Reinventing the Coupon

In our Denver office, we recently had the pleasure of hosting Bryan Leach, Founder and CEO of Ibotta. Leach’s entrepreneurial passion for his company was palpable and infectious. He spoke about the important and undeniable dynamic shifts occurring in the digital world and shed an important spotlight on the state of couponing as we’ve known it for the past umpteen years; think, 50-year-old housewife clipping coupons out of a crusty newspaper. He also talked about the conception and development of a radically new idea for mobile shopping: pay the shopper real cash.

If you haven’t heard of Ibotta, it’s a wildly popular app that allows shoppers to easily earn cash rebates through their mobile devices by completing simple tasks. This means discounts are more readily available and contextually relevant, for digital users.

It’s no surprise that this is an extremely competitive marketplace, and most apps don’t succeed. In fact, according to Think with Google, as many as 25% of app users open an app once and never return. But, by gaining loyalty and delivering value, Ibotta’s app is now the 16th most used app on iTunes with a user base of more than 15 million. On top of that, 90% of its users are under the age of 45, meaning Ibotta has opened the doors of “couponing” to a whole new audience. The benefits of Ibotta reach beyond just the shopper; retailers and brands are also basking in the goodness by collecting key data about their customers.

The key lesson? Never underestimate the value of an idea that challenges the norms, because, in this scenario, it’s paying off handsomely for the fledgling company.