Sellers say they are faring particularly well on the marketplaces of Amazon and Wal-Mart so far this holiday season.
The iPhone app uses location-based technology to show nearby merchants that offer deals.
Payment card company Visa Inc. is getting in on the mobile app action, launching this week a free iPhone app that gives Visa cardholders access to promotions and deals from more than 50 merchants.
A consumer registers by entering her mobile number, e-mail address and card number into the app. Registered shoppers can access deals from retailers including Jos. A. Bank, No.193 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, New York & Company (No. 257) and Zale Corp. (No. 189). Offers are automatically delivered and stored in the app and can be redeemed either online or in stores. The app also uses location-based technology to provide consumers with a map and directions to nearby retailers where they can redeem merchant offers.
A Visa spokesman says Visa needs a consumer’s full card number to verify that her card is eligible to use the app and to determine what kind of offers she is eligible for. Visa says personal information is delivered to a secure Visa server through an encrypted connection. No personal information is stored on the consumer’s iPhone.
"Merchants are looking for new and more efficient ways to reach customers, while budget-conscious consumers expect a more rewarding and convenient shopping experience," says Bill Gajda, head of mobile at Visa Inc. "The Visa Mobile app meets the needs of both merchants and consumers.”
App users can customize the deals by choosing from several merchant categories such as clothing, dining, jewelry, travel, entertainment or retail goods. Visa says customization will help ensure consumers only get offers they want and also boost merchant traffic, loyalty and customer satisfaction. Consumers with Visa’s premium rewards card, the Visa Signature card, will receive special Visa Signature offers in addition to the standard offers.
The app was developed by U.K.-based mobile banking and payments platform Monitise plc. Visa established a contract with Monitise last year to custom develop mobile services for Visa across a variety of handsets.