In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
The company will enable retailers to offer deals consumers can purchase via texts.
Mobile commerce is hot. So are daily deals and “flash sales.” A new technology provider hopes the heat from combining the two will create an explosion.
ReplyBuy Inc. outlined its plans today in an exclusive to Internet Retailer. Beginning later this month, the company will offer services for retailers and consumers that create access to limited daily deals via text messages, which can be used to instantly make a purchase. ReplyBuy is founded by Josh Manley, who also founded Cartfly, which offers an e-commerce widget, and Sellit, which offers a Facebook shopping application. ReplyBuy has two investors and advisers who were members of the team that founded YouTube, Christina Brodbeck and Dwipal Desai.
ReplyBuy’s two primary services are Deals on Demand and Get Featured.
Deals on Demand, which will be unveiled later this month, enables retailers to run limited daily deals for an individual product via text message. The deal is good for 24 hours or until the product sells out. Retailer customers that have opted in to ReplyBuy and set up an account with default shipping and payment information need only send one text message in reply to the texted offer; the reply text contains a customer’s personal identification number, created during account set-up, and that instantly completes the purchase. A retailer’s customer list is not shared with other ReplyBuy clients.
“Deals on Demand allows a retailer to use ReplyBuy as its own deal platform,” Manley says. “A retailer can run a great special to stimulate an existing audience, and can do so daily, weekly, monthly, however often they wish. They can offer up a product with inventory they need to blow out in the next 30 days, for example.”
Get Featured is a facet of ReplyBuy’s own daily deal site, ReplyBuy.com, which will debut in early November. Retailers sign up to be featured on a given day with a special offer good for 24 hours. Consumers can sign up with ReplyBuy to receive daily deal text messages and can reply and complete a purchase in the same way they can with Deals on Demand. And they earn rewards points for setting up an account, personalizing what kinds of offers they want based on product categories, sharing ReplyBuy with friends, and making a purchase.
Text messages are branded with the ReplyBuy and retailer names and include links to a mobile landing page with more details (see image). There are no set-up fees. Retailers pay ReplyBuy a commission on every sale; the commission has yet to be set. ReplyBuy pays for every text message up to a number that has yet to be determined.
The company has 22 client businesses in beta testing and will release their names by the end of the month, when it will officially begin its rollout. The first three clients to launch when the services are unveiled will be consumer brand manufacturers—a small company in Phoenix, ReplyBuy’s headquarters; another that markets to the state of Arizona; and a third that is national. ReplyBuy will be targeting 800 businesses, ranging from retailers to restaurants to spas, through a partnership with an Arizona mobile marketing firm. It cannot reveal the name of the firm as part of an agreement.
“This can be a new way to get great deals during the holiday season, a new way to shop for Christmas,” Manley says. “The nice thing about this is a consumer doesn’t have to be glued to her computer screen, she doesn’t have to be checking her e-mail constantly. As soon as a deal comes up, we can send it out to the ReplyBuy community instantly.”