Emirates Post is offering so-called brick-and-mortar businesses in the United Arab Emirates a new service to improve their visibility online, to market themselves, and to manage their online reputation.The new digital location management service, called Smart Places, will give businesses the power to control and update information appearing in search results and help customers navigate to shops and offices.
The process for claiming and maintaining business listing information online with map data, photos, location addresses, up-to-date operating hours and other relevant data can be time consuming and complicated, says Abdulla M. Alashram, Group CEO of Emirates Post Group. Smart Places simplifies this process.
“As a small company, it is very difficult, sometimes almost impossible to place yourself on these maps,” said Alashram,. “Smart Places is a click of a button, it’s a we-do-it-for-you service.”
Smart Places is a partnership between the Post and UAE-based listings management company, Local Knowledge, which is currently facilitating and supporting the service. The service will help ensure businesses can be found on search and navigation sites, such as Google Maps, Apple Maps, Siri Voice Search, Foursquare, Facebook, HERE Maps and other digital mapping platforms and online directories. The entries will appear in both Arabic and English.
Emirates Post first turned to Local Knowledge to help it improve its listings for the Post’s then 110 branches. Once Emirates Post was happy with the results, it was clear the benefits could extend to the United Arab Emirate’s business community.
“As the UAE’s postal and express service provider, we have nationwide reach,” Alashram says. “At the same time, we are into addressing, we are into logistics, we are into navigation, we are into last-mile delivery. It makes so much sense to make a single source of truth that will serve the whole UAE as a model under Emirates Post.”
Any legal business can register with Smart Places with a valid trade license, a physical business location and a UAE business phone number.
To begin, a business owner can find the Smart Places tab on the Emirates Post website, fill out an application and then upload a few documents. Emirates Post then evaluates the applications and delivers them to Local Knowledge, which contacts the business to finalize the process.
Once onboarding of the business is complete, the owner will have access to a dashboard. From there, they will be able to manage location information from one central platform, allowing for faster updates.
Additionally, users will have one central place to view all online customer reviews. This will make it easier for businesses to respond to customers and manage their digital reputation.
Alashram says that businesses have begun to sign up for the service since its soft launch in May and full launch in July. Emirates Post’s aim is not only to provide solutions for businesses, but also facilitate their operational growth.
“Our ultimate goal behind this whole initiative is to provide a standardized method of business listing,” Alashram says, “so that the smallest company will look like the largest organization on Google.”