Retailers have teased and rolled out online deals for days, even weeks, but the real Black Friday is here.
The shipping program will add ShopSanity’s tracking of receipts and deals.
ShopRunner, the free-shipping program offered by 60 e-retailers, will extend its reach into online shopping services with the acquisition of ShopSanity, a company that helps consumers organize their retail receipts and keep up with retailers’ offers. ShopRunner declined to reveal what it will pay for ShopSanity.
ShopRunner charges consumers an annual fee of $79 to participate in a program that offers free two-day shipping on all orders from participating retailers—enabling merchants to compete against the similar Amazon Prime program from Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. In the past year, ShopRunner has been adding to its services, including a ReturnRunner program launched last fall that lets a consumer return a package by printing out a return label from ShopRunner.com, attaching it to the original package received from a participating ShopRunner retailer, and leaving it at her mailbox for pickup by the U.S. Postal Service.
By acquiring ShopSanity, ShopRunner will be able to offer online shoppers greater convenience. ShopSanity compiles Yahoo and Gmail e-mailed receipts that consumers receive from online retailers, providing consumers with a way to organize and review their purchases. It also compiles aggregated but anonymous data through such e-mail records of what those consumers are paying for products, enabling it to report on where consumers are getting the best deals. ShopSanity can also process receipts sent via other e-mail systems, such as Microsoft’s Hotmail, if consumers have them forwarded through Gmail.
ShopSanity also anonymously compares each consumer’s purchases with those of other consumers to generate for each participant a “ShopSanity Score” that rates a consumer’s purchases on characteristics such as uniqueness and value.
ShopRunner will offer ShopSanity’s services for no extra charge above ShopRunner’s annual fee, says Fiona Dias, chief strategy officer of ShopRunner. “We already aggregate members’ order information at no charge,” she says. “ShopSanity just gives us more information to share with members.”
Based in the Silicon Valley community of San Carlos, CA, ShopSanity will continue to operate as usual for now. ShopRunner plans to fold it into its product line and develop a new location in Silicon Valley, the company says.
ShopSanity’s founders, John Rodkin and Leo Chang, will join ShopRunner as ShopSanity’s chief product officer and chief technology officer, respectively. ShopRunner will also retain all of ShopSanity’s employees.
Rodkin and Chang will lead ShopSanity’s integration into ShopRunner’s product offerings and develop new consumer applications to improve the online and in-person shopping experience, including mobile, web and store applications, payment facilitators and personal shopping accounts, all supported by a personalized data platform, ShopRunner says. “I am impressed with John and Leo’s success in past entrepreneurial endeavors, as well as the entire ShopSanity team who rapidly and efficiently built a useful service for consumers and a personalized data platform for retailers,” says Mike Golden, president of ShopRunner.
ShopSanity doesn’t reveal how many consumers use its service. It offered this week a one-year free membership in ShopRunner for anyone who signed up for ShopSanity by accepting a friend’s recommendation or by getting other friends to sign up. The promo included a note saying the offer would end by midnight Feb. 1 or when 10,000 free ShopRunner memberships had been claimed; it has now expired.
ShopRunner says it has another 30 retailer clients signed up and ready to soon go live, would give it a total of 90. ShopRunner is owned by Kynetic LLC, a company launched this year by Michael Rubin, the founder of e-commerce technology provider GSI Commerce, which developed ShopRunner. EBay bought GSI last year, but Rubin retained a majority stake in ShopRunner.