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San Francisco retailers capitalize on social media engagement with new app

Mobile app wRipple is giving these retailers the tools to capitalize on social media engagement so that rather than simply connecting with users, retailers can drive sales. As consumers are more willing to engage with content provided by friends and family, rather than the brands themselves, wRipple opens the opportunity for retailers to drive sales through social media in a more organic manner.

“Customers engage with wRipple by shopping and sharing discounts that they receive from retailers with their friends through social media,” said Michael Brescia, CEO of wRipple. “They can also receive other retailer discounts through friends, and their extended network of friends of friends, and so on.

“The more that customers and their friends engage in ripples together, the more retailer discounts they can access,” he said. “For retailers, this means that a discount to just one wRipple user can get their brand in front of potentially thousands of that customer’s friends and extended network.

“For retailers, wRipple’s low cost structure and hyper-targeted viral marketing are key. We only charge retailers a transaction fee, making the program substantially more effective and lower priced than other discount programs, loyalty cards, and social media marketing.”

The mobile app originally launched in beta in New York and received positive results and has now rolled out to San Francisco.

Benefits for all 
The wRipple user searches for deals from retailers through the app, when finding a deal she is interested, the consumer shares the deal through social media to friends and family. Through this the brand and retailer receive significant access to other consumers, as well as deal exposure for driving sales.

Offering these deals creates a positive image for consumers, as specials and discounts secure a favorable view of the brand in the eyes of customers, which makes them more likely to return shop. Shoppers sharing the deals through social media create a draw for other consumers to get involved because consumers are more willing to take recommendations from someone they know, whether through a post on social media or word of mouth.

Users of the wRipple app can access more deals through engagement with a shared deal on social media. For instance if a user shares another deal on Facebook, another wRipple user can shop this deal as well and receive access to more substantial deals.

As the conversation surrounding these deals grow, the more deals customers receive and the more exposure the brands and retailers receive.

Discount competition
WRipple is a beneficial platform for small retailers to expand their reach, but it has to compete with a substantial number of other retail discount mobile platforms such as Retailmenot, Groupon and Living Social. Although, retailers have the ability to access a significant social reach, consumers must work harder to receive these deals, as they must physically engage with the deal.

RetailMeNot recently extended its partnership with mobile technology company Gimbal to continue its rollout of beacon-powered deals after a series of successful pilots with national retail stores, proving that coupon providers on mobile must leverage location-based and targeted offers to evolve with consumers’ demands (see more).

Also, Sprint, Kevin Harrington and Tommy Hilfiger took advantage of celebrity-obsessed consumers with a mobile shopping application that encourages users to shop discounted items celebs are wearing (see more).

“WRipple is not a coupon site, daily deal, or flash sale company, like a Groupon or LivingSocial,” Mr. Brescia said. “Where these models fail, by placing hurdles to access offers and deals, wRipple removes those barriers with a new model.

“The wRipple iOS app allows consumers to share deals that they receive from a merchant with their friends on social media,” he said. “This sharing or viral ripple marketing effect further allows consumers to receive a discount on-demand without needing to collect coupons, wait for a sale, earn rewards points or collect loyalty cards.

“Our mission at wRipple is to simply make it significantly easier for people to receive a discount. WE are focused on offering a better way for consumers to save money, and for merchants to brand and market themselves.”

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily