Commentary

Searching The Engine For Deals And Consumers

Sales

Lead generation can take many forms. The best send consumers from online into stores with discounts. Here's a search engine that not only allows consumers to find advertised and unadvertised specials from local and national brands, but gives brands the edge to find consumers, too. SaleLocator provides an opt-in service offering consumers an alert when discounts become available on specific items at participating retailers. The December beta launch rolled out in February.

Retailers searching for consumers can upload into the SaleLocator portal the data on sales and promotions through an API, or key in the information manually. Marketers can link specific sales to locations. A dashboard provides information on traffic, click-through rates, and more.

Coupons from many retail stores are aggregated into one database. A search by ZIP code reveals local bargains. Searching in my neighborhood for some deals, I found a $3 off coupon for Innova dog food at a local Petco, which matches price discounts at other pet stores that I would not have otherwise discovered. Consumers can save searches and come back to them at a later time, providing a summary of deals and reminder of stores.

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The alert tool generates contributes to the 40% increase in daily sales since the engine launched. SaleLocator Co-founder and CEO Michael Falkson said the average is 250,000 local in-store sales each day from nearly 1,000 retailers including 35 direct retailer partners. But how do consumers find the search engine to, in turn, find the deals? The site relies on search engine optimization (SEO), optimizing searches for phrases like "best local sales," although not enough SEO to raise the bar, in my opinion.

While the site isn't pulling in revenue yet, Falkson has plans for sponsored links and ads, and has not ruled out charging a price per click. But then he needs to consider all the other sites SaleLocator competes with such as ShopLocal.com.

SaleLocator -- which has more than 20 retail categories -- did a much better job at serving up specials and promotions that meet my needs, but to compete with other coupon sites, Falkson may want to tie in search data and social signals. The site, of course, would support an opt-in service, but the social signals would pull the most relevant discounts to the top of the page.

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