Coupon space heats up: Kroger buys You Tech; Chicago start-up takes media approach
Savor launches new website and iPad app that aggregates retail offers and delivers them in personalized digital media setting
The online or digital coupon was one of the first applications of digital advertising technology retailers adopted. Digital coupon companies came and went during, and just after, the dot com bubble burst. But several companies, such as Coupons.com, founded in 1998, remain.
But the category is a particularly interesting one as it appears that retailers are beginning to get very serious about how digital technology will effect their businesses – very serious as in making acquisitions. Because of this, the business appears to be under going a bit of reorganization and consolidation, while at the same time expanding in new directions.
MyWebGrocer, for instance, just announced it had completed the acquisition of Buy4Now, an eCommerce software and services company based in Ireland.
And yesterday Kroger said it bought the company that runs its digital coupon program, YOU Tech, a San Francisco firm started in 2008. “You Tech’s nimble and innovative digital coupon platform has enabled Kroger to deliver hundreds of millions of digital coupons to Kroger customers,” Kroger’s VP of customer loyalty said in their announcement.
Another company, RetailMeNot, which delivers offers to customers via their mobile app and website, recently reported very strong revenue growth in its latest quarter. The company said that its mobile revenue grew 179 percent in the quarter, though its revenue is still relatively small in comparisons to some companies in the space.
But all these companies mentioned above do more than deliver coupons. Each offers a technology element to retails, whether it is delivering offers to loyalty cards, delivering advertising to the grocer’s website, or using geolocation to deliver offers to shoppers inshore and nearby. Each also sells the CPG advertising, either coupons or digital display.
A new start-up from Chicago, Savor, is attempting to enter the space from the more traditional media perspective. The company has a new website that has launched, as well as an iPad app that is now available in the Apple App Store.
Savor’s model involves scrapping offers from the web and presenting them in an attractive and personalized digital media environment. Users create a new account using their Facebook log-in, then chose categories of interest – Men’s fashion, electronics, books and magazines, for instance – and then also pick favorite retailers. Before registering, the user is presented with a wide array of categories and retailers, but the choices decrease, naturally, once one has chose their preferences.
Offers are not delivered through the app, but the user is instead taken to the retailer’s website. In essence, Savor is a news website and app for retailer offers.
“In 2014, over 50 million consumers will use mobile coupons and it’s clear that the omni-channel consumer is the new reality. Over half of shoppers who start shopping on a tablet finish the purchase on their computer,” Rich DeNardis, founder of Savor, said in the company’s launch announcement. “We’ve designed an easy-to-use cross-platform solution for the millions of online shoppers who are flocking to digital coupons for the best deals.”
Unlike the tech solutions that work with the retailers, and push offers based on location or story loyalty, Savor’s model looks more like a media model – build readership and then hope to monetize later. The offers available through Savor are not exclusive to the solution and could just as easily be found online if the reader chose to surf the web in this way. What Savor does, much like a magazine or newspaper, is gather them all up in one place and present the offers in the most attractive and logical way possible.