Knotis is what a deal sites should be – a powerful, effective, and affordable marketing tool for local merchants and small business owners.
I sat down with McLean Reiter, CEO of Knotis, and Nick Hughes, Director of Business Development at Knotis, earlier this week to learn about Knotis and what makes it stand out from myriad of other deal sites, such as, Groupon and Living Social.
Knotis is disrupting the daily deal business with its exclusive focus on merchants. Knotis realized how third-party deal sites were becoming a nightmare for merchants and small business owners. The influx of customers demanding service all at once after purchasing a daily deal causes undesired stress on inventory and customer service, which results in negative reviews and ratings of otherwise great quality merchants. Worse yet, such deal sites keep the relationship with the consumer for themselves and the merchant is never able to establish that connection. McLean saw an opportunity to enter the space with a sustainable, yet different, merchant-centered approach.
The idea of Knotis was born when McLean was travelling to Portland back in 2011. The hotel he stayed at had printed local maps which were extremely helpful in navigating around the area. McLean realized that those maps were not connected to technology in any way and, with a touch of technology, he could turn these printed maps into powerful digital coupon based advertisement solution for local businesses. A few days later, Knotis had born and McLean was working on his first product, local neighborhood maps. Knotis has used local maps as a trojan horse to understand local businesses better. The company has since then introduced Neighborhood Pass for consumer to take advantage of exclusive deals in their neighborhood.
Since Knotis is primarily based in Seattle, with very small footprint in Portland, its main marketing and customer outreach channel is face to face interaction with merchants in different Seattle neighborhoods. Through this very channel, Knotis acquired its first customer.
Knotis’ mission is to make consumers ‘notice’ local businesses in their neighborhood so that shopping from a local merchant is as easy as shopping half way across the world (Irony!).