Toost is a very unique app focused at disrupting the local search scene as it is today. Powered by phone graph and community-driven approach, Toost is the new ‘social’ face of local search. It brings individual’s social network to life with a few taps and helps in choosing the right service provider. Through the mobile first approach, it brings the holy grail of ‘word of mouth’ referrals to mobile by providing the users with businesses used and recommended by their friends. Through a social product, Toost is transforming a linear discovery and decision making process into a multi-point and socially-enabled one. Let us try and look at this app today
Our service needs are in continuous flux driven by numerous demographic and lifestyle factors. As we need more and more services to keep life running smoothly, more niche service needs emerge. Only a community-contributed platform can keep pace with the leading edge of this evolution and also fulfill the service needs in long tail. It is also more likely to have freshest and latest data – the key lacunae in the market.
Mobile phone is the social graph that best reflects deeper relationships within the network. Networks like Facebook are bit more casual and ones like Twitter are more aspirational, Phone Graph strikes the right balance from perspective of uncovering valuable connections as well as revealing the interests of individuals. Phone graph is also more complete and covers the absolute last mile where lot of service providers are present with their phones but no digital presence otherwise.
Putting feet on the street is not fast enough and is not a repeatable approach. Doing things through technology is of course much more cost effective, besides being more valuable in terms of repeatability and scalability.
Key Toost Features
- Network-based business and people search shows results by the network connection level helping users identify the most important ones
- Social features like network activity feed, ask a friend, get friends’ recommendations, and connect with people not in the network helps users reduce friction in their decision making while enabling multi-point discovery. Network activity feed is offered at city, friends, and individual’s level
- Network view is offered to the used in multiple places like showing common connections with the business or with individuals who have installed Toost and are on the individual’s network
- Ratings and reviews done at end-call screen gives control back to consumer. People can rate any service provider or business they interact with and let friends know of their like/dislike for the same. It gets done in couple of seconds and happens as part of call flow. Other user contribution areas are names, numbers, report content etc.
- Powerful and fast caller ID that helps people identify the calling businesses couples with spam blocker that ensures that businesses/service providers cannot bug individual’s life.
- Business and people profiles facilitate the decision making process by offering additional information. Richer and smarter business profiles are coming soon.
Over 1.5m downloads, over 10k downloads per day, Play Store rating of 4.49 on latest versions of the app, over 20k ratings and reviews per month on the platform, 750m entities and 5m businesses on the graph, very high retention levels – the graph of Toost is indicating that people are liking and using it more off late. Friend based local search is here to stay?
According to Chandan Gupta and Rohit Raghav, founders of Phone Warrior – the company that makes Toost the app has four primary focus areas:
- Improved search experience across the country and across the categories with even richer taxonomy to structure and deliver the information
- Even more powerful search performance with minimal latency and superlative accuracy
- Evolve into multi-sides platform with high-impact for supply and demand side. Service providers in long tail face the challenge of finding right Segway into lives of millennials and are stuck with what to do, how to do, and where are resources to do it
- Improved UX through smarter and sharper UI and drive user engagement
This type of app is going to drive a lot of uses in the coming times. This app is the beginning to that. We feel that the Mobile Graph and Friend-Sourcing are really good concepts to leverage going forward. This is just a first step though. We will be watching this space and this app very closely!