Being the avid foodies that we are, the wife and I are always on the lookout for new food joints to satisfy our cravings. Our problem is, being Muslims, finding halal establishments in Singapore can be quite a challenge. The halal foodie depends heavily on word-of-mouth recommendations, googling the Web and physical ‘stumbleupons’ to discover new food places (sometimes food blogs such as ‘Yok Makan!’ offers great recommendation). But most times though, halal food places remains top of our Google search list.
Not for much longer though. The mobile web will save us all.
Introducing BuUuk: The Mobile Foodie App
Things have gotten easier since we discovered BuUuk for our Android phones (Nexus One FTW BTW). BuUuk is a restaurant guide utility application available for free on the iPhone App Store and also for phones running on Android (get it from Android Market on your phone or click this to dowload .apk file and install). Interestingly, BuUuk is a homegrown, Singapore-made product and has also been featured on CNN Go’s list of ‘11 Crucial iPhone Travel Apps’.
Key Features of BuUuk You Should Know
- BuUuk is a location-aware app. Wherever you are (local or overseas), BuUuk uses your GPS or AGPS location to provide you with Nearby food recommendations. This, I think, is a really cool feature, saves travel time obviously. BuUuk even tells me that I am ‘142m’ away from the Toa Payoh Bus Interchange’s McDonalds outlet (I am at my workdesk at home right now).
- BuUuk currently has a database of restaurants in 50 cities in Asia and Pacific and Middle East (including Seoul, Langkawi, Osaka, Vientiane, etc) Wherever you are, BuUuk will come to you with information.
- BuUuk has both ‘Featured’ (paid listings?) and user-added restaurant listings. You can also add a new discovery to the list. A great way to recommend your favourite chef to friends, family and all foodies out there.
- BuUuk has Best lists. Cuts decision-making time efficiently and more time to enjoy your food.
- BuUuk provides a restaurant page for the food place you are searching for. What’s great here? Cuisine info, contact number, address and directions (running on Google Maps engine). You won’t get lost for sure.
- You can also vote for your favourite foodie hangouts (or find out which joints you should avoid)
- It also looks like BuUuk has an active ‘mobile forum’ section called ‘Ask BuUuk’.
- Here’s the great bit for the wife and I: BuUuk shows if a restaurant is Halal or not. There is also a Categories feature for us to check out all the Halal food joints in Singapore and travel out to these places. ( Other categories are Hawker, German, Filipino and even Dutch among many others.) Note to the Halal Foodie: Please do a quick Google search or ask around to find out if the place is indeed Halal. As a fair bit of the information on BuUuk are user/customer-generated, error in highlighting a place as ‘Halal’ might occur. As with all user-generated recommendations, do a little more search. Start with Google.
My verdict on BuUuk: It is a very promising mobile application with great potential as long as content are fresh and relevant to service users. I would also suggest an editor to audit the restaurant information submitted by users. Nothing biggie there where user-generated content is concerned.
The Age of the Halal Foodies has arrived, rejoice!
Follow BuUuk on Twitter
(Non-marketing folks, perhaps the following might bore you. You may leave if you wish to do so.)
Part II: Why Mobile Marketing Is Important for Business, Big and Small
Here’s an interesting statistic featured in Straits Times yesterday: 80% of ALL phones sold in Singapore in the last 6 months are smartphones.
These are mobile gadgets that allow anyone to access the web any where and everywhere. Consumers have now been freed from the shackles of their desktop to search for content and information wherever they want and whenever they need to. From a personal experience, I have hardly needed to lug my work laptop around or access the web on the desktop computer at home after receiving my Nexus One. The smartphone meets my informational and computing needs adequately.
Where Are Consumers Heading?
Consumers are going to reach out to the nearest businesses they can conveniently reach digitally and those who have taken the effort to market and create presence on the mobile web platform. Those who do will certainly acquire the edge and headstart over others. Consumers are also making specific and targeted search, (such as halal food) and, without online content to optimise search results, businesses might be on the losing end in the long run. With location services such as Foursquare and Gowalla proving extremely popular with the smartphone crowd these days, the consumer retail industry will need to transform itself quickly to cater to these new realities.
No Love for SMS Marketing
Okay, by default, I am going to ignore SMS marketing, be it traditional or interactive. I get irritated by them for interrupting me at the most inconvenient moments. My theory is, advertisers and networks are moving (or jumping in) on the mobile marketing space because traditional advertising has failed. Mobile is just another channel for advertisers to interrupt with noisy commercial messages. I have not seen something I appreciate for ages! (Having said that, markets, such as India or Indonesia, do work and possibly have a need for SMS marketing because of the lack of mobile web infrastructure and slower technologies. Still, no condoning for interruptive tactics from me!)
Mobile Content for Consumers: Utilisable, Reusable and Shareable
The future of mobile marketing should lie in reusable and consumer-utilisable content. Only by developing content can companies capitalise on effective branding (recall and engagement) and generate long-term customer retention. Like BuUuk. I am a fan. And I am sharing with all of you.
More thoughts and ideas on mobile marketing coming to this blog. Watch this space.
This post was inspired by my 3-day attendance at the Mobile Marketing Association Forum (Asia Pacific) 2010. The Mobile Marketing Association is a global non-profit organisation that is leading the growth and adoption of mobile marketing among businesses globally. I fancy what they are doing to keep it sane and do have a read of their Global Code of Conduct (PDF) for mobile marketers. We are in good hands.
Share your thoughts and comments below on BuUuk, mobile marketing and even better still, the best Halal food joints! Let me start, where to find authentic halal dim sum in Singapore? :P
Food image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/laruth/
Nexus One image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mackarus
Category: Business, Marketing 2.0, Mobile Marketing, Technology | Tags: android, Business, buuuk, food, foodie, halal food, iPhone, marketing, Marketing 2.0, Mobile Marketing, Singapore, small business 2 comments »