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MC Sports drives in-store sales with incentivized mobile program

Sporting goods retail chain MC Sports is driving mobile users into its bricks-and-mortar stores by delivering special offers via a mobile app.

The retailer has partnered with mobile shopping app Ozmott  to provide the offers and give customers a way to earn points that can be used to unlock more offers. Every time customers make a purchase and share that offer with friends, they earn “Pips,” which can be used to gain access to offers on luxury items.

“Unbeknownst to some, most companies today struggle with the ability to build out their API/Web-services in-house, which would allow access for companies to connect to their enterprise systems and enable them to go mobile the proper way,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis, Atlanta. “Partnering with a third party that can bring them to the mobile game while they are navigating these waters makes perfect sense.

“Some do this with mobile coupon partners, WAP/scraping partners or social media partners,” she said. “This way their consumers are getting into the mobile space connecting with their brand while they are ramping up the mobile strategy in-house for a more thoughtful launch process.”

Ms. Troutman is not affiliated with MC Sports or Ozmott. She spoke based on her experience in mobile.

Ozmott declined to respond to a request for comment.

Rewarding deal redemption
Delivering special offers and daily deals via mobile is quickly gaining steam. For example, Groupon is seeing significant growth from mobile users.

However, the space has attracted numerous entries in the past year, causing some consumers to feel overwhelmed by the number of offers and daily deals available to them.

By tying daily deals to a point system and encouraging users to share offers with friends, this gives consumers an incentive to try a deal.

From the merchant’s perspective, the app can also help them to get their offer in front of more consumers while driving loyalty by letting customers know they can gain access to exclusive offers by shopping in their stores.

Mobile experimentation
MC Sports, which operates 74 sporting goods stores in the Midwest, is one of a growing number of retailers partnering with third-party apps to enhance the customer experience via mobile.

For example, drugstore chain CVS/pharmacy recently began piloting a new mobile program that rewards in-store shoppers when they visit participating locations and use the shopkick app (see story).  

Additionally, Walgreens is giving in-store customers a way to use their smartphones to view a store map and locate the section where a specific product can be found using the aisle411 app (see story).  

The Ozmott application is available on both Apple and Android devices.

“The easier it is for consumers to sort through the noise to find the daily deal they really want the better,” Ms. Troutman said. “Consumers don’t want to be inundated, they want someone to tell them – you shopped for this earlier, perhaps you would also like this, and like Pandora know that if the answer is ‘no, I will never want that’ then not have that offered to them again – a better, smarter way for daily deals.

“Retailers are experimenting with a lot of different mobile strategies to see what works and this will still continue until the bottom shakes out a little more – mobile is still new, the iPhone was released in 2007 and it’s only 2012,” she said. “The mobile space needs to be understood for what it is right now: still really young to the consumers.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York