12ahead takes a closer look at budding start-ups and new businesses, delving into how they’re disrupting the old order. Keeping up with these new ideas and hearing from smaller companies offers valuable learnings, both about the changing industry and consumer behaviour. 12ahead spoke to Madeline Parra, CEO and co-founder of Twizoo, the soon-to-be live review service for the mobile consumer.
What is the idea behind the business?
As the data on social media continues to explode and is used increasingly for recommendations, traditional user reviews are becoming less relevant. Did you know that in London, there are on average seven more tweets about a restaurant for every one traditional user review on TripAdvisor? We were a bit surprised too…
So Twizoo decided to shift the spotlight to Twitter as the source of real and relevant conversations about restaurants in London. No more reviews, just real life.
Why does your industry need disrupting?
The user review industry has been slow to respond to social media and mobile, and seems disconnected from the real conversations and opportunities of these channels.
If there is tons of content on Twitter about restaurants, then why do I always find myself, standing outside the tube station with friends (likely in the rain), trying to decide where to grab a pint? I’m staring at my mobile, scrolling through review after review — everything seems to have 3.5 stars. I never think to leave a review on my mobile either, when I’m in the restaurant. Actually, I never have. I’m much more likely to tweet about it in real-time… ‘reviews’ have the mindset of something I might do once I get home.
Twizoo wants to disrupt the industry by leveraging the relevance and volume the content on Twitter to enable users to make quicker decisions about where to eat or drink.
What part do you play in this?
Twizoo listens to what everyone is saying on Twitter to recommend the best places to go eat or drink nearby, or of specific locations or cuisines.
By using a stoplight type visualisation—where green means good, go, and red mean stop, not for you – Twizoo makes it easy for you to instantly understand what the buzz and feedback is about a restaurant so you can make a quick decision.
Twizoo also listens to what the restaurants are tweeting. Turns out the restaurants are tweeting great content too — but those tweets aren’t reaching new customers at the right time. For example, if a bar just tweeted ‘Happy Hour Tonight 5-7pm, Come try our new magaritas!’, this is definitely something I want to know when I’m standing outside that tube station, trying to decide where to go. So Twizoo lets users know when restaurants have tweeted a special happening when they’re searching nearby.
What have you learned so far?
Through being relentlessly focused on supporting quicker, more relevant decisions for our users, we’ve learned the importance of an intuitive user interface. Sometimes simplicity is the hardest thing to perfect — and it usually comes down to what seems like minor details.
But these minor details make up the fine line that often differentiates a confusing user experience from a great one. We’re hoping we’re on our way to nail down the latter, but time will tell.
What is next for you?
Twizoo is currently in closed beta for the next two months — with eyes on a summer launch in London. Our objective gearing up for the Twizoo launch is improving our user interface and experience based on our active base of beta users.