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Microsoft Bing Deals Takes Twist, Intros Punchcard Loyalty For Daily Coupons

Bing-Deals-

Microsoft launched Bing Deals Friday for PC and mobile devices, aggregating more than 200,000 deals across the United States. The search engine pulls in top deals from local and national stores, such as Best Buy, Nordstrom and Zappos, as well as Groupon, LivingSocial, and Tippr, among others -- giving consumers the ability to browse the best deals and visually search through results.

While Bing Deals joins others -- Google Offers to Groupon to Living Social -- in an already overcrowded market, the offering supports the engine's focus of aggregating information from a multitude of sites. Eighty-seven percent of consumers who participated in a recent Bing/Impulse survey revealed they would use daily deals more if they could access them from one convenient place.

The offering follows an agreement with The Dealmap in March that allowed Bing to aggregate deals on the search engine.

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Led by smartphone owners, the number of U.S. mobile coupon users will increase by 80% between 2011 and 2013, climbing from 19.8 million to 35.6 million, according to eMarketer.

Microsoft Advertising also launched the Punchcard loyalty program in 12 cities across the U.S. to integrate a loyalty program tied to the deal aimed at achieving a tighter relationship between the business and the consumer. Businesses will have the opportunity to reward customers for repeat business.

Apparently there is room for more. Even with all these players, the daily deals space continues to expand. Henry Wong, the former CEO of Adgregate Markets, also launched a daily deals site -- but with a twist. Rally Commerce focused on serving businesses with a white-box platform, rather than business to consumer.

Wong calls Rally Commerce a "do-it-yourself" deal commerce platform. The Software as a Service platform enables the online retail ecommerce market to create and deliver group buying campaigns through a white-box platform. About six retailers began testing the system at the beginning of the summer. The deals will post to the retailer's Web site and Facebook.

When I asked Wong how retailers would gain new customers without an email offering tied to the platform, he said most retailers with large "customer acquisition" budgets already have other tools that pull in new consumers such as search, display and affiliate programs and really need a tool that "activates dormant customers" back to the site.

The platform also gives retailers the ability to provide incentives to Facebook Fans in hopes they will spread the word through the social network with Likes and comments. Those Likes are picked up in search results as recommendations, which provides fodder to attract new customers.

Rally Commerce is not the only white-label platform. ReachLocal in December began to build out a similar platform for retailers based on its acquisition of DealOn. Prior to the acquisition, DealOn CEO Rich Razgaitis told MediaPost about the co-branded daily deals platform. More than nine months into the deal, it's not clear whether the service has proven to be successful.

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