Groupon may have blown its chance by passing up Google’s acquisition offer last week. A new deals site called Offermatic, which launched today after four months of beta testing, has the potential to make daily deals sites look stale.
Instead of one random discount per day, Offermatic offers users multiple discounts from major retailers. Those discounts are based on the user’s actual purchasing history on a credit card or debit card.
Spend a lot of money on new gadgets? Look for deals from Best Buy and Radio Shack. About time for your quarterly wardrobe update? Expect to see deals from The Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch.
To sign up, consumers have to register a debit or credit card with Offermatic. Cards from most major banks (BofA, Chase, Wells Fargo, and many more) are supported, but an online banking password might be required to get started–a possible barrier for customers who have only used their credit cards to shop. Discounts are applied directly back to the card, so there’s no coupon to track or rebate to send in. Saving money is “almost passive,” says Offermatic CEO Faisal Qureshi.
Offermatic earns commissions from merchants each time a customer buys one of the discounted products. Merchants don’t pay for leads or impressions–only for actual purchases.
The company has 75 of the top 100 U.S. retail merchants offering deals at launch, and Qureshi expects others to jump aboard once they see how Offermatic presents a much better marketing vehicle than daily deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial.
That’s because instead of throwing out a random deal to the entire Internet, retailers can offer targeted deals to customers who are already spending money in that category. It’s almost like the hyper-precise targeting of Google AdWords has come to the physical world. Qureshi claims that merchants are seeing average conversion rates of 14% or 15% during beta testing. By way of comparison, a great AdWords campaign might get a conversion rate of 10%.
What about piracy? Qureshi admits there’s a core of sceptics who will never participate. But Offermatic doesn’t actually store any sensitive data on its servers; it only stores the user’s log-in credentials. The actual data–credit card numbers and purchase history–is transferred securely to Yodlee, which has years of experience managing sensitive personal data for personal finance sites like Mint.com.
The biggest problem, says Qureshi, will be building the consumer user base and merchant participation in lockstep. If there aren’t enough shoppers, merchants will quickly lose interest and stop participating. If the shoppers come too early, they won’t see enough deals to recommend the site to their friends.
Offermatic has spent the last four months figuring out how to strike that balance–for example, by focusing on big national merchants so customers are almost guaranteed to get at least one offer when they sign up. Today, they’ll begin to see whether all that testing has paid off.
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