Growing a Mobile Coupon Business: A Conversation With Shooger

Mobile local coupon player Shooger has come a long way since our last formal briefing, including an Android app to join iPhone, and a BlackBerry app on the way.

It’s also built its way up to 100,000 deals from 50,000 merchant locations across the U.S. Continuing to grow this base is a big priority says CMO Matt Myers, given the need for volume to contend with inventory challenges in local (many categories and locales spread inventory thin).

Shooger brings these deals together from reseller arrangements with local sales channels (i.e., Yellow Pages) and coupon providers (i.e., Valpak). It also provides a self-service dashboard for savvy merchants that wish to sign up for, and manage, their own campaigns.

The latter is a long way from being a scalable revenue source, but it has higher margins than reseller deals (rev share). This is the strategy that many entrants to the hot mobile local space are banking on, though sometimes misguided. Shooger’s multi-pronged sales approach is more realistic.

Shedding Stigmas

A hunger for deals will also drive revenues for the company (and others in the space). This applies to both users and advertisers, as the excitement and hipness of mobile are coming together to shed some of the stigma long shrouding coupon use and acceptance.

Mobile aside, excitement around group buying is driving merchant demand toward customer acquisition through deeply discounted offers (versus traditional advertising). Myers is in fact thinking about how to bring deal-a-day dynamics to the existing product (though no formal plan is in place).

This is a model whose “spotlighted” deals can help alleviate some of the inventory challenges mentioned above. But more so, this could jump on an area where there’s a great deal of user and advertiser interest. This comes down to both cyclical and secular market shifts.

“There are 100 million searches per month for coupons and deal-related terms,” says Myers. “The last few years solidified this but it’s not just the low end of the market … everyone is now looking for deals and value.”

Point of Entry

Meanwhile the company is innovating in other ways. A recent consumer facing Web site launched to accompany the mobile apps and provide a continuous experience between the two. Like the mobile app, this lets users sign in, save coupons, “follow” businesses and share offers with Facebook and Twitter friends.

The Web site is also hoped to seed a certain degree of mobile activity using SEO and an additional point of entry to the brand. This is particularly important in an increasingly competitive marketplace for local app mindshare and mobile home screen “real estate.”

Next up for Shooger will be to continue to work on enticements for merchants to participate in coupon marketing. This will include limiting friction and complexity in redemption, such as bar codes that merchants can offer with coupons and scan directly on users’ phones.

ScreenHunter_01 Aug. 10 10.23

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Sara

    I am very interested in mobile marketing and found this article very interesting. With so many people adopting smart phone technology it’s only a matter of time before mobile couponing takes off, and both retailers and consumers are going to lose out if they don’t adopt it sooner rather that later. Like Shooger, I’m using a mobile coupon application called Peekaboo Mobile which you should check out http://peekaboomobile.com/ It’s quick and easy to use and has changed the way I save money!

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