app watch

American Express iPhone App Serves Up Local Offers

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 15, 2012 04:04 PM

In its latest social spending salvo, American Express has launched a mobile offer engine, a “spend graph”  for U.S. cardmembers that recommends and ranks local merchant offers real-time based on spending history and location.

“We developed our mobile offer engine with three key points of differentiation in mind: relevance, convenience and value,” stated Josh Silverman, president of the U.S. Consumer Services Group at American Express. 

Piloted via the "My Offers" feature on the American Express iPhone app, local offer recommendations will be concentrated in Los Angeles and New York City with an overlay of nationwide merchants such as Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin' Donuts.  

“My Offers” leverages the Smart Offer technology that powers the company's card sync programs with Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare connecting merchants and Cardmembers.

"In an increasingly crowded marketplace, where consumers are bombarded with daily deals, we saw an opportunity to help our Cardmembers save time as well as money by curating meaningful offers for them," added Silverman.

Users can download or update the iPhone app to see "Offers Available for You," along with a dashboard that shows offers added to their card, expiration dates, and savings delivered via a statement credit within three to five days. The brand has also enhanced its Go Social entry tool for SMB’s.Continue reading...

response mechanism

Deals Trump Brand Loyalty for Mobile Shoppers

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 15, 2012 04:12 PM

Everybody loves a deal, particularly in such tough economic times. Smartphone owners of the world have given themselves another channel toward savings as mobile deals are starting to pop up — and new research shows that consumers tend to follow those deals more when they come during a shopping expedition than they follow brand loyalty.

Not shockingly, the survey (from AisleBuyer) of more than 1,000 shoppers shows that the group that is most ready to throw brand loyalty to the side are between the ages of 25 and 34, the site notes. A whopping 82 percent of them would do it in a heartbeat if they get a good offer for a competing brand on their mobile device.Continue reading...

brand extensions

LivingSocial is Now in the Credit Card Business

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 2, 2012 03:04 PM

In a bid to pull ahead of Groupon and other daily deals sites, LivingSocial is expanding its brand.

According to a report by Reuters, LivingSocial will launch its first credit card in the next few months, with no annual fee, offered with Chase and Visa to all U.S. subscribers in an effort to draw repeat customers for its merchant partners.

"Small and medium-sized local businesses will never be able to have their own credit card or loyalty program. We will be able to bring them the benefits of that," the company's CFO, John Bax, told Reuters.

Merchants will be offered short-term funding similar to other co-branded credit card and loyalty programs including deferred interest payments and rewards for spending. With ten purchases monthly, cardholders earn ten ‘Deal Bucks’ credits extensible to all LivingSocial daily deals and special offers such as discounted travel packages.

The move is designed to increase its utility to its subscribers — and counter critics who accuse the daily deal industry of advertising big ticket discounts and not cultivating loyalty or enough repeat business.Continue reading...

web watch

Groupon Adds Velvet Rope, Goes on a Shopping Spree

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 20, 2012 05:30 PM

Groupon CEO Andrew Mason was bullish at the 2012 Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference last week, where he commented, "We've cracked the code…at this point, when we think of the competitive landscape, we think that the biggest competitors are ourselves." 

It’s a bit of bravado midst a range of troubles besieging Groupon lately including 17 lawsuits brought against the company claiming they and other retailers violate federal and state consumer protection laws regarding voucher expiration dates and provisions about single transaction usage.

“Groupon effectively creates a sense of urgency among consumers to quickly purchase ‘groupon’ gift certificates by offering ‘daily deals’ for a short amount of time,” according to the first case filed last year, reported Bloomberg. “Consumers therefore feel pressured and are rushed into buying the gift certificates and unwittingly become subject to the onerous sales conditions.”

March 12th is the projected date for settlement of the class-action lawsuits. After raising $700 million in its IPO last November, Mason is committed to staying ahead of the competition, specifically, LivingSocial. "Our goal is six months from now, when you go to Groupon, it’s going to look and feel very different," Mason was quoted by Bloomberg. "It’s going to be a much more robust and refined service that immediately jumps off the page."Continue reading...

web watch

Groupon Woos Merchants as LivingSocial Looks Smarter by the Day

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 5, 2012 01:09 PM

Having established itself as the leading brand in the daily-deal space, with its jaw-dropping IPO in November giving it the edge over LivingSocial, Groupon is committed to growing and innovating to return value to its shareholders. But it was dealt a blow Monday when a study was released that shows that businesses that have worked with Groupon aren’t planning to offer any new deals in the next six months, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

As Forbes comments, Groupon may be chasing a $25 billion mirage unless it can cement its relationships with the businesses who form the backbone of its offers. Overall, the industry is expected to double to $4.17 billion by 2015, according to researcher BIA/Kelsey. However, the biggest challenge is that companies aren’t seeing the repeat business they expected from consumers who came in for earlier deals. That news has sent Groupon’s shares below its initial public offering price of $20 on Nov. 3rd.

While it isn’t good that half don’t want to offer a deal in the next six months, the survey did provide some good news as well for daily-deal services, a category that saw Google Offers launch last year: 80 percent of the survey's respondents were satisfied with daily-deal companies, the Chronicle reports.Continue reading...

pharma chameleon

Pharma Landscape Shifts as GSK Unloads Non-Core Brands

Posted by Barry Silverstein on January 3, 2012 11:02 AM

With the end of a calendar year comes a flurry of corporate divestitures and acquisitions, designed to improve a company's bottom line going into the next year. Procter & Gamble, for instance, recently sold the PUR brand to Helen of Troy Limited, a "serial acquirer" of P&G brands who, in addition to PUR, owns Infusium23, Pert Plus and Sure.

So no surprise in 2011's 11th hour deal by GlaxoSmithKline to transfer 17 of its North American consumer OTC healthcare brands to a new owner, as was announced by Prestige Brands and GSK. Prestige Brands will acquire brands including Beano, Goody's, Ecotrin, Fiber Choice, Sominex, and Tagamet from GSK for a total of $660 million in cash, with all transactions expected to be completed in the first half of 2012.

For Prestige Brands, the acquisition is the largest in the company's history, following on the heels of their recent acquisitions of five brands from Blacksmith Brands and Dramamine from Johnson & Johnson. The company expects the acquired GSK brands to generate annual corporate revenues of about $600 million, "with an OTC business segment representing 85 percent of revenues and 90 percent of profits," according to Prestige Brands CEO Matthew M. Mannelly.Continue reading...

sip on this

Coca-Cola Expands in the Middle East

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 14, 2011 03:01 PM

Saudi Arabia-based beverage maker and distributor Aujan Industries will bring in more than $850 million this year, partially on sales of its Rani fruit drinks and Barbican non-alcoholic beer and partially on distribution of such products as Cadbury chocolate and Lipton iced tea, according to Bloomberg. That’s more than double what the company made in 2007 and the numbers should continue to rise next year.

Why? Well, half of the company’s equity is being bought by Coca-Cola Co., which should help raise its brand awareness across the globe, the site notes. (Not to mention the nearly $1 billion in investment Coke is planning to invest in the company.)

The $980 million transaction that is expected to close in the first half of next year gives Coca-Cola 50 percent of Aujan and 49 percent of the company’s bottling and distribution revenue, Bloomberg reports. One part of Aujan’s business that Coke isn’t touching is its Iranian manufacturing and distribution business.Continue reading...

that's entertainment

Apple Celebrates The Beatles Success on iTunes

Posted by Shirley Brady on December 11, 2011 10:32 PM

In honor of the Beatles' first anniversary exclusive digital availability on iTunes, with more than 10 million songs sold and 1.8 million albums, Apple celebrates the partnership (and end of animosity) just in time for last-minute holiday shopping.

The nod includes a new TV commercial, above, and a free gift — an e-book celebrating The Yellow Submarine with video and audio clips from the 1968 film, and interactive features that allow the reader to ‘tap’ creatures such as butterflies, starfish and sea monsters to make them come alive.

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