How Axel Springer made mobile coupons work
Axel Springer launched a mobile app for circulars in 2013. Today, the app, Retale, features more than 180 retailers, has logged 1.3bn engagements and surpassed 5m downloads. For Retale, an engagement means that a mobile user opened and read a circular, which might include a deal on a cell phone contract, promotions for box springs, and the latest price cuts on electronics from retailers like Verizon, Sleepy’s and Best Buy.
“A lot of people think circulars are dinosaurs,” said Pat Dermody, president of Retale and the former vp of marketing services at Sears Holdings Corp. “But we fit squarely in the mobile shopping space — something that Axel Springer has been bullish about. They’re set on building that mobile marketplace.”
Axel Springer, which just closed its US$450m deal to acquire Business Insider, is an unusual publisher. While it has newspaper properties, it has succeeded in digital in large part through diversification. It has a strong digital classifieds business, for instance.
Circulars haven’t totally lost touch with the physical world. Retale’s mobile marketplace is meant to drive coupon-clippers into brick-and-mortar stores. The app uses location-based technology to show deals nearby, and allows users to apply filters by category, all to make the experience more manageable than print circulars. Users can save their favourite stores, electronically “clip” the week’s coupons and scan them in-app at checkout.
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