Neighborhood Case Study – Virginia Highlands
The Internet has done a great job of connecting us with folks half a world away, but not the guy next door. As a result, we’ve failed to connect with the people most likely to be interested in us – our neighbors. That’s all about to change. With SkyBlox, your neighborhood gets the Internet, fast, free, and secure, through mobile-optimized Wi-Fi hotspots located in the neighborhood businesses we all love. But even better, with SkyBlox, the Internet gets your neighborhood, giving local businesses a free, real-time listing service that blasts offers, specials, and news out to thousands of interested neighbors on their web-enabled iPhones and laptops.
The very first neighborhood SkyBlox approached in Atlanta was Virginia-Highland, one of Atlanta’s most popular neighborhoods. The retail hub of Virginia-Highland is the corner of Virginia Avenue and North Highland Avenue. There are 30 businesses on that corner. 18 of those business signed-up with SkyBlox in April of 2008.
These forward-thinking business owners decided to give SkyBlox a try and in return this retail hub in Virginia-Highland now offers free Wi-Fi to the community, the local businesses can communicate directly with customers in a new, innovative way, and potential customers thinking about visiting “the Highlands” can go to a neighborhood page filled with real-time specials and events. These are specials and events that were previously only known to regulars.
Since April, even more Virgina-Highland businesses have signed up and there are 17,661 monthly Wi-Fi sessions. The neighborhood residents still have their Yahoo groups, the business association still has its website and each business still has its own existing customer email list. But now the neighborhood businesses have another powerful tool to reach new customers.
The very first business we approached in Virginia-Highland was Murphy’s, the neighborhood’s anchor restaurant for over 30 years. Founder Tom Murphy immediately realized the potential to tie neighborhoods together via Wi-Fi and a neighborhood portal.
Every day a Murphy’s hostess updates Murphy’s SkyBlox account with daily specials, weekly events or just news to spread to the community. Since installation Murphy’s has averaged 3,214 connections per month. The vast majority of these are handheld devices (for example, iPhones). Each of these connections is another opportunity to communicate with a customer.
How do businesses like Murphy’s and neighborhoods like Virginia-Highland stay strong and vibrant? Because they are open to trying innovative new ways to drive business and stay relevant, especially with low-risk, high-impact opportunities.
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