Mobile applications like ShopSavvy have long been the bane of brick-and-mortar retailers who worry about showrooming, i.e., consumers shopping in-store but using their mobile devices to find — and buy from — cheaper competitors. Now, through a partnership with card issuer Capital One, ShopSavvy is going to make showrooming even more attractive to consumers (and make itself more of a nuisance to merchants annoyed at the thought of losing sales to rivals).
How ShopSavvy works
ShopSavvy is suite of mobile shopping tools based around a barcode scanning function that helps consumers find those competitive online deals with a quick Internet search. It also includes a mobile wallet feature that saves payment information and makes it simple for users to complete a purchase on their mobile device once they've found a better deal.
ShopSavvy prides itself on making the mobile commerce experience seamless and neutral. That means shoppers are offered price comparisons from retailers like Walmart and Best Buy and can complete an online purchase through the app itself without being forced to open a browser. The ShopSavvy app has proven popular since its launch in 2008, with more than 20 million downloads and 10 million users.
How Capital One Deals
With the new program, Capital One Deals, participants receive $20 off a purchase of $40 or more when they user their Capital One Rewards card through the ShopSavvy Wallet.
To qualify for the one-time discount, Capital One Rewards Card members first must sign up for the program and register their card numbers. After downloading the ShopSavvy app to their smartphones (assuming they don't already have it), they simply scan and shop.
To receive the discount, the consumer must make their purchase within a week of program registration, using their Capital One card through the ShopSavvy Wallet. The discount is automatically applied and appears as a credit on the customer's next billing statement.
"Capital One Deals introduces shoppers to brands at a most pivotal point: during the shopping experience," ShopSavvy CEO John Boyd wrote in the company's blog. "That makes this initiative unique in the credit card industry. Capital One is also first among financial services institutions to launch an application programming initiative to allow for more robust partnerships with products and platforms."
Not so unique
While the program may be unique for ShopSavvy, it's not the first attempt by a card issuer to link consumers to discounts through a mobile device. American Express has been using social networks for some time to offer cardholder discounts.
For instance, Amex cardmembers who link their cards to their Twitter accounts receive discounts from participating merchants for tweeting certain hashtags. And earlier this year, Amex cardmembers were offered select merchandise such as electronics at deep discounts when they made the purchase directly through their Twitter accounts.
Amex's social media programs also include a partnership with location-based network FourSquare. With that partnership, Amex has created what could be called a "reverse showrooming" program. Cardholders who link their FourSquare accounts to their Amex accounts receive discounts when they check in at a participating merchant's brick-and-mortar store.
ShopSavvy is headquartered in San Francisco and has raised more than $10 million since its launch in 2008. Investors include Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.
Read more about mobile/digital wallets.