One area chamber of commerce reaches out with mobile phone app

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- Would you like to find out more about upcoming events in Poplar Bluff? Locate the closest restaurant to the place you're standing right now? Or maybe you need to connect to the website of a local hotel. Now there's an app for that.

The Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce has made MyChamberApp free to the public. Only three communities in Missouri currently have access to this application, said chamber president Steve Halter. It is available to iPhone, iPod Touch, Android and Blackberry users.

"We live in a fast-paced world, and if we can make someone's life easier and save them time, that's what we're all about," Halter said. "The chamber wants to be a leader in the community and this is a way to do it."

The opening screen of MyChamberApp offers the user about 16 categories to choose from, including shopping, dinning, health and public services, community calender and places of worship.

The app brings up a list of the services in the user's area once a category is clicked, including distance from the user's location. After choosing a business, the app moves to a window where buttons allow the user, for instance, to dial the location's phone number, connect to its website or receive driving directions via built-in GPS technology.

Only chamber businesses are included in the app, Halter said, but that includes about 75 percent of those in the greater Poplar Bluff area. Members can upgrade their service to include small banner ads, a company logo or a video for an additional charge.

"For a small business to purchase their own mobile app, it would cost $7,000 to $10,000," Halter said. "But you essentially get that now through a chamber membership."

An added benefit of the tool is that it allows the chamber to track the type of information users choose to view, Halter said. For instance, on one recent day 82 people accessed the app and their top searches were shopping, professional services and places of worship.

The app can be downloaded from www.MyChamber-App.com/download-2. The chamber also plans to place a link on its website.

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