As Mobile Coupons Rise, Wanderful Media’s Deals Aim Local And Specific
Coupon concepts are burrowing their way into the 21st century through location and behavioral targeting on mobile.
The number of people using mobile coupons is expected to rise 12 percent to 104 million people between this year and the end of 2016, according to a recent study by marketing insights company Statista.
But back in 2011, when Wanderful Media debuted as ShopCo Holdings, many consumers and advertisers were unsure about the future of virtual coupons. As Wanderful’s network of mobile properties, which includes the coupon app, Find&Save, passes 300 million global users (160 million in the US), the Los Gatos, CA-based mobile marketer is preparing for the mobile coupon moment.
Through Find&Save, Wanderful displays offers for over 400 retailers across 150,000 store locations, and it also allows users to both build shopping lists and receive location-based sales alerts.
Essentially, Find&Save provides customers with mobile deals for various retailers, using location and behavioral data to target the right shopper at the right time. By keeping the offers specific and location-based, the hope is that users will see deals that are truly relevant — and retailers will boost their in-store visits in turn.
“[Digital circulars] have really evolved over the past three years,” said Tom Kersten, Wanderful’s CRO. “Initially, the notion was to create a destination for circulars and coupons where shoppers could discover deals in their local area. This is interesting to some consumers. However, to drive scale and relevance for millennials it’s all about providing actionable value in the mobile environment. We use our mobile technology to connect offers with active shoppers at specific retail locations. Our data confirms that actionable immediacy is the expectation our users have with mobile couponing.”
It’s A ‘Steal’
The technology available through the Find&Save app can also be used by retailers to lure people away from competitors in real time.
“When you are walking into Home Depot on Saturday morning, a competitor like Lowe’s will have the ability to say, ‘Hey, looks like you’re out for home improvement shopping, here are some sales that are relevant while you’re out today. Come by Lowe’s this afternoon for these three-to-four deals going on. And by the way… We’ll give you a $10 offer if you come in today,’” CEO Ben T. Smith told Forbes in 2014. “That is a really different and unique advertising option for retailers.”
Wanderful manages advertising relationships with its large national retailers — which include Target, Best Buy, and Walmart, among others. But the company relies on regional newspapers partners — who receive a revenue cut — to manage relationships with local and regional retailers, an interesting way of keeping circulars involved in the process, even as their ad usefulness has all but disappeared.
The $14.5 million additional round that Wanderful raised from its dozen investors last year — bringing its total funding to $50 million — points to the continually growing enthusiasm of marketers for this type of targeting.
Big media companies need to “build new audiences because they lost the audiences they had in the past,” Smith told TechCrunch, referring to the evolution away from traditional media for coupons and advertisements. As people are increasingly on-the-go — becoming cross-screen consumers who use whatever device is right for the moment they’re in— marketers are eager for solutions that reach these people effectively with messages that will actually inspire them to make a purchase in-store.
Wanderful has seemed successful here thusfar. In fact, Kersten notes, “we have seen rapid growth in the Find&Save app over the past six months. The app has had 4X year over year growth and we expect that to continue in 2015.”
Wanderful Media is hardly alone in its quest to grow mobile couponing; coupons.com went public last year, and rival coupon app developer Shopular has been building on the $6.4 million investment round for the past two years. But for Smith and co., all of this excitement means good things for the space and for those pushing the boundaries of traditional coupons and rewards.
“We’re really making a bet on… bringing this content to people based on where they’re at,” Smith said. In his view, if that can happen, the lure of the deals themselves will do the rest.