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Toys R Us integrates app, print coupons and loyalty for new omnichannel experience

Toys R Us is tapping visual search company Slyce to enable consumers to take a picture of a receipt, catalog or newspaper coupon and generate a mobile-optimized version to store in the retailer’s application, driving cross-screen marketing and retargeting opportunities.

Shoppers who prefer to eschew paper coupons for digital offers will likely gravitate toward this technology, especially as it allows them to collect coupons anywhere while on-the-go. After a user has saved a coupon within a retailer’s app, the brand is then able to leverage push notifications to remind him or her to redeem the promotion prior to expiration.

“Retailers benefit by offering a killer feature to their app, as well as the ability to drive users to their Web site or mobile site for coupons,” said Mark Elfenbein, CEO of Slyce, Calgary, Canada. “Business Insider found in a study that coupons are the number one most requested feature for retailer apps, yet many offer a poor user experience or no coupons at all.

“Another great benefit of Snap-to-Coupon for retailers is that, provided they issue loyalty-based offers, they can use these to essentially register the users to their app. Simply scanning the coupon effectively links the user to a mobile device, enabling cross-screen marketing and mobile retargeting for the retailer going forward.”

Bolstering loyalty platforms
This technology also lends a helping hand to brands’ loyalty programs, as retailers are able to link any users who scan a coupon’s bar code to their customer relationship management lists.

This tool is able to offer brands a direct gateway to consumers’ mobile devices, rather than relying on direct mail or email materials for marketing efforts.

This will also drive more registrations and downloads for retailers’ mobile apps. Some users may be deterred from taking the time to fill out their contact information on a smartphone, but the snap-and-go ability enables a frictionless process to occur.

Slyce developed Snap-to-Coupon after acquiring the SnipSnap app earlier this year. Busy consumers will likely be swayed to use the feature, especially if they lack the time to sort through coupon catalogs and organize their clippings.

Users can snap an image of any coupon in a newspaper, store receipt or catalog to automatically save the image, transform it into a mobile-optimized coupon and store it in the appropriate retailer’s app.

This also may result in a revenue uptick for some brands, as consumers who typically do not shop at a particular store could be prompted to make a purchase if they stumble upon an enticing offer.

“Following SnipSnap’s lead, Kohl’s and Victoria’s Secret have already launched coupon scanning into their apps,” Mr. Elfenbein said. “Many more are working with us to launch Snap-to-Coupon in the coming months.

“As for mobile couponing, that is the future of couponing in general. Mobile coupons have amazing properties, like being location and beacon-aware and allowing a retailer to completely close the loop on their marketing and figure out if an in-store conversion has taken place.”

Driving redemptions
Participating retailers can ensure that users do not forget to redeem their saved coupons by sending in-app push notifications. These may be triggered to send around the offers’ expiration dates, or when a customer is near a bricks-and-mortar store.

A Business Insider report recently claimed mobile coupons are redeemed at a rate 10 times higher than their paper counterparts, proving that more retailers must make the move toward digitalized offers if they have not already.

Toys R Us is one of the retailers that participated in the beta period of Slyce’s Coupon Author and tapped the platform to power all of its mobile and digital coupons.

Coupon Author delivers the mobile offer experience when Toys R Us’s coupons are distributed via Facebook, Twitter, email and its Web site. The toy brand has been ramping up its mobile focus as it attempts to market to younger consumers.

In May, Toys R Us leveraged 3D image recognition technology to provide a quick and easy product search option for consumers as it continued its efforts to streamline the shopping experience, especially for tech-savvy customers on mobile (see story).

Slyce has implemented the Snap-to-Coupon technology into retailers’ apps as part of its native SDK.

“Coupon Author supports the creation of loyalty coupons in mobile as well,” Mr. Elfenbein said. “We already power all of Toys R Us’s loyalty offers — aka Rewards R Us.

“We can make it possible to have these offers, which are sent via email and accessible on the Web, saved to a mobile device,” he said. “We track every interaction with loyalty offers and whether the customer has redeemed in-store.

“If they haven’t we can enable you to retarget them with the offer in other channels — like social (Facebook, Twitter) or native app.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York