April 10, 2013, 2:12 PM

A tap on a smartphone can produce local deal results

EBay’s RedLaser app now includes local deals and in-store mapping.

Lead Photo

The ability to offer local deals is one of the features of the latest version of eBay's RedLaser app.

Consumers using the RedLaser app from eBay Inc. will now find local offers from retailers such as Best Buy Co. Inc., Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. and Sears Holding Corp. in the app.

EBay updated the mobile commerce app this week with a new Local Deals tab, and other functions like the ability to clip coupons, view weekly circulars, receive push notification alerts when in a store that has RedLaser offers, and interact with in-store mapping of Walgreen Co. and some The Home Depot Inc. locations.

Consumers can use the RedLaser app in a variety of ways. The opening page of the app suggests products, including recommendations based on prior product searches after first use. They also can tap to see the day’s top deals and offers near their locations. Other options include scanning a product bar code and searching by keyword or image.

To take advantage of the Local Deals function, consumers can browse for nearby deals by tapping a button labeled “Browse deals around you.” Doing so opens a page with a small map of nearby participating retailers and a list, from nearest to farthest, to select from. Selecting a retailer on the list opens a new page with details about the store, including its available weekly ads, in-store coupons, online offers and an in-store map, if available. Once the in-store map is open, the consumer can search for a product; if the product is available, a pin will then appear on the map to display its location.

RedLaser also can display online product search results, and consumers can make purchases on a retailer’s e-commerce site within the RedLaser app. Consumers also can use PayPal Mobile Express Checkout to buy products within the app from select retailers, such as Target Corp., Toys ‘R’ Us, Sears and Best Buy. The prices of those items have a green background. Other prices have no colored background.

Of course, consumers can view eBay search results within RedLaser. To make an eBay purchase, the consumer taps the item in RedLaser, which opens the eBay app.

To use a coupon, the consumer displays the coupon within the RedLaser app and shows it to a cashier who either scans a bar code on the coupon image or enters a code found on the coupon. For online purchases, the consumer must enter the coupon code upon checkout.

Consumers also can activate the store alerts function in the app to receive push notifications of offers when they are inside stores. The function relies on geofencing to determine the location of the smartphone. That may abet some retailer anxiety of consumer use of smartphones inside of stores, especially for showrooming, in which a consumer visits a store to view a product but purchases it from an online retailer while in a store.

“RedLaser’s local shopping update is part of eBay’s move from e-commerce to all of commerce,” says Rob Veres, RedLaser general manager. “Shoppers can opt-in to receive notifications when they are in or near stores that have deals available. This allows retailers to engage and transact with their consumers when they are in-store.”

These latest RedLaser features are available only in the iOS version of the app, but eBay expects to update the Android and Windows Phone versions, a spokeswoman says. Versions of the app have been downloaded 26 million times and contain information on more than 38 million products, eBay says.

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