It’s easy to quantify the ratings (a solid 5 star) but what are people actually saying about TalkTo?

    To answer that question, I went to Jason Davies amazing word tree tool.

    First, I looked at the titles of our reviews. The most common word: “awesome” followed by “great”, “amazing” and “!”. Click here and you can play around with the tree yourself.

    More interestingly, I plugged the reviews into the tool. TalkTo is “so useful”, “so convenient”, “so easy”. Click here to play around. 

    So if you want an “awesome” “app” that is “so convenient” and “so easy” and makes you want to exclaim “!”, you’re just a click away (iTunes, Android).

  7. If E.T. had TalkTo….

  8. Spring Forward with a Text Back

    Ah, spring. A time of new beginnings. Warm weather, blooming flowers, and the start of baseball season. Even if the ground is still covered in snow (we feel for you, New England!), the beginning of spring provides an opportunity to start anew.

    What better way to start spring than to engage in some spring cleaning? Whether it would do you good to switch out your winter wardrobe, scrub down the kitchen floor (or hire a cleaning service…), or even plant a garden all your own, TalkTo is here to help.

    • Clothing stores are stocked with spring clothes already, so text your favorite to see if they have warm weather outfits or a swimsuit in your size. 
    • Does your apartment look like it survived a dust storm? Text a local cleaning service to arrange for a little outsourced spring cleaning.
    • Want to renew your devotion to that New Year’s Resolution and eat healthier? It’s time to start planting if you want to grow some veggies of your own. Text around and see who has the seeds and gardening supplies you need to get started this weekend.

    These and other spring chores can be done with texts from TalkTo, and you’ll feel fresh, renewed, and ready to face the rest of 2013 head-on.

    So go ahead, don’t wait any longer! It’s time to spring into action.

    Bird on a branch

  9. Girl’s Night Out

    It’s happening again.

    Maybe your boyfriend has just spent too much time discussing Wes Welker’s move to Denver, or you just can’t listen to your kids talk about the virtues of Minecraft anymore. What you need is a night out. A night to talk about anything else, like why on earth Taylor Swift would pick a fight with Amy Pohler and Tina Fey.

    image

    But girls’ nights out aren’t easy to coordinate. Where do you go? What if an extra friend unexpectedly shows up… Or someone can’t make it at the last minute? And, of course, what to wear?

    TalkTo has you covered. Text some of your favorite restaurants to find out what reservations are available and whether they can be flexible on party size. Shoot a text to your pub of choice to make sure your favorite Malbec is available.

    No one wants to show up to a date with her girlfriends with her roots showing. Use TalkTo to grab that long overdue hair appointment. Need something to wear? Check on in stock sizes and colors with a few texts.

    Once you do finally get out on the town with the girls, please put the phone away. You deserve it!

  10. You Are What You Text

    Healthy food

    If you’re anything like us, your New Year’s Resolution went out the window, oh… about a month ago. But with swimsuit season in the near future, it’s time to get back up on that horse. There’s also another reason to shape up:  March is National Nutrition Month.

    Eating well, and getting the right ingredients, can be time consuming. What was the name of that fish you bought and enjoyed last week on the fish man’s suggestion? Send Whole Foods a quick text to jog your memory. Looking for your favorite fusilli pasta, but made with whole wheat instead? Text a few grocery stores in your area to find out who stocks it. Try texting your favorite lunch spot to see what salads they have on the menu – dressing on the side, please.

    Don’t stop at nutrition. It’s also time to revisit those fitness goals. Want to know when spin classes are scheduled at your gym? Shoot them a text with TalkTo. Text city hall to find community fitness programs in your area. Send a text to register for that yoga class you’ve finally been meaning to get to. Text the shoe store to see if that new pair of running shoes you’ve been eyeing are available in your size.

    Gear up. Game on.