Online coupon destination Savings.com on Thursday plans to relaunch with a more community-centric look and feel, along with several new brand and merchant partnerships. Like popular social networks and ranking sites, members of Savings.com can now raise the standing of particular coupons with their votes, create profile pages, and communicate directly with other like-minded members.
"Savings.com is all about offering people a simple, effective and fun deal-finding experience," said Loren Bendele, CEO of Savings.com. "We are 100% focused on what's best for our users."
Exclusive partners include Target, Sears, Victoria's Secret, Gap, Apple, Verizon, Best Buy, Travelocity, and Priceline.com. Founded in 2004, the site now carries coupons and digital deals from roughly 800 brands and some 3,400 merchants.
Separately, Savings.com has named Jason Calacanis, founder and CEO of Mahalo search engine, to its Board of Directors.
"Online coupons are a thriving industry right now, and yet we're only at the very beginning in terms of widespread use and discovery of online coupons as an invaluable resource," Calacanis, former founder and CEO of blog network Weblogs, said regarding the broader industry. Coupon usage is indeed surging, according to a recent report by coupon-processing agent Inmar, which found that shoppers are increasingly getting them online or having discounts sent to their smart phones and rewards cards.
Online coupons still only account for 1% of all coupons offered nationwide, but redemptions jumped 140% last year, according to Inmar. Manufacturers are attracted to digital-coupon delivery in part because of its 13% redemption rate -- far above the 1% redemption rate for printed coupons.
Coupon use has a long way to go to regain its former glory. In 1992, 7.9 billion coupons were redeemed, Inmar estimates, compared to just 2.6 billion in 2008.
Inmar attributed the sharp decline to a robust economy, along with the emergence of supermarket loyalty programs.