An App That Helps Retailers Steal Each Other’s Customers

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Holiday shopping, that happy
American pastime, seems to get a
little more cutthroat with each
passing year.
Those already insane 4 a.m. door-
buster deals have now given way to
retailers opening up on
Thanksgiving night. And the price-
gouging war between retailers has
become so extreme that even
Walmart, with its bargain basement
prices, is vowing to match Amazon’s
prices so it won’t lose customers to
its e-commerce adversary.
But this was just a prelude. Thanks
to Ben Smith, things are about to
get even nastier.
Smith is the CEO of Wanderful
Media, the company behind a
couponing app called Find&Save.
The app was originally designed to
serve you coupons for nearby stores
—and it still does. But on
Wednesday, Smith and company
announced that they’ve added a
new wrinkle. It’s called Cash Dash,
and basically, it lets retailers push
you promotions the minute you
walk into a competitor’s store—or
merely past it.
In other words, when you’re at
Walmart, Target could offer you $25
to visit one of its stores within the
next 24 hours. Yes, the goal is to
help retailers steal shoppers away
from the competition. “When you’re
walking into a Home Depot on
Saturday morning, your intent is
clear,” Smith says. “You’re in home
repair mode. That would be a very
valuable audience for Lowe’s.”
The smartphone has become the
smart shopper’s best friend in the
last few years. According to a
recent survey by Accenture, 68
percent of consumers say they are
likely to check out prices in-store
and then search for lower prices
online, a phenomenon now
commonly referred to as
“showrooming.” But retailers are
now catching onto the trend and
looking for ways to use the
proliferation of mobile technology to
their advantage.

In many cases, they’re using
geolocation technology to pitch
deals at shoppers who are near
their stores. But Cash Dash inverts
that model.

It too uses GPS to track your
location, but instead of offering
better deals at the store where you
are, it tries to send you somewhere
else. Once you accept the deal and
complete the purchase, you submit
a photo of your receipt using the
Find&Save app, and the cash
reward gets sent to your PayPal
account. Smith says the next
version of the app will connect to
users’ credit cards, and subtract the
dollar amount automatically.

The Dash for Cash Dash
Cash Dash has only been live for
three weeks, and already, some 50
retailers, from Walgreens to Macy’s,
are paying Find&Save to send these
notifications. About 100,000 alerts
have been sent out every day since
the feature launched, and Smith
says about 30 percent of shoppers
who receive an alert actually click
through and accept it.
What’s more, Cash Dash has
completely changed how users feel
about allowing the app to track
their location. Before it launched,
only 20 percent of users opted into
geolocation. Afterward, 80 percent
did.

In many ways, experts say, this is
an evolution of what Amazon has
been doing all along, enabling users
to do online price checks. Now,
brick and mortar retailers can play
that game as well. But this doesn’t
mean Amazon is no longer a threat.
It still offers shoppers all the
convenience that physical stores
can’t.

“There’s a travel cost for consumers
to go from one store to the other,”
says Raj Venkatesan, a professor of
business administration at
Georgetown’s Darden School of
business, “but if you’re on Amazon
it’s on your phone.”
The Power of Discounts
The Cash Dash promotions become
less appealing if, say, you’re
standing in Walmart, and the
nearest Target is 15 miles away.
That’s why Venkatesan says the
deals work best in densely
populated shopping areas. They will
also have to be substantial enough
to compel people to get in their cars
and drive to another store.

But that doesn’t mean the deals
can’t work. In that Accenture
survey, a whopping 96 percent of
respondents said discounts would
be important to their purchasing
decisions this season.
Meanwhile, Venkatesan points to
research that’s been done on
traditional coupon circulars, which
has found that the right deal will,
in fact, drive shoppers to different
stores. “If you think about that fact,
then, yes, this app could have the
potential to switch consumers to
another store,” he says.
Smith, however, admits his biggest
competitors are the retailers
themselves, many of which have
built apps that already push
promotions directly to shoppers.
And yet, he says, even those
promotions can’t reach competitors’
audiences. “For Walgreens to do
what we’re doing, they would have
to get everybody to install their
app, including people who aren’t
Walgreens customers,” he says.
“They can’t do that. I can do that.”
Disclaimer: Wanderful Media is
backed by Advance Publications,
WIRED’s parent company, which
has no editorial input.
Cash Dash, the new feature from
Find&Save. Wanderful Media

IN OTHER WORDS, WHEN YOU’RE AT
WALMART, TARGET COULD OFFER
YOU $25 TO VISIT ONE OF ITS
STORES WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

In many cases, they’re using
geolocation technology to pitch
deals at shoppers who are near
their stores. But Cash Dash inverts
that model.

It too uses GPS to track your
location, but instead of offering
better deals at the store where you
are, it tries to send you somewhere
else. Once you accept the deal and
complete the purchase, you submit
a photo of your receipt using the
Find&Save app, and the cash
reward gets sent to your PayPal
account. Smith says the next
version of the app will connect to
users’ credit cards, and subtract the
dollar amount automatically.

The Dash for Cash Dash
Cash Dash has only been live for
three weeks, and already, some 50
retailers, from Walgreens to Macy’s,
are paying Find&Save to send these
notifications. About 100,000 alerts
have been sent out every day since
the feature launched, and Smith
says about 30 percent of shoppers
who receive an alert actually click
through and accept it.
What’s more, Cash Dash has
completely changed how users feel
about allowing the app to track
their location. Before it launched,
only 20 percent of users opted into
geolocation. Afterward, 80 percent
did.

In many ways, experts say, this is
an evolution of what Amazon has
been doing all along, enabling users
to do online price checks. Now,
brick and mortar retailers can play
that game as well. But this doesn’t
mean Amazon is no longer a threat.

It still offers shoppers all the
convenience that physical stores
can’t.
“There’s a travel cost for consumers
to go from one store to the other,”
says Raj Venkatesan, a professor of
business administration at
Georgetown’s Darden School of
business, “but if you’re on Amazon
it’s on your phone.”

The Power of Discounts
The Cash Dash promotions become
less appealing if, say, you’re
standing in Walmart, and the
nearest Target is 15 miles away.
That’s why Venkatesan says the
deals work best in densely
populated shopping areas. They will
also have to be substantial enough
to compel people to get in their cars
and drive to another store.

But that doesn’t mean the deals
can’t work. In that Accenture
survey, a whopping 96 percent of
respondents said discounts would
be important to their purchasing
decisions this season.

Meanwhile, Venkatesan points to
research that’s been done on
traditional coupon circulars, which
has found that the right deal will,
in fact, drive shoppers to different
stores. “If you think about that fact,
then, yes, this app could have the
potential to switch consumers to
another store,” he says.
Smith, however, admits his biggest
competitors are the retailers
themselves, many of which have
built apps that already push
promotions directly to shoppers.
And yet, he says, even those
promotions can’t reach competitors’
audiences. “For Walgreens to do
what we’re doing, they would have
to get everybody to install their
app, including people who aren’t
Walgreens customers,” he says.

“They can’t do that. I can do that.”
Disclaimer: Wanderful Media is
backed by Advance Publications,
WIRED’s parent company, which
has no editorial input.

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