Talking tech since 2003

I admit it, I hate clipping coupons.  I forget them at home constantly, and if I do remember them, they are usually expired.  Plus, why am I going to go to all that trouble to clip a coupon just to save 50 cents?  Well, now there’s SnipSnap.  The iOS and Android app, which has close to one million users, allows anyone to convert a printed coupon into a digital, mobile format, which they can easily search and retrieve on their smartphone.

In theory, SnipSnap CEO Ted Mann has been digitizing coupons long before apps were around.  He began snapping pictures of barcodes on coupons and bringing them to stores so he wouldn’t forget them at home (and get grief from his wife).

“I started taking pictures, photographs of all the coupons we get in the mail,” Mann said.  “I brought them in the baby store first, and I showed it to the cashier in the checkout line.  She said people do that everyday, so I tried it at another store and it worked their too, and it worked at almost every store.”

After you launch SnipSnap, you launch the camera and snap a photo of the coupon.  SnipSnap scans and stores the text images, logos, barcode, and expiration date.  The end result is a searchable, digital version of the coupon.  Because the information is now organized in the app, you can receive reminders about coupons that are going to expire soon.  SnipSnap also works with your phone’s GPS, so you can get alerts about which coupons you have for a particular store when you enter that store.

SnipSnap2

SnipSnap currently has over 650,000 active coupons in their database, most of which users have submitted and shared (you can also follow particular users to see what coupons they are uploading and using).  Mann said that SnipSnap users save an average of $40 per week using the app and are expected to save even more soon with manufacturer coupons.

SnipSnap is currently working on integrating manufacturers coupons into the app.  Mann said that manufacturer coupons, like the ones you get from General Mills in your Sunday circular, are an entirely different beast because 93 percent of them come in print and work differently than store coupons.  Integrating manufacturer coupons into the app has taken time, but with a partnership with one of the largest coupon clearinghouses in the United States, Mann hopes to have those coupons integrated into the app by the summer.

“[Manufacturer] coupons work a little differently that the store coupons because they are being issued by a manufacturer, so when you redeem them at a grocery store, the grocery store is essentially fronting the discount,” Mann said.  “Paper has long been the means of handling that transaction.  Grocery stores literally pack up all these paper coupons, ship them down to clearinghouses in Mexico and Texas and they get hand counted.  That’s hows they get paid back,  it’s a process ripe for disruption and also kind of challenging to replace.”

But SnipSnap is focused on making it work, one step at a time.

“We want it to work for every manufacturer and every supermarket, but its going to take us a little while to get there,” Mann said.

Mann said that the company is also working on a Windows Phone version of the app, which it hopes to release soon.


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