BEAUTY CARE

Ibotta debuts new shopping app with opportunities for users to earn dollars at shelf

BY Michael Johnsen

DENVER — Ibotta on Friday officially launched its free mobile application for iPhone users that gives consumers a new way to earn as much as $40 in cash each time they shop. With Ibotta, consumers earn cash rewards for answering a trivia question, watching videos and/or providing feedback on their favorite products, then buying the products in major national retailers, such as Walmart, Target and Walgreens.  

“Instead of just transferring the tired old coupon format onto a mobile device, Ibotta has taken a fresh approach that gives people a fun new way to earn cash when they shop,” stated Bryan Leach, Ibotta CEO. “For our growing list of partners, Ibotta opens a new channel of communication with their customers: one that creates much deeper engagement and brand awareness than mobile coupons, loyalty cards or price reductions on the store shelf.” 

As Ibotta moves from the initial beta phase to an official launch this week, the updated version of the application will support new retailers — such as Safeway, Kroger, King Soopers, Ralph’s and Von’s — with more being unveiled in the coming weeks. As a part of the launch, Ibotta is also introducing a limited time “Share the Love” offer, a lucrative new consumer referral program that pays users cash for referring friends and gives new users $5 of starting credit with the app. Additionally, Ibotta has updated its speed to payout users and grant their rewards more quickly and accurately.

Since the Ibotta application was first made available in beta just five weeks ago, more than 10 million offers have already been viewed, and more than 500,000 brand engagements have been completed by Ibotta users. Ibotta gives users several options for how to spend their money, including transferring their cash to a PayPal account, donating their earnings to any school in America or supporting the United Way with the click of a button.  

Ibotta’s next-generation technology is proving popular among leading consumer packaged goods companies and retailers, which are using Ibotta to deliver highly targeted offers, gather consumer feedback and measure purchase trends in real-time through Ibotta’s dashboard tool. The Ibotta app currently features offers on products by Kraft, Nestle, Colgate, Pfizer and other leading brand companies.

“Ibotta represents the next generation of mobile technology that will allow Kraft to provide customers with product information and deals that are more personalized, and thus highly relevant to their daily lives,” noted Doug Weekes, VP beverages at Kraft Foods. 

Ibotta is available for download free on iTunes, and Android users can sign up to be notified of its release on Android platform set for late 2012. 

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L’Oréal announces expansion of Florence, Ky., plant

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — L’Oréal USA celebrated the expansion of its Florence, Ky., manufacturing plant with a groundbreaking ceremony featuring Gov. Steve Beshear.

The proposed plant expansion will include renovations to the existing plant, new construction and the purchase of new equipment. Located at 7080 New Buffington Rd., the plant currently employs more than 200 full-time workers who produce 165 million units of Garnier Fructis, L’Oréal Paris and Soft Sheen-Carson shampoo, conditioner and styling products each year. The company estimated that the 110,000-sq.-ft. plant expansion will create more than 200 new jobs over the next three years.

"L’Oréal’s business is growing globally, and the expansion will enable us to meet increased consumer demand for the popular hair care brands we are producing in Kentucky," stated Eric Wolff, plant manager. "The Florence plant is a center of manufacturing excellence for the L’Oréal Group, and the decision to expand U.S. production here will result in significant economic benefit for Kentuckians."

L’Oréal stressed its committment to sustainable and responsible growth and has implemented numerous initiatives to reduce its C02 emissions, consumption of water and waste generation. Last year, the Florence plant announced an innovative "Wall to Wall" component supply program, which located its shampoo component supplier, Alpla, in the same factory where the Garnier Fructis shampoos and conditioners are produced.  The initiative reduced environmental impacts, including freight, CO2 emissions, waste and costs. The plant has also implemented a vessel cleaning optimization program, called OptiCIP, which has reduced the amount of water used for vessel washing per unit of finished product by 43%. This program alone equates to an overall 18% reduction in total water consumption since 2005.

Since 2005, the Florence manufacturing plant has made significant improvements in its environmental performance and made the following reductions for 2011:

  • -2.4% reduction in GHGs — total tons of CO2, scope 1 & 2 (from 2005 to 2011);

  • -15.1% reduction of tons of transportable waste per finished product (from 2005 to 2011);

  • -32.1 % reduction in liters of water consumption per finished product (from 2005 to 2011); and

  • -15.5% reduction in kilowatt-hours of energy consumption per finished product (from 2005 to 2011)
.

 
Kentucky Business Investment has committed to a $5 million tax incentive through the Kentucky Economic Finance Development Authority and another $800,000 tax incentive through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Ace in support of the plant expansion.

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Housing recovery could drive more consumers to spend, Deloitte says

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Consumers showed more confidence in October as a recovery in the housing market indicated a greater willingness to spend — especially among people who shop through multiple channels — but some headwinds remain, and the issues in Congress could threaten the gains, according to a new report by Deloitte.

The monthly Deloitte Consumer Spending Index rose significantly last month, to 4.02, from September’s 3.54. The index measures tax burden, initial unemployment claims, wages and home prices.

"Rising consumer confidence should give retailers reason to celebrate during the holiday season, but the winds may shift in January, which should encourage retailers to make the most of this good news now," Deloitte vice chairman and retail and distribution sector leader Alison Paul said, referring to the so-called "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2013, unless Congress and the Obama administration can come to a budget agreement. "The consumers who appear most optimistic about their holiday spending are those who have been coined ‘omnichannel’ shoppers, or those who use all channels to shop, including mobile phones, online and the store."

Paul said those omnichannel consumers planned to spend 71% more on gifts than those who shop only in stores, while 45% planned to shop online. "These spending intentions give retailers reason to interact with consumers across physical and virtual storefronts to augment their messages and sales this holiday season," Paul said.

But some headwinds remain, according to the report. The tax burden increased slightly, but Deloitte noted that the rise is a sign of healthy growth in incomes. Meanwhile, rising prices for food and energy continued to weigh down on real wages, which fell slightly to $8.68. Jobless claims moved slightly higher, to 373,800, from 371,000 in September. But home prices increased, giving a lift to consumer confidence.

"The housing market appears to be recovering after bottoming out, while energy prices have begun to recede and lift some of the pressure on wages, boosting confidence and consumers’ willingness to spend," Deloitte chief economist and author of the index Carl Steidtmann said. "This may only be sustainable over the long term if legislative issues are resolved, including the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling, as consumers will start to see their first tax increases at the beginning of the year."

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