Coupons have been a hot topic lately, reviled by J.C. Penney Co. Inc.’s chief executive officer, Ron Johnson, who’s been trying to break consumers’ addiction to coupons and promotions by promising day-in-day-out fair prices. One coupon cheerleader is Cotter Cunningham, founder and ceo of whalesharkmedia.com, which had revenues of $120 million last year and owns a variety of coupon Web sites. One of the largest, RetailMeNot.com, has 450 million visits a year and offers 500,000 coupons for 100,000 stores.
“We’re the largest coupon site in the U.S.,” Cunningham said. Half of the coupons on the site come directly from retailers. Others are posted by users.
RetailMeNot launched its mobile site last year and recently introduced its first native app for iOS. Cunningham said RetailMeNot has also figured out a way to connect coupons to shoppers’ credit cards so discounts automatically appear on their receipt. RetailMeNot partnered with First Data and CardSpring to develop the credit card feature, which is still in beta and has yet to be integrated into the mobile app. In the third or fourth quarter, RetailMeNot will launch an Android app.
Cunningham said RetailMeNot partners with retailers and shows them how to use coupons profitably. “Coupons are used to bring in new customers or clear merchandise,” he said. “It’s easy for us to drive traffic. Brick-and-mortar retailers are looking to replace the Sunday supplement [with online coupons],” he said. “The cycle to print Sunday supplements takes 20 weeks. Online, we can put an ad up in 30 minutes to one hour.”
There are things retailers can do to make shopping with coupons run more smoothly. Adding a numerical code would help at the cash wrap because many scanners used by retailers don’t pick up the bar code. “Retailers need updated technology [scanners] to read bar codes better and train staff better. Consumers find no shame in using coupons — they’re even accepted at Nordstrom,” Cunningham said.
Coupons from RetailMeNot are for in-store use only. “We see our app fighting showrooming,” Cunningham said. “There’s a big trend of people in stores looking at, say, Gap T-shirts to make sure online and off-line pricing are the same. The future is in GPS advertising. You’re in a Nordstrom and, ‘ding, ding, ding,’ you get a message, ‘here are five items on sale at Nordstrom.’”
Cunningham is bullish on Facebook, which he said “has a huge head start for personalization. The number-one reason people follow brands is because they’re looking for deals.”
The two-and-a-half-year-old company received $150 million in venture capital last year, which it used to grow its market share of the retail industry. “We’re thinking about an IPO in the next 24 months,” Cunningham said.
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)