New mobile app could replace Groupon
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As if Groupon didn’t have enough competition.
A U.S. company is launching a new mobile phone app in Canada that allows users to sign up with their favourite stores to get special offers on their phones, without subscribing to a daily email offer, like Groupon or LivingSocial.
Brian Ehrlich, director of marketing for MobileBits, says the difference with the app is that it cuts out the middleman, allowing retailers to make offers directly to interested customers who have signed up for offers from their stores, or help customers find the nearest store location or phone number.
The app, called Samy, can essentially put a customized mobile mall into anyone’s pocket.
“Shopping and buying and selling is moving to the mobile phone. It truly is the one thing people never leave home without,” said Ehrlich.
Samy is just the latest service to focus on the retail marketing and sales potential of the mobile phone, which is emerging as a clear leader in the field of e-tailing this Christmas.
On Cyber Monday, more than 18 per cent of consumers used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site, an increase of more than 70 per cent over 2011, according to analytics from IBM in the U.S. Mobile sales reached close to 13 per cent, an increase of more than 96 per cent over 2011.
The IBM web analytics platform tracks more than one million e-commerce transactions a day, analyzing raw data from 500 retailers nationwide.
Canadian moms – who have been identified by retailers like Walmart and Sears as the family CEO – are increasingly turning to mobile phones for communicating.
Almost half of moms now use their mobile devices for browsing and e-mailing, according to research from Mom Central Consulting, which has a network of more than 500 Canadian mom bloggers and a panel of 40,000 moms across the country.
“Blackberries and iPhones are no longer just for teens socializing and busy young professionals. In just two years the number of Canadian moms owning smartphones has quadrupled, indicating that today’s moms prefer texting to talking, and favour apps over idle time spent waiting in line-ups,” according to the report, The Canadian Digital Mom. It was based on a survey of 655 moms.
At Well.ca, mobile transactions have quadrupled in each of the last two years, according to CEO Ali Asaria.
The company recently launched a new mobile app that allows customers to walk through their homes, scanning products they buy often and have them added to their online shopping basket.
The payments industry is racing to enable mobile-phone payments, investing in things like Near Field Communications technology to enable customers to pay for products by pointing their phone at a sensor.
Yorkdale shopping mall manager Anthony Casalanguida, says mobile phones are becoming an increasingly important tool for shoppers. The mall has apps for mobile devices that allow customers to check promotions, parking availability and book restaurant reservations. There have been 90,000 downloads since it was launched 18 months ago.
“The mobile phone is increasingly becoming a shopping companion,” he said.
Casalanguida says apps like Samy tend to attract fast-food retailers and drugstores.
The Samy app also allows customers to download their loyalty cards, for use online and in person.
It was first launched in Switzerland a year ago, and has signed on 3,000 merchants, ranging from giants like McDonald’s to one-store operations.
In Canada, the list includes Global Pet Foods, Mucho Burrito, Teriaki Experience and Corbetts Ski and Snowboards, with two locations in Barrie and Oakville.
“Mobile phones are becoming indispensable. It’s just a natural extension of the next kind of marketing frontier,” said Ehrlich.
So far Samy has had over 13-million consumer merchant interactions. Ehrlich says they are working on a mobile payment system as part of the package.
Samy’s current Canadian user base is relatively small – slightly less than 1,000 people.