PSFK talks to Michael Tavani, co-founder of the unique e-coupon enterprise.
Out of hundreds of daily-deal e-coupon enterprises like Groupon and LivingSocial, Scoutmob takes the trophy home for it’s mobile initiatives. Launched in January 2010, Scoutmob offers iPhone-focused daily deals with an emphasis on restaurants and personal services. It bridges the gap between two of the hottest trends right now, real-time location based mobile apps and daily-deal-e-coupons. In Atlanta, Scoutmob now has about 100,000 customers and just launched their New York marketplace last week. At the moment, they are on track to launch a market a month.
Scoutmob’s mobile app provides insights on local culture and activities.
“It’s similar to Foursquare,” says Scoutmob Co-Founder Michael Tavani, “But the difference is Foursquare users check in at places they already go to, while we are driving users to places they haven’t been to.” When you sign up for the mobile app it asks you to enter your e-mail address. You then receive an e-mail that says, “You’ve made a wise move, young grasshopper.”
Currently in New York there are three deals all of which expire in October. One deal, Mama’s Food Shop in the East Village offers customers 50% off with a $10 max discount. The app lists extensive notes on the ambiance and menu items. To use the deal, you have to be in the deal location. If you cheat it says:
How curious. GPS can’t seem to find you at this business. Try again once you’re here.
Smart. It even allows you to share the deal on Twitter, Facebook or E-mail. Other app features include “Return-Perks” for extra incentives to make return visits. And my favorite… the “Camera” option– which places a mustache over your iPhone camera image.
All deals are free for consumers, which is a powerful difference in the e-deals scene. Scoutmob doesn’t accept payment on their site; they receive payment on the backend when the customer checks in at the deal location. Scoutmob makes less revenue than their competitors who manage their pay model with upfront buying, but they didn’t want to be a Groupon copycat. They wanted to turn the initiative upside down.
Especially because deals are free, Scoutmob has gone viral. The company doesn’t need to advertise; it relies purely on word of mouth marketing. In just 24 hours, 4,000 people claimed a deal in Atlanta today at a casual Mexican restaurant called Pozole in Atlanta’s Virginia Highlands district. “No one is driving these numbers outside of Groupon,” he says.