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Tabbedout enhances mobile payments with offers to drive traffic, loyalty

Mobile payments serviceTabbedout is giving merchants the ability to deliver special offers to app users to drive traffic and build loyalty.

Tabbedout, which enables customers to open, view and pay their bar or restaurant tab with their mobile phone, is testing the new offers solution in Austin. The offers will appear in the app when users open it, given the 50 merchants in Austin where Tabbedout is available a way to entice customers to their location or reward regular customers.

“This is a very natural evolution from the mobile payments standpoint,” said Arturo Coto, vice president of marketing at Tabbedout, Austin, TX. “Over the past year, we’ve been expanding across the nation and looking at what retailers need.

“Part of what we learned is that they also find a way to reward people for coming to their location,” he said. “Offers is a great way to reach out to consumers entice and reward them.

Contextual offers
When Tabbedout users open a tab, they will see the Tabbedout Offers available to redeem that day. Users can redeem the offers and apply the discounts directly to their tab in real-time from their phone.

If a user forgets to redeem before paying the tab, the app will send a notice to apply the discounts before final payment is made.

Unlike some deals offerings where consumers have to prepurchase a deal, Tabbedout delivers real-time deals at the time when users are looking for a location to go to or are already there.

“Things have to be within context when serving customers an offer,” Mr. Coto said.

With many Tabbedout users opening the app to help them make a decision about where to go, merchants can also use offers to entice customers to their location. Gold badges will appear on the Tabbedout main screen showing which locations have offers available.

Tabbedout is funding the first offer for $5 off a tab when users run up a $7 tab at any of the Austin locations where Tabbedout is used.

In the first day that it was Tabbedout offers was available, the application’s average volume of tabs increased by three times.

Tabbedout is available for both iPhone and Android smartphones. Users can store credit or debit card information directly on their phone that is encrypted and under password protection, enabling them to pay from their phone without having to hand their payment information to a server.

Tabbedout is also integrated with social media sites, allowing users to check-in to venues via their Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare accounts without leaving the app.

Tabbedout is currently available in nearly 400 locations nationwide.

Merchants can use offers to drive traffic to their businesses at traditionally slow times or as a thank you to build loyalty with existing customers. Offers can be targeted based on how much users spend, when they like to go and other behaviors.

“Tabbedout Offers provides a powerful marketing capability to bring new people to a merchant that spend a good amount of money,” Mr. Coto said.

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