Startup Combines Mobile Shopping, Loyalty, Gifting in One App (Dec. 11, 2012)
Dec. 11, 2012
A new startup aims to combine shopping, loyalty and gifting to provide what it calls “the most relevant offers to consumers and the most targeted customers to merchants.” Philadelphia-based Clutch last week launched its free iOS app, which enables users to manage gift and loyalty cards, daily deals, coupons, social gifting and mobile payments. With the app, the company is hoping to capitalize on a rapidly growing mobile commerce market that is expected to reach $31 billion in the U.S. by 2016, according to Forrester Research, and an attendant shift toward mobile gift cards rather than physical.
Clutch says its app offers users simplicity, eliminating the need for physical cards and multiple apps for storing card- and offer-related data. “Mobile shopping today is fragmented,” said Andy O’Dell, Clutch co-founder and chief commercial officer. “Consumers must juggle a blizzard of shopping-related apps with narrow functionality, including separate apps for rewards programs, coupons, daily deals, [etc.]. Clutch brings all of these functions into one interface and enables consumers to actually purchase products from a wide array of merchants.” The app integrates with users’ Facebook profiles, enabling gift givers to access their friends’ wish lists and personalize e-gifts with messages, videos and photos.
For merchants, the app features offers that are targeted for maximum relevance to shoppers, using a proprietary “recommendation engine” that takes into account individual consumer data and location, along with the time of year. The Clutch app also requires users to register when giving an e-gift card, which provides merchants with valuable information on those customers who are buying gift cards as well as those receiving them.
Clutch plans to keep the app free for all users, with the company generating revenue by earning a 5 to 10 percent cut each time a user buys a partner merchant’s gift card or makes a purchase using a deal or coupon offered by the app. Clutch currently supports “hundreds of leading merchants” and aggregates more than 100,000 deals, offers and rebates daily, the company said.