Instaply today launched as a company and released its first product, the Instaply Mobile Customer Interaction Platform (MCIP).
Free to customers and businesses and available for download from Apple's iTunes App Store or Google Play, Instaply enables consumers to discover text-friendly businesses and text directly with those businesses from their iPhone or Android devices. At the same time, Instaply lets businesses register and get immediate exposure to new customers.
Key features of the application include the following:
- Directory of Text-Friendly Businesses. Customers can discover text-friendly businesses. No need to remember or share cell phone numbers. Businesses registered on Instaply are at customers' fingertips, anytime and anywhere.
- Ability to text. Instaply looks and feels just like texting. Customers simply choose the business they want to contact from the directory and send them a message. Businesses reply straight back with the answer.
- Multiplatform support. Instaply conversations aren’t tied to a single device like traditional texting. Business users can start the conversation on one device and flip to another.\
Consumers can invite businesses to join Instaply. And because all interactions are initiated by the consumer, there is no marketing or spam.
The new service comes at a time when statistics show that 31 percent of Americans now prefer texting as a primary communication medium. Additionally, on mobile devices, Americans on average make five phone calls, send three emails, and send 21 text messages per day. Nearly 50 percent of Americans under the age of 35 say texting is as meaningful for them as talking on the phone. Users spent 5 percent less time on the phone in 2011 from the previous year, but texting increased 400 percent from four years earlier.
"There is a real need for a new technology solution that enables consumers to quickly and easily get the information they need from their favorite businesses, and enables businesses to deliver a great experience beyond their four walls," said Sheryl Kingstone, a Yankee Group analyst, in a statement. "Sixty-six percent of businesses want to allow their customers to SMS/text customer service via their mobile phones. The time has come for a texting platform that does not require the exchange of phone numbers, does not spam or market to customers, and costs nothing for both consumer and business."
"Instaply wants to fundamentally change the way consumers and businesses interact," said Fabien Degaugue, Instaply CEO, in a statement. "When it comes to contacting businesses, the existing communication channels are too restrictive, slow, and unsatisfying and break down rather than build up relationships. With Instaply, customers and businesses can finally keep in touch and enjoy great customer relationships via texting."