RelyLocal Celebrates Explosive First-Year Growth with Launch of New Website and Community Campaigns
RelyLocal unveiled its new website this morning (http://www.RelyLocal.com) to celebrate their one-year anniversary and rapid growth across the U.S.. The timing couldn’t have been better, as the growing pains were beginning to test the limits of their original architecture. “The original platform was always meant to be temporary while we took our time to finalize our approach on how to best have an impact on the local economy by promoting local businesses,” says RelyLocal Co-Founder Steve Ramsey. “The problem was how quickly word got out. Within the first few months of testing, not only had we already launched about 50 campaigns across the country, but the business model and mission had evolved dramatically as well.” With RelyLocal’s growth projections, and new initiatives being driven by their local chapters, Ramsey turned to long-time colleagues from Agathon Group for their expertise.
Alan Ritari, CEO of Agathon Group reflects on their reasons for accepting the project, “Public awareness of buying local and living more sustainably is reaching a critical mass, and RelyLocal is in the right place at the right time to help people seek out value in their own communities, while tackling many of the problems that local businesses face on a daily basis. Our entire team sees this project as a way to put some of our own beliefs into practice, by giving people the tools to strengthen their local communities.”
Addy award-winning Art Director Paul Yuen took the lead on the visual design. “RelyLocal is a surprisingly diverse and complex property, ” he says. “The challenge was to connect local businesses with their local residents through a design that would reflect a variety of local flavor, flex to embrace the brand identity of individual businesses while maintaining a unique, clean, concise and comprehensive user interface. That’s a tall order by anyone’s standards!”
The visual design wasn’t the only challenge, adds Ritari, “Using Ruby on Rails as the programming framework allowed us to quickly prototype and build a very complex application, without having site visitors feel like they are using an overly complicated site. RelyLocal is also powered by our cloud hosting environment, allowing the platform to painlessly scale much larger as data and traffic continues to grow on a daily basis.” RelyLocal continues to add 5-10 new chapters throughout the U.S. each week while continuing to see average web traffic growth from 25-40%, monthly.
“The RelyLocal rebuild was an extremely rewarding challenge for everyone involved”, remarks Yuen. “Working closely with the leadership at RelyLocal on behalf of their partners across the country, we have carefully composed an aesthetically pleasing and functional design concept and underlying platform that stands up to the task and is a great source of pride for us all.”
In addition to the new look and technology, RelyLocal now offers more options for their members and consumers alike. “For example, the way we handle coupons has been completely re-worked,” says Ramsey. “Not only are coupons easier for members to add to their listings, but they are now driven by a fairly simple API that will allow other local (and national) sites to also promote these great deals with local businesses. Of course,” he adds, “online coupons are still just one of the many benefits included with a standard RelyLocal membership at $25 per month. We aren’t like Groupon or LivingSocial who take up to 95% of profits from their daily deals. In fact, we take nothing. We are here to help local businesses, not take advantage of them.”
Most important to RelyLocal’s corporate goals is the new-found efficiency of daily tasks. “There are a number of regular tasks that used to take our team several hours to complete within the old infrastructure,” says Ramsey. “In many cases, these tasks can be completed in a matter of seconds – if not completely automated.” This efficiency translates into a savings of not just time, but also money, as RelyLocal is committed to keeping at least 90% of membership revenues at the local level in order to fuel the ongoing campaigns and marketing initiatives of each local chapter.
“All in all, we couldn’t be happier with the final result.” says Ramsey. “Not only is Agathon Group full of talented professionals, but they really understand what RelyLocal is trying to do and have become more of a long-term partner than just another vendor. We can’t wait to start working together later this spring on the next phase of additional features!”
RelyLocal, LLC is a privately held Oregon company with local campaigns in over 550 U.S. cities. Each RelyLocal chapter is locally owned and operated.