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How to get discounts from your mobile app

Last updated on: October 14, 2011 13:10 IST

How to get discounts from your mobile app

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Meghana Biwalkar in Mumbai

If you are a smart phone user, chances are that you are always in search of some interesting app. Right? Well, there is no surprise how the world of apps has changed the way we use our mobile phones.

What more, it has also opened up a whole new career option for those who understand the basics of a smart phone. They are knows as App developers.

Like Steve Jobs once said, a customer doesn't know what he wants; you have to create the need for them. This is what today's app developers are treading on – going a step ahead and addressing the problem even before you think there is one.

So, here's another app – RedAnar – that not just allows you to explore the city, but also promises to find offers and promotions near you. How's that?

The 29-year old developer - Sharmil Shah - says all you have to do is store your privilege/loyalty card details electronically. Is it that really that simple? We find out...

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Photographs: Robert Galbraith/Reuters
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Tell us about RedAnar.

RedAnar is a location-based mobile application that helps you discover existing offers on any of your privilege cards. The technology simply uses your location and your list of privilege cards to show you stores/restaurants/showrooms where you can avail of offers and additionally get rewarded for shopping/dining, and so on.

The service is available on WAP, Android and IOS devices.

How did you come up with this concept? What was your inspiration?

Oddly enough, it wasn't inspiration. It was a realisation. The truth is that even though technology has progressed, most privilege card programmes still rely on antiquated methods of marketing via paper inserts and SMS.

Thus began my hunt for a better method -- non-intrusive, to be precise -- which would help card owners garner information whenever they're on the go.

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Image: Sharmil Shah, developer of RedAnar

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How different is it from other reward programs and location based mobile app like Foursquare?

Out of the several location-based mobile apps currently available, only a handful of them have content and services for India. Also, most of them tend to provide very different and distinct solutions. from each other. This is where we differ.

For example, while both RedAnar and Foursquare are location-based mobile services.

Foursquare is primarily a social-networking service to help people share their location with their friends. RedAnar on the other hand is an app that helps people find places where they can save money based on their privilege cards.

How beneficial is the programme to customers and companies?

People are moving to lighter wallets and smarter phones. Our service therefore is perfect for card programmes as they can keep users updated about their promotions and CRM initiatives in a relevant, searchable and orderly manner.

The service also helps merchants increase footfalls and sales by promoting their offers when customers are closest to them. For customers, they have the power to select the information they would like to use.

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How to get discounts from your mobile app

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How is the market for such apps in India?

Based on research reports there are currently 8-9 million smartphone users in India. While this number is extremely low in comparison to India's total mobile subscriber base, the telecom industry expects a fivefold increase in the next three to five years.

With 3G services being more pervasive and smartphone and data usage prices falling, I believe the market for smartphone apps providing value-added services will increase enormously.

What are the various challenges faced by you and your team? How did you address the issue?

One challenge that we have faced right at the onset was getting merchants, banks and other card programmes to partner with us in marketing our service to consumers.

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Photographs: Truth Leem/Reuters
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Since competing card programmes are listed on our service, managers are often concerned that it may impact their business results and brand negatively.

This seems to be a psychological hurdle to cross as most of their current promotional methods also end up placing them in the exact same competitive context.

Who is your major competition?

Although our current products and services are evolving, we currently consider both traditional marketing platforms such as print advertisements and SMSs, and new age platforms such as Google Wallet and Facebook as competitors.

So, is this really worth your try? We will let you be the judge. Happy spending.



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