5 Proximity-Based Deal-Finding Apps for Retail Brands

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Holiday shopping

Flashy window displays are no longer enough to capture the attention of consumers shopping in the real world. With distractions around every corner, savvy retailers and brands are using location-based apps to put limited-time offers in the hands of consumers who just happen to be nearby.

For consumers, these apps provide access to exclusive deals that are kept accessible inside their phones. Meanwhile, retailers and brands are able to reach consumers at the precise moments when they’re most likely to convert—typically, while they’re shopping nearby or walking near their stores—using automated triggers that require little in form of ongoing maintenance. In some cases, businesses can even glean insights into their customers’ offline actions, like where they go and what other brands they purchase.

Here are five examples of proximity-based deal-finding apps available to consumers right now.

1. Notify Nearby: Sending relevant offers from brands that users follow
Notify Nearby launched earlier this year with the goal of providing a way for fashion brands to share deals and content with digitally-savvy consumers. The company’s mobile app provides shoppers with information about brands based on their real-time locations and noted preferences. Notify Nearby differentiates itself from competitors by only sending consumers deals and content from companies they’ve chosen to “follow,” which means users won’t receive unsolicited coupons from retailers they don’t like. Notify Nearby is powered by beacon technology. The company works with fashion retail brands like Tory Burch and Saks Fifth Avenue.

2. ShopAdvisor: Providing personalized content from retailers to shoppers
ShopAdvisor specializes in creating multi-channel mobile shopping platforms for retail brands and media companies, with a mobile app that consumers can download to receive relevant offers on their smartphones. Using beacons and data analytics, filtered by shopper preferences, ShopAdvisor sends personalized alerts to consumers based on their physical locations. For example, a consumer’s phone might ping with a limited-time coupon when she’s in front of a participating retailer, encouraging her to go inside and make a purchase. In addition to discounts, ShopAdvisor also sends product reviews and highlights store sales.

3. Shopular: Pushing relevant deals to users’ smartphones
Shopular pushes relevant deals to its users’ smartphones. Consumers who’ve downloaded the mobile app are prompted to select their favorite retailers and choose which types of deals they’d like to receive. Shopular then sends geo-fenced alerts when deals that fit the selected criteria are available nearby. Shopular uses a “set it and forget it” model, which means consumers can find coupons to use without having to search by store or location. The app gets smarter over time by tracking which coupons a user clicks on and which he or she passes up. Shopular uses Facebook Connect to understand its users’ interests and aggregates its deals from 100+ brand-name retailers, including Old Navy, JCPenney, and Forever 21.

4. SnipSnap: Turning paper coupons into mobile offers
SnipSnap isn’t quite as hands-off as other apps in the category, but it still offers an impressive value proposition for shoppers. Consumers who’ve downloaded the app can take photos of printed coupons from retailers and restaurants, and SnipSnap will recognize the content and convert the coupons to mobile. The app then sends users push notifications when they’re arrived at a store they have deals saved for, or when they have a coupon that’s about to expire. Marketers can also upload their own coupons directly into the platform and target those offers based on keyword, category, or location-based criteria. SnipSnap doesn’t support manufacturer coupons.

5. RetailMeNot: Sourcing deals at nearby malls
After seeing a continued increase in the amount of website traffic coming from mobile devices, RetailMeNot launched a mobile app in 2012. In addition to finding and saving coupons from retailers and brands, shoppers who’ve downloaded the RetailMeNot mobile app can elect to receive push notifications when there are deals nearby their current locations. Users can also manually enter the location where they plan to shop—for example, a nearby mall—to pull up all relevant coupons before they leave home. RetailMeNot’s extensive list of merchants includes Target, Macy’s, and JCPenney. The app works at more than 500 malls.

Know of other proximity-based deal-finding apps? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.