Chronicle-Telegram: “BIZ App for Coupons”

By Melissa Linebrink
“BIZ App for Coupons” article as printed in The Chronicle-Telegram

LAGRANGE – Grocery store shoppers in this small community can put their scissors down when it comes to coupons thank to a new Smartphone app that allows customers to receive coupons as they shop at the LaGrange IGA.

The Ringside Shopper app, which is free to download on both Apple and Android phones, allows shoppers to scan the barcode of a product they’re interested in purchasing. The app will then display a coupon for that product, as well as coupons for competing products.

Shoppers can then redeem coupons for the products they’ve purchased at a check-out through a single electronic scan at the register – thus eliminating each paper coupon.

According to Insight Marketing Data’s founder, Jim Wilson, IMD’s creator of Ringside Shopper, said the LaGrange IGA is the modern incarnation of the locally owned “mom and pop” grocery store.

Wilson said there is a difference between Ringside Shopper and other online/mobile coupon programs.
“The other electronic coupon services essentially offer electronic versions of paper coupons in which all shoppers receive the same discounts for a limited range of projects,” Wilson said. “Ringside, on the other hand, is able to precisely measure which products each individual shopper likes most, and then makes it possible for companies to optimally customize each discount they offer to best win the shopper’s purchase, all while the shopper is standing in the aisle.”

LaGrange IGA store owner Jim Poling said his store has worked very closely, to host the innovative pilot app.
“We’re facing challenges from numerous big box retailers and I think this system will not only be a fun and easy way for shoppers to save money, but will also help us compete head-to-head with larger retailers,” Poling said.

Wilson said the LaGrange IGA store is in between two Wal-Mart stores – the one on state Route 20 in Oberlin and the other off state Route 57 in Elyria’s Chestnut Commons.

“They (Jim and Kathy Poling) saw Ringside as a way to not only help differentiate their store from the corporate big boxes, but it also looked to be a great way to help local shoppers save money,” Wilson said.

Wilson added the LaGrange IGA, like other local grocery stores, are the “local underdogs” in this economy, but said Ohio still has “a few tricks up its sleeve” when it comes to innovations.

In addition the local entrepreneur and retailer, Lorain County Community Innovative Fund supported IMD early on with grant money and helped conduct a successful trail of the prototype system on the Lorain County Community College campus.

Likewise, Kent State University is helping with data mining and analytics support. Programmers at Cleveland’s Lean Dog Software Studio worked on the intricate systems.

“We hope this test program proves the value of our patented new system to shoppers, brands and retailers,” Wilson said.

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