Podium has continued its international expansion today announcing its launch in Australia. Podium serves more than 90,000 local businesses in the United States, Canada and Australia, and has seen its customer base in Australia almost quadruple to over 3,000 local businesses since the start of the pandemic.
Through its SMS-based platform, Podium helps local businesses receive more reviews, collect payments, send SMS campaigns, and centralise their communications – all on the channels their customers prefer. Podium’s centralised platform aggregates communications from channels such as Google, Facebook, Instagram and TripAdvisor.
The local team is being led by Country Manager Dave Scheine [featured image], who has over 15 years of experience launching and scaling international teams and operations at global companies such as Google, Yelp, and Vend. Podium currently has 65 employees in Australia and plans to significantly expand headcount to almost double that over the coming 12 months.
On the launch, Scheine said: “We’ve already had an incredible response from local Australian businesses, and I’m excited and humbled to lead the launch of a platform that holds so much potential for them. These businesses – the glue that holds communities together – have faced a lot recently, and now more than ever need Podium to communicate with customers on the platforms they prefer. So many of us live and work via our smartphones today, which presents significant opportunities for local businesses.
“SMS text messages have a 98 per cent open rate and three in four consumers would prefer to interact with a business via text. What this demonstrates is that mobile communications is more than a ‘nice to have’ today, it’s essential. Consumers also rely heavily on online reviews to discover businesses, so it’s not an exaggeration to say that businesses who rely solely on foot traffic and physical location are in danger of being left behind. When running a business today, it’s so important to not only meet, but exceed customer expectations. COVID has created new consumer expectations, but also new opportunities to win customers online. Through Podium, we’re helping Australian businesses create the online presence they need and deserve.”
Podium’s comprehensive platform includes Reviews, Payments, Webchat, Feedback, Teamchat, Inbox, Videochat and Campaigns is used by over 3,000 local businesses. Since March 2020, when the first lockdown began, Australian businesses have sent nearly six million messages and received nearly 200,000 reviews through Podium.
To grow its market share, Podium’s overarching focus is on both payments and communications, providing local businesses with the holistic, industry-leading platform not available through current market incumbents.
To do so, Podium will focus on product innovation, by both perfecting the current solutions and expanding the platform with new tools and operational areas to deliver a comprehensive operating system for businesses to run their front office with Podium. Podium will also focus on developing deep partnerships and alliances in key verticals, as well as diversifying into new sectors.
“From the US, Australia has always felt like a significant market for Podium,” commented Co-Founder and CEO, Eric Rea. “Local Australian businesses have been reaching out to Podium proactively since 2016, so establishing a presence in such a rich, vibrant small business market has always felt like an incredibly important step for us.”
“I started the business following a phone call from my father, who had plenty of happy customers at his tire shop, but only a handful of unhappy ones were leaving reviews. So we built a product that made getting more reviews as easy as sending a text. As we set out to solve the same problem for local businesses everywhere, we realised that messaging with customers wasn’t just the better way to get reviews – it’s the better way to do business. We’ve since built a multi-product platform that’s modernising the way local businesses work.”
“Like in the US, Australia is renowned for the strength of its small business community. People like my father who are looking for more convenient ways to interact with their customers and run rewarding, successful businesses. Today is an extremely exciting day for Podium and our mission to bring those capabilities to local businesses here in Australia.”
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