Google Attempts Coupons and Loyalty… Again

While Google has made overtures on gaining a presence in the loyalty before, its latest announcement of ‘Zavers’ – a couponing initiative – may herald a long-awaited success.

The US search giant seems to have its eye firmly set on disrupting the retail sector with the recent announcement that Google is introducing Zavers, a digital couponing and redemption solution for retailers and manufacturers.

It’s not the first time that the company has entered the market with a loyalty system, either. Google Coupons, Google Offers, Google Offer Ads, Google Wallet and Punchd are all examples of initiatives that, in varying degrees, have not satisfied Google’s expectations in the loyalty market.

Zavers may yet provide a solution to Google’s couponing ambitions. The program is aimed at large brands and retailers to help them create and distribute incentives online, while also streamlining redemption and resulting analytics on the back end.

In a sense, Zavers is a bit like the Google Analytics of loyalty systems.

How Google describes the program:

Unlike traditional media, Zavers’ real-time data gives manufacturers new ways to measure coupon redemptions and analyze consumer preferences so they can manage distribution, tailor campaigns, and optimize budgets for maximum ROI. Zavers also offers access to an extensive network of manufacturer coupons, opening up new retail revenue streams.

With Zavers, shoppers find manufacturer discounts on their favorite retailer websites, and save the digital coupons to their accounts. Then they simply shop for those products and check out as usual. Redemption occurs in real time, with savings automatically deducted at checkout when shoppers provide their rewards cards or phone numbers—no scanning or sorting necessary. Manufacturers only pay when a product is moved off the shelf.

As yet, the system has only been released in the US, with a number of partners using the technology in a beta trial phase. Google didn’t make this decision out of sentimentality for its native land – the couponing culture in the US is extremely pervasive, particularly among grocery retailers. It’s no surprise then that most of Google’s beta partners on this project are supermarket brands.

Whether Zavers will end up replacing paper coupons (as Google hopes) or not depends entirely on the system’s reliability and interoperability with various other loyalty systems and digital payment methods. Whether it ever finds its way beyond US borders is another matter altogether.

Google's coupon program explained.

Zavers allows retailers and manufacturers to offer digital coupons for use in-store or online.

Would a digital coupon culture in Australia benefit local retailers? There are some local entrants in this field already, is it only a matter of time before Google takes over the local market? Have your say in the comments below.

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