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Nielsen-backed OurCart startup launches Snapstar app to incentivize brand loyalty for grocery shoppers
Company says it’s the 'first grocery brand loyalty app powered by receipt scanning tech.'
For shoppers, grocery receipts are ribbons of paper they sometimes check but often throw out.
For brands, grocery receipts are data goldmines that show what you buy, the kind of data they otherwise get from stores but without encouraging your product loyalty.
A startup named OurCart — backed by audience research firm Nielsen’s Israel-based Innovate incubator — is out with a new app that seeks to mine that data, while incentivizing shoppers for brand loyalty.
Called Snapstar and currently available only for Android, the app awards points (in the form of stars) to consumers for brands they “follow” in the app, and for the products they buy. It takes 7,500 points to get a $5 Amazon gift card, or stars can be turned into entries for product-awarding sweepstakes.
The company says that Snapstar is “the first grocery brand loyalty app powered by receipt scanning technology.”
In the app, a consumer first selects which listed brands to follow. She then photographs the shopping receipt, guided by the app to take multiple photos if it’s a long receipt. Once photographed, the receipt is automatically uploaded to the OurCart platform.
The OurCart platform visually recognizes the text in the printed receipt and interprets it as products, since different grocery stores have different text identifications for the same products. Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes in one store might be printed as Kell FF on its receipt, for instance, but another grocer might list it as K Frost. The user knows if the platform has successfully interpreted the receipt if she gets brand-related stars.
The app awards stars for purchases of products from the brands the user follows, as well for certain actions, like uploading a receipt. The brand gets individualized data on your buying habits and can add public demographic data like gender, location and age if the consumer logs into the app with Facebook credentials.
The customer’s purchasing profile can also be matched with online data through such matching keys as the Facebook name, but OurCart CMO and co-founder Guy Bauman told me the user’s identity is anonymized before it’s used by the brand for targeting. That targeting could eventually involve, say, a discount coupon for potato chips if the customer frequently buys that snack.
In addition to data, the consumer packaged goods brand gets something that many of them crave: a direct-to-consumer relationship.
OurCart also provides aggregated data about, say, how many people are buying Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes in Brooklyn, NY, in October, the range of prices, buying patterns when there are specific sales and so on.
OurCart — based in Tel Aviv, with a US office in Boston — currently has about 30,000 consumer users in the US in this open beta phase. On average, users upload receipts twice a week. No brands are actually signed up yet, but stars are being awarded and data is being collected as if they were.
Once they do sign up, brands will be able to manage their own awarding of stars via a dashboard, so they can offer specials like extra stars when you buy two of their products in one shopping trip. The app is also available as a white label, for product brands or grocery stores.
Founded in 2013, OurCart has previously released two apps that tested out the receipt-scanning tech, but they were focused on crowd-sourced price comparisons, not rewards for groceries you buy.
The Ibotta app, he noted, gives you cash back when you buy certain products, by offering a coupon for, say, Taster’s Choice coffee. InfoScout, he said, awards points when you upload receipts, but there’s nothing to encourage brand loyalty.