June 13, 2012, 4:29 PM

RetailMeNot unveils a coupon app to combat ‘showrooming’

The app will help retailers keep consumers in stores, the company predicts.

Lead Photo

The coupon company's app home screen features a Hot Deals section.

Online coupon kingpin RetailMeNot debuted today an iPhone app with numerous money-saving features and functions, some designed to help retailers combat the “showrooming” phenomenon.

Features of the new iPhone app include curated Hot Deals from popular stores that are updated daily, search for discovering coupons from thousands of merchants, drag-and-drop functionality enabling consumers to quickly paste coupon codes into a folder, more than 1,600 in-store mobile exclusives where consumers need to simply show cashiers the coupons on their iPhone, and predictive store search enabling consumers to find coupons for their favorite retailers in only a few taps.

“Our new iPhone app is one of the best ways merchants can keep highly motivated customers ready to make a purchase within their retail stores as opposed to going online or somewhere else to close a sale,” says John Faith, senior vice president, mobile, at WhaleShark Media Inc., which operates RetailMeNot.com. “Smart mobile coupon strategies give bricks-and-mortar retailers a fighting chance to combat showrooming by giving consumers a reason to stay in-store and buy.”

Showrooming is a mobile commerce practice where a consumer uses her smartphone to check product prices online while in a store and then buys a product from a competing retailer via mobile or online. 15% of U.S. adults who own a smartphone say they have made a purchase using their mobile device when in a store because they found a better price online, a new survey from RetailMeNot and Ipsos Research finds.

RetailMeNot.com features coupons from 80% of the Internet Retailer Top 500 merchants and 44 of the top 50, the company says. 17% of traffic to its web site stems from mobile devices, the company reports. RetailMeNot.com says the new iPhone app is important for two reasons.

“First, it provides consumers with an enhanced savings experience when accessing RetailMeNot through our mobile channel, which continues to grow by 200% every month year over year,” says Cotter Cunningham, CEO and founder of WhaleShark Media. “Second, with millions of busy, on-the-go consumers increasingly using their mobile devices to make an online or in-store purchase, now is the time to double down on our investment in developing better mobile technology. This first iPhone app is only our initial offering, and we plan on significant improvements and new features to come to support consumers interested in saving money while using mobile devices to shop online or within retail stores.”

The survey of 1,005 U.S. adults from RetailMeNot and Ipsos Research finds:

  • 56% have a smartphone and 62% of smartphone owners download mobile apps.
  • 34% use or have used a smartphone or tablet to shop or research a product or service they’ve considered buying, including 54% of adults under 35.
  • 34% report they would be more inclined to make a purchase in a store if they could find a good coupon for an item or service on their mobile device.

WhaleShark Media receives more than 400 million consumer visits to its sites every year, the company reports. Sites include RetailMeNot.com in the U.S., VoucherCodes.co.uk in the U.K., Deals.com in Germany, and Bons-de-Reduction.com Poulpeo.com in France.

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