- Mobile shopping and coupon app Ibotta has aligned with Jet, Groupon, Hotels.com, Boxed and others to launch a rewards program for shoppers who purchase products and services directly via smartphone and tablet.
- Under the new program, shoppers start their shopping journey in the Ibotta app, where they unlock special offers, and then go directly to partners' native shopping apps to make their purchases; immediately afterward, Ibotta verifies the shopper's rewards. To date Ibotta users have earned more than $110 million in cash rebates.
- According to the results of a recent Ibotta-commissioned survey, almost 62% of respondents said they would be more willing to make in-app purchases if offered rewards, while 75% said they would be more willing to try a new app if they earned cash back on a first purchase.
The timing of Ibotta's app-to-app mobile shopping rewards approach couldn't be better, as we recently found out that more than 45% of online shoppers in the first quarter of this year did their shopping from smartphones. The desktop, or rather laptop, is on its way out, and the smartphone's time has come.
Ibotta's program sounds like a great idea overall, provided the app-to-app part of the concept runs smoothly and doesn't prove so clunky that users decide they have run out of time or patience and will do their shopping later. In short, it's got a lot of moving parts, and also relies on the willingness of customers to be aware of Ibotta and remember to go to Ibotta's app before they head to the retailer partner's app.
Ibotta already has made a nice business out of mobile coupons, however, and the amount of pre-meditation the new offering requires is not much different from how shoppers might search for and organize coupons before they go shopping.
The survey numbers Ibotta packaged with this announcement are intriguing. Retailers know that mobile is a huge part of the future of shopping, though they still often struggle with getting customers to complete purchases while on the smartphone — as opposed to using the phone while they are shopping, but making the actual purchase while in-store. Ibotta's survey results suggest it has come across the easy answer to steer customer to complete purchases in-app. We'll see if it proves to be as easy as it sounds.