Google has tried its hand over the years at couponing and loyalty marketing. It has done so using a number of different approaches: Google Coupons, Google Offers, Google Offer Ads, Google Wallet and the now-defunct Punchd.
Some of these programs have been directed toward small businesses and some more broadly to brands and national marketers. Now comes Zavers, a digital couponing and redemption solution for retailers and manufacturers.
Zavers is aimed at large brands and national retailers and intended to help them create and distribute coupons and incentives online and streamline redemption (and related accounting and analytics) on the back end. Its ultimate aim is to replace paper.
Here’s Google’s pitch:
Unlike traditional media, Zavers’ real-time data gives manufacturers new ways to measure coupon redemptions and analyze consumer preferences so they can manage distribution, tailor campaigns, and optimize budgets for maximum ROI. Zavers also offers access to an extensive network of manufacturer coupons, opening up new retail revenue streams.
With Zavers, shoppers find manufacturer discounts on their favorite retailer websites, and save the digital coupons to their accounts. Then they simply shop for those products and check out as usual. Redemption occurs in real time, with savings automatically deducted at checkout when shoppers provide their rewards cards or phone numbers—no scanning or sorting necessary. Manufacturers only pay when a product is moved off the shelf.
The program was just announced but Google already has a number of partners in beta trials, mostly in the grocery segment.
Zavers works with Google Wallet but since few people are actually using Google Wallet consumers can also associate the digital coupons with their existing loyalty cards (or perhaps credit card) accounts.
NCH Marketing, which tracks grocery and CPG coupons, reported that nearly $500 billion in “coupon value” was distributed in 2011 in the US. Actual redemption value was much less, under 10 percent. Regardless there’s clearly an enormous amount of money circulating in this segment.
These coupons could ultimately be distributed in various ways, beyond simply the retailer sites (think AdWords, display ads, email) as well as both online and in mobile. The data and analytics generated and the ability to offer more narrowly tailored or segmented couponing to consumers would also be quite valuable.
Google recently acquired a company called Incentive Targeting, which is being folded into Zavers. Incentive targeting was focused on couponing and loyalty marketing in the CPG and grocery segments but its technology is broadly applicable to other areas and industries.