John Faith, senior vice president of external affairs for WhaleShark Media, the parent company of RetailMeNot, readied himself to tackle one of the most important questions brands are mulling over today, namely how to use technology to influence in-store sales.

But the exec wasn’t worried about that, as he opened his presentation with a joke about his uneasiness speaking in front of a fashion-savvy audience.

This story first appeared in the February 14, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“My wife picked out my outfit,” he said, admitting that to prepare for the presentation, he started using hair product and taking up CrossFit.

Faith then launched into a presentation about his company’s position in the promotion-centric retail environment.


“The value-conscious consumer isn’t going away,” said Faith, who explained that his budget has diminished significantly since he is a new parent. Now, he and his wife are constantly “bargain hunting.”

But that hunt for value isn’t specific to his family; it has become the “new normal” for recession-weary U.S. consumers, Faith said, and companies had better get in the game if they want to prosper.

At his company, online coupon aggregator, RetailMeNot, Faith uses digital intelligence taken from the shopping habits of the site’s users to figure out how to increase conversion rates.

“Consumers are willing to share data for value,” he said, referencing data such as location.

The ability to know where shoppers are located via mobile phone allows brands to intelligently offer deals. Sending push notifications via mobile applications has also proved successful.

Faith said he’s seen a 150 percent increase in vouchers redeemed based on using push notifications.

“Mobile is outpacing every other media,” he noted, explaining that the dominance of mobile technology has given rise to more deal hunting.

In order to capitalize on that, Faith shared a few insights, including the importance of bringing customers using digital coupons in-store. By offering coupons online to be redeemed at retail locations, consumers are more likely to buy more, he offered.

“Agile commerce,” as Faith called it, is what every brand needs to keep in mind when it develops its retail strategy.

And just in case brands were wondering, “the online and in-store offerings do not cannibalize each other,” he said.

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