February 22, 2012, 10:56 AM

Groupon boosts its local and mobile commerce efforts

The daily deal merchant buys two specialty technology firms.

Lead Photo

Both acquisitions will aid the company's local and mobile commerce offering, the company says.

The retail industry is abuzz over mobile commerce and driving consumers to local merchants, and daily deal provider Groupon Inc. is now stirring up even more buzz.

Groupon is bolstering its local and mobile presence by acquiring Hyperpublic Inc., a local data supplier, and Kima Labs, makers of the Barcode Hero scanning app and TapBuy mobile commerce service.

Hyperpublic’s service enables developers to embed in web and mobile software lists of businesses by location; for example, pizzerias with distances from consumers down to the tenth of a mile.

Groupon says the Hyperpublic deal is part of the company’s product strategy to harness local data. “We knew joining forces would accelerate our data efforts,” a Groupon spokesman says.

In November, Kima Labs launched TapBuy, which enables consumers to store their payment card and shipping preferences in an app using TapBuy. Kima Lab’s TapBuy Deals was the first app to do so. Target Brands Inc., Groupon, and Gap Inc.’s brands The Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, support TapBuy.

Kima’s Barcode Hero app allows consumers to scan products and share product information with others. Scanning apps rely on a smartphone’s built-in camera to scan a bar code and display information about a product. Consumers can follow other Barcode Hero users to view those users’ product scans and related purchases.

“Kima Labs has developed popular apps that make mobile transactions easier, more fun and more of a possibility for merchants,” the Groupon spokesman says. “We’re excited by the team’s ability to create technology that consumers love and we believe they’ll be strong assets in our pursuit to change the way people shop.”

Groupon would not comment on how precisely it will use TapBuy technology or Barcode Hero in its daily deal offerings.

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