With the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics just around the corner, British Columbia’s metropolitan hub is permeated by the smell of commerce. The opportunities for retailers in the Vancouver area will be huge in the coming couple of months, but one of the big challenges each will face as the city receives an influx of potential consumers, is standing out in the massive crowd.
The brainchild of Karen Henrich, Chicwalks.com provides mapped shopping walks of Paris, Vancouver, and soon, San Francisco. It’s a great alternative to clunky paper guidebooks for a generation that, with great probability, owns an iPhone. The $4.99 app, available now in the iTunes App Store, currently includes 9 walks with over 1, 000 business listings, in-app vendor offers (AKA coupons), and GPS routing that should save you the hassle of searching for what you happen to be looking for.
This is an application I can see taking off in 2010 because it lends itself to mobile coupons and advertising so easily. Everyone wants a good deal–many of the deal-aggregating iPhone apps did quite well this holiday season. By building out each city by establishing relationships with local retailers, Chicwalks could be one of the few LBS apps that find themselves profitable quickly, and without the use of venture capital funding. The big question is whether or not the app will be able to proliferate quickly from city to city before a bigger company, with more cash to grow quickly, takes this idea for themselves!