The Little Things that Make Shopping Apps Better

Some commerce enabling apps are becoming more useful.

Driving home from a family holiday gathering last year, my family kept asking me what that sound was that the phone in my pocket made periodically.

Each time we passed a mall or shopping center, that familiar ka-ching was triggered by my RetailMeNot app.

However, we were cruising around 60 miles an hour and still got the familiar ka-ching, as I wrote about at the time (Mobile Shoppers Active Before Black Friday).

That aspect of the RetailMeNot app bugged me. The idea of being notified of what might be a great deal nearby combined with the inability to practically get to that deal struck me as somewhat annoying.

It turns out I wasn’t alone.

Before leaving Austin after SXSW last week, I visited the newly expanded headquarters of RetailMeNot, a few blocks from the convention center.

As we toured the facilities, Jag Bath, SVP, Product of RetailMeNot, told me that others also had noted the highway drive-by issue and that the company was modifying that aspect of the app, which it did today.

Notifications now only will be sent to consumers while they’re in the vicinity of one of RetailMeNot’s geo-fenced shopping locations for an extended period of time, not just while driving by.

Shopkick added a similar feature not long ago, so that when sitting outside a Shopkick participating store for a while, a smartphone message is sent reminding the consumer to check-in when they go into the store.

Included in the RetailMeNot enhancements are personalized mobile alerts to notify consumers of offers from their favorite stores with a mall-specific page listing coupons from that person’s favorite stores.

Aside from the new feature, which now makes the app far more practical, and the impressive multi-floor headquarters expansion, Bath went through some of the latest company stats:

  • The coupon app has had nearly 14 million downloads globally
  • The company has grown to 450 employees, with offices in London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and France, in addition to its Austin headquarters
  • In the last year, RetailMeNot facilitated $3.5 billion in merchant sales, up from $2.4 billion in 2012
  • 2.6% of all e-commerce sales in the U.S. were driven by RetailMeNot from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday
  • It has more geo-fenced more than 6,000 locations in the U.S.

But it’s the little things, like modifying the drive-by coupon issue, which enhances the user experience.

Another example is the small feature Staples added to show shoppers their purchase history, so when in the store they can see which printer they need a cartridge for.

And Delta Airlines added a feature so travelers can not only change seats on the way to the airport but also purchase in-flight services like Wi-Fi in advance from the app.

Sometimes it’s these little things that can make a difference.

Like no more ka-ching on the highway.

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2 comments about "The Little Things that Make Shopping Apps Better".
  1. Lauri Chertok from Measuringupapp , March 13, 2014 at 4:17 p.m.
    The future looks great for any app that will help consumers shop smart. I will have to take advantage of the Staples function. Thanks for the info. Lauri Chertok www.measuringupapp.com
  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin , March 13, 2014 at 4:21 p.m.
    You're welcome, Lauri. Not a big thing, but small features like that can save you a lot of time or even a trip.