There’s more to Shopitize’s cashback-coupon offering that launched today than at first meets the eye. At first glance it looks like a routine mobile couponing play, with all the attendant issues that creates for the retailer, in terms of point of sale infrastructure and how that impacts on the redemption process.
But when you look at it a little more closely, you realise it’s a little different. Firstly, the money-off coupon is not redeemed in store, which means that the retailer plays no part in the promotion, and therefore, the consumer can use the offer in just about any store in Great Britain, from your local corner shop to the out-of-town Tesco Extra.
The redemption takes place centrally at Shopitize HQ, where the consumer’s purchase of the promoted product is validated with reference to the consumer’s till receipt, which they have to photograph and send to Shopitize via the app as part of the redemption process.
This part of the system looks a little Heath-Robinson in nature. We put it to Shopitize that the average till receipt for a big weekly family shop would be as long as your arm – in fact, my wife confirms, our most recent one at our regular supermarket haunt came in at 54cm long. So to photograph the entire thing would need two or three snaps at least. Shopitize MD Irina Pafomova confirmed that this is the case, but pointed out that a ‘stitch’ facility in the app makes it easy to glue photos of individual parts of the receipt together.
The other element in this that is less intuitive than a normal money-off, on-pack promotion is the pack itself. Given that the offer is not redeemed at the till, there is presumably nothing much, if anything, on the packaging, to tell the consumer that this is the pack on which the discount they have been offered applies. In fact, Shopitize told us, consumers may have to scan the pack with the app to confirm that this is the correct pack size/flavour etc. to which the discount applies.
So far, so not quite so seamless. But when you look at the upsides, you begin to see the appeal of the platform. From the consumer’s point of view, there is the obvious one of the cashback rewards they can earn via the offers. From the brands’ perspective, there’s a whole lot more on offer, in the form of data.
With access to shoppers’ till receipts, Shopitize has detailed information about what shoppers who redeem the offers on its platform spend their money on. Even after five or six redemptions, Pafomova told us, a pretty good picture emerges of the brands the consumer buys.
This, clearly, is the sort of data that brands would love to get their hands on, whether to target an existing brand customer with a promotion relating to a new variant of the brand – a different flavour perhaps – or someone who spends in the brand’s category, but only, for the moment at least, on competing brands.
Shopitize assures us that its users’ privacy will be respected, but points out that users can opt in to receive targeted offers. As Pafomova points out, a brand that sees a consumer spending £100 a year on, say, a detergent product, may well see the value in keeping that customer loyal with offers amounting to £20 off over the course of the year, rather than risk losing them and then having to spend much more than that to reacquire them.
“We see this as an alternative for brands to what Tesco does with DunnHumby and its ClubCard scheme, the difference being that this is not a closedchannel; it can work for all brands, across all retailers,” she told us.
Whether Shopitize becomes as big a deal as it has the potential to become will depend on its ability to process the data coming off the back of the coupon redemptions and till receipts in order to deliver the sort of targeting it promises, and also, of course, on whether consumers take to the scheme in sufficient numbers to give it critical mass. If both these boxes are ticked, the company could be on to something.