Podium aggregates SMS, Google, Facebook, Instagram, TripAdvisor and other messaging channels.
Having seen its Australian customer base almost quadruple to over 3,000 businesses since the start of the pandemic, the company has now established a local presence.
The Australian operation is led by country manager Dave Scheine, and already has 65 employees. The company plans to almost double its headcount over the coming 12 months.
"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," said Scheine.
"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% 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."
Since March 2020, Australian businesses have sent nearly six million messages and received nearly 200,000 reviews through Podium.
Podium intends to keep its focus on payments and communications, perfecting its current solutions while adding new tools and operational areas so businesses can run their front offices with Podium.
"From the US, Australia has always felt like a significant market for Podium," said Podium 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."
Ekera Dental Group marketing manager Greg Knappstein said "Podium has been a game changer for the Ekera Dental Group. We place an enormous focus on generating leads and Podium has increased our conversion rates substantially. Our patients love the ability to talk to us directly and get the information they require instantaneously.
"What's more, it has given us an opportunity to observe what questions our patients are asking, and provide invaluable consumer insights. Podium's direct marketing capabilities are also outstanding. With open rates above 99%, we have said goodbye to email campaigns. The most exciting part is the platform is continually evolving, which helps keep us ahead of our competitors."