Who cares what happened when Harry met Sally!? The real action is here at the Deals 3D Conference, where “Mobile Meets Deals.”
In “Part I: Heavy Hitters,” host Mike Boland ran a triad of fast-past interviews with key players rooted in the local online space.
First up was Tristan Walker, Director, Business Development of Foursquare. Walker summarized the company’s guiding principal by saying “Foursquare is trying to make cities easier to use.” Foursquare now has some 500,000 participating merchants (nothing triste about that!)
To support its new deals business, Foursquare is focused on generating robust data on a customer’s business with a given merchant, in three data buckets:
Walker said Foursquare gets about 750,000 check-ins daily. The data set generated by these check-ins is now used to drive the “Explore” tab in Foursquare, in which a personalized list of options is generated by Foursquare for the user. This “Explore” tab now includes daily deals (via partnerships with leading deals providers, including AT&T, Gilt, LivingSocial and others). The deal offerings use the Foursquare platform and environment, under a revenue share arrangement with Foursquare.
Tristan also commented on Foursquare’s arrangement with American Express. This is the first time a deals provider has linked with Amex for a paper-free deal path (although more such deals have since been launched). In this arrangement, once the consumer signs in with Amex, information on that consumer is sent to participating merchants, so when that consumer redeems a deal at a participating merchant using his or her Amex card, the deal terms are already in the system.
Next, Eric Singley, Consumer Product Lead, Yelp, confirmed that Yelp has recently acquired its 20-millionth review (talk about user-generated content!). He said Yelp is now in 10 countries — with more international expansion to come soon.
In the U.S., more than one-third of all Yelp.com searches now come from mobile devices. Mobile is “one of the fastest areas of growth for us,” said Singley. Partly to leverage this strong mobile presence, Yelp launched “Deals on Mobile” a few weeks ago. The product is supported by a sales force, as well as a self-serve option for local businesses.
Singley emphasized Yelp’s singular focus on distributing only high-quality deals that are relevant to a particular consumer. Yelp also has a big focus on content, building on their enormous inventory of reviews.
Next up was Evan Tana, VP of Product Management, Shopkick.
Shopkick has pursued a different model for “check-ins.” With Shopkick, the user is checked in automatically when he/she enters a participating store. A reward is given simply for walking in the store, via “Kicks” currency. (Kicks are transferable within Shopkick’s network of partners, and given the state of debt negotiations in Washington, may soon be worth more than the U.S. dollar).
This automatic check-in starts the conversation between the consumer and merchant right away, upon the consumer’s entry to the premises. Shopkick’s overall value proposition: drive incremental foot traffic to retailers. (Tangentially, Tana pointed out that on-premises conversion rates are much higher than online conversation rates.)
Consumers can participate in Deals offered by Shopkick. The deals come from 2,500 retail and 160 mall locations in Shopkick’s Retail Partner Network. Deals are generated by partners, which include Best Buy, Target, Sports Authority, Macy’s, and Crate & Barrel.
For the youngest of the three companies in this segment of the deals conference, Shopkick has really kick-started its model, having quickly ramped up to some 2 million active users.