In the final of this four-part e-coupon series, Chris Garner from dgm, discusses what is in store for the exploding online coupon, deals and vouchers business.
In my final article on the coupon phenomenon, it’s time to look to the future and predict the trends that may evolve on Australian shores over the next one to three years. My predictions are based on some of the tools that are making huge waves in more mature markets.
Bypass Price Comparison
Let’s start with InvisibleHand, a popular add-on or plug-in for your browser. Put simply, the device provides discreet notification when the product you’re browsing can be bought for a lower price elsewhere and gives you a link directly to the product page at the competing retailer.
InvisibleHand has now seen well over one million downloads in the US, with an additional 75,000 downloads per week without any paid advertising and has received positive recommendations from Google Chrome, the New York Times, Gizmodo, Mashable and Life Hacker.
The big news about this device is that it eliminates the need to navigate around price comparison search engines; InvisibleHand will now push the competing prices directly through your browser window.
Juniper Research predicts that more than 13 billion mobile vouchers will have been redeemed by 2012 and the 300 million-strong US mobile market will see advertising top US$5 billion by 2015.
Vouchercloud is a UK based iPhone app that provides discount codes for mobile users – the first mobile app to offer such a service. Basically the app will find the best deals nearest to you by your GPS location and category of choice, within a kilometre or a set distance.
You download the voucher and simply show the voucher on screen to the staff member to get your discount. It’s that easy! No need for faffing about with paper vouchers. iPhone users are already on course to save around £500 a year.
Again with no advertising, this app has attained more than 1.5 million downloads and has been present in the top 25 free apps lists since day one. Vouchercloud has received a featured listing from Apple and is now averaging between 10,000 and 15,000 downloads a day.
Barcode Scanning Price Comparison
Have you ever gone into an electrical retail store in Australia and wanted to negotiate the ticket price without having a clue as to how much the goods are being offered elsewhere?
In both the USA and Europe, there is a free download application for both Android and the iPhone that offers product bar code scanning with price comparison results from competing online retailers.
With the app ‘pic2shop‘, you can find product pricing in-store without having to search. We have tried this with books and the technology is amazing – it is just a pity there is nothing like it in Australia.
Benoit Maison, pic2shop’s Belgium-based CEO, says barcode scanning is becoming the standard way people research products on the go and is too convenient and fun to go away. The trend gives retailers the chance to reach shoppers at the time of purchase, knowing precisely which product they hold in hand and where they are located.
The app lets both offline and online retailers provide product information, demonstration videos, special offers, coupons, and other information to help close the sale. Pic2shop has been downloaded over a million times with a wide following in the US, Canada, UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Brazil. Not surprisingly, is trying to work out how to break the Australian market.
Looking Into The Crystal Ball
While none of these applications is generating revenue in Australia at present, at dgm we already work with all three on their other current customer ventures. It is only a matter of time before they do penetrate here and begin to make sizable earnings.
Australia’s online consumers are among the most sophisticated and innovative globally in their behaviours and use of new technology, however our high street retailers with their fairly clumsy online offerings need to catch up. With the strong dollar, a lot of Australians are making the most of the better foreign e-tailers’ competitive pricing and larger variety of choice, and using shipping services likeVIAddress or Shopaholiques as evidence of their wisdom and confidence in online.