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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ibotta App - The future of couponing?

This week I went out on a limb and downloaded a new app for my phone. I'm not usually one to download stuff to my phone without first hearing my friends declare it useful (and by useful I mean that they didn't get a virus from it). However, this app sounded too incredible for me to risk forgetting about it or missing out while I waited on my friends to "test" it, so I decided to chance it. Boy am I glad I did.

The app, cleverly called Ibotta, uses social media like Twitter and Facebook to advertise your purchases, while you (the consumer) receive credits to your account. Credits are also earned by learning facts about the company, taking polls & pop quizzes, and watching short videos. All of this is done within the Ibotta app, so you don't have to mess with opening multiple screens or going through lengthy verification processes.

When you find an offer you want, you simply click on the picture and a screen will appear to present you with different tasks that will give you credit. All tasks can be acquired and used for every offer, so don't skip any or you'll lose out on money! After you've completed the tasks, head back out into the main page. Scroll through all the offers and choose the ones that you want to redeem. Head to the store and make your purchases. Make sure to take the application along with you for verification purposes! Not only can you scan barcodes while at the store (to double check that you have the correct item), but you'll want to read the wording carefully so you know exactly what to grab. A jar of pickle slices isn't the same as pickle spears for instance, and if you don't grab the right one, you won't get your credits!

Once you get home, make sure to upload your receipt (again, using only the app) by taking a picture of it and hitting the handy-dandy submit button. The app will then ask you to scan the barcodes of every item you purchased that has an offer to redeem. After you've scanned them all, hit the final submit button and you'll see a message letting you know that you'll be receiving money soon. And before you know it, there it is: money in your Ibotta account that can quickly be transferred into your Paypal account (minimum of $5.00 required to transfer).

My very first trip using the Ibotta app, I made $12.25 back. And because I scoured my coupon collection before I left, I saved myself another $10.00 on the purchases at the store. Some items can be bought for next to nothing, and couponing websites such as TotallyTarget.com are now letting their readers know when you can snag a deal for pennies just by using the coupon and the Ibotta redemption.

When you've redeemed all your offers, you can refresh your selections by hitting the Sort button and then the refresh tab. If you see an offer you particularly like (or maybe dislike), selecting it and then selecting it again will bring up a thumbs up/thumbs down section where you can let the app know whether or not you want to see similar offers. For instance - my family rarely buys jam, so I selected Thumbs Down in the picture at the right. Not because I don't like Smucker's, (I do like them actually!) but because I just don't think I'd use this offer anytime soon, and I'd rather have offers that apply to me better. After I "thumbs down" it, I refresh my offers. "Thumbs upping" an offer will let the app know that you liked the offer and want to see more like it. I thumbs upped a lot of my offers, mostly things that are super easy for me to turn into a meal everyone will enjoy, like ready-in-the-bag grilled steak from Tyson. Of course I first made sure to get my Tyson's coupon here, which saved me an extra dollar!

This app works great, it's free to use & download, and I hope that more of my favorite brands opt in soon. Three cheers for modern technology and the future of couponing!


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