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Valpak: 20,000 Coupons Have Been Loaded Since Passbook Integration

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Valpak, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Cox Media Group Inc. that offers discount coupons for numerous retailers and restaurants, recently updated its Local Savings iPhone app to support Passbook in iOS 6. Today, they have announced that more than 20,000 coupons have been loaded to its iOS app since the Passbook integration, a feature that was rolled out last week.

Valpak has been working to build up its mobile presence over the past year to target consumers. Its official iOS app now allows consumers to scroll through the pages of offers and add specific coupons to Passbook, which can be redeemed through a QR code. The coupons are also location-triggered so that when consumers are nearby a merchant, the offer will pop up on their device.

“Our core strategy around digital is anywhere at any time and Passbook fits that perfectly,” said Michael Vivio, president of Cox Target Media, Largo, FL.

“Our job as a provider of advertising – regardless of platform – is to ensure that consumers see our advertisers’ message and by ensuring that we’re in alignment with what we see as the next big thing – that being mobile wallets – it only made sense for us to adopt this platform,” he said.

“Like many other companies, Valpak is focused on ensuring that we’re skating to where the puck is going to be,  and we strongly believe that this development by Apple will be followed in short order by other mobile OS providers.”

In addition to the number of coupons added, Valpak has also noted that the app’s ratings jump from three-and-a-half stars to five stars since incorporating Passbook.

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  • Mark

    20,000 coupons… Junk mail for your iPhone. That was my first thought when I saw ValPak was going to ad Passbook support. Excessive coupons for useless stuff. Whereas Shopcatch hits me with a handful of decent bargains.

  • Aslam Nathoo

    Too bad it doesn’t work in Canada. I downloaded this app and looked for coupons near Vancouver but found none. The closest coupons in Valpak were across the border in Blaine, WA. Anyone else in Canada actually seeing coupons come up for their area?

    @iphoneincanada: your article should make note that this app doesn’t currently work for some/all Canadians

  • Aslam Nathoo

    I can confirm that Shopcatch does work in Vancouver. It even came up with Bay Days (how much more Canadian can you get).

    Where Shopcatch is missing out that Valpak is gaining on is the location awareness of Passbook. The key UX part of Valpak that I think makes it so successful is that users can browse for coupons that interest them or that they feel they may realistically use, add them to their Passbook and then be automatically reminded/notified when they are close to the retailers location. That reminder is key and likely leads to a higher redemption rate. As any product marketer will tell you, they want as much redemption as possible. Well designed coupons make the company far more money in profits than they give back in the coupon value. Shopcatch and other shopping apps would be wise to adopt Passbook as well. That simple location-based reminder is a critical driver of user action and Passbook gives them that for free!

  • Mark

    Although I can appreciate the presumed convenience of location-based reminders, I don’t want a ton of notifications on my phone as I enter, or walk through, a mall or drive around a plaza. That would feel like spam to me. I go shopping for one or two specific things. Shopcatch knows what stores I am near, so before I buy anything, I open it and check. And if that store has a coupon (often scanable) it appears right there. In my mind, that sort of practicality outweighs the constant nagging of “alerts”.

  • Aslam Nathoo

    I can see your point. However you would only receive those notifications if you had specifically added those coupons to your Passbook and thereby opted-in to getting notified.

    I guess it is a preference thing on how different people like to shop in different ways. It would seem that you prefer to pull your coupons when you’re ready to use them which works for you whereas other folks prefer the push method. That is, they to browse lots of coupons in advance, add them to their virtual bundle and then are reminded of the coupon when they are within reach of using it. Both are valid methodologies and a good shopping app would support both.

    Indeed this situation is analogous to how some people don’t like notifications and prefer to turn them all off or not allow apps to tie into notification services whereas other people love notifications and don’t mind having lots of them pop up on the screen.
    I think that Shopcatch (or any other shopping app for that matter) adding Passbook support wouldn’t preclude you from continuing to use your current methodology. You would simply not add coupons to your Passbook and continue to open the app only when you are ready to look for a coupon. However adding Passbook open the app up to those people who do like the notification services. That’s the beauty of how Apple built Notification Services and how a good app developer integrates with it. If some people don’t like it, they can easily opt out and those who do like it get added functionality.
    I think you will see this debate come up more often as more and more apps and system services become location aware. Some people find it disturbing while others find it pleasant that the device contextualizes itself to your location. I myself fall into the latter but I can see the merits of the former as well. It all comes down to implementation, I feel.

  • Mark

    From the technology perspective, that’s all quite valid and I see the merits of location-based notifications, as I greatly appreciate Siri for that ability. My focus, however, was more on the specific value of ValPak to most people. When we used to get these bundles of coupons in the mail, they were all worthless to us, magazine subscription scams, oddball toiletry items, and many items that seemed to be targeted to less than 0.01% of the population (how often do you replace your windows?). It was junk mail on steroids. And now it’s on the iPhone.

    So with that in mind (and ValPak being the focus here) – Do we really have time to sort through all those coupons (I wasn’t aware that’s how it worked until you explained it) in order to buy stuff we hadn’t planned on buying. Yes, people sometimes do hold off on buying something until it goes on sale, but unless ValPak has changed their approach (which, with 20,000 coupons, it doesn’t sound like it), do we really need to waste our time regularly sorting through tons of mostly (entirely?) useless coupons, or is the more practical approach to just keep an eye out for legitimate sales on things that have real value to us? This is what other shopping apps, as previously mentioned, generally bring to the table.
    Technology has some incredible advantages. But that doesn’t mean those advantages are always used in incredible ways. When you spend too much time on something such as this, the advantage turns into a burden. Or, as I suspect in the case of ValPak… a pointless burden (unless you’re an extreme couponer, I guess).
    Perhaps I should apologize for dumping on ValPak… and I will, if my preconceptions about the quality and practicality of their coupons are pointed out as being incorrect.

  • Aslam Nathoo

    I totally agree that the value of the coupons will determine the usefulness of the app and whether the time spent sorting through the coupons adds more value to the user’s life than the time it eats up. Alas, I cannot speak specifically with regards to the value of the coupons that Valpak has as there are no coupons showing up for me in Vancouver. I did see some for Blaine, WA and they looked decent but there were only very few. I will have to check this out more the next time I’m in the US.

  • The number and quality of the offers seems to depend on your location. We have 89 offers in the Niagara region of Ontario, and very few are gimmicks. Even the old mailer they used to send was pretty good in this area.

  • Valpak has always combined national junk mail ( magazine subscriptions, infomercial junk, etc.) and local, small business coupons. These local offers were always pretty good in my region.

    The iPhone app doesn’t appear to have the junk mail and you only add the offers you’re interested in to Passbook. I don’t see a problem with this approach.

  • Nothing in Alberta. Just nothing.

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