Rogers and Yellow Pages target bargain hunters

The two Canadian companies have jumped on the deal-hunting bandwagon, launching their own digital properties.
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Rogers and Yellow Pages have finally jumped on the deal-hunting bandwagon. With deal-hunting apps and websites  quickly becoming ubiquitous, the two iconic Canadian companies have decided to enter the fray, albeit fashionably late, each one exploiting the strengths of its respective network.

Rogers’ first foray has been dubbed RDeals. The service brings national offers to Canadians, as well as local deals to the GTA, on products and services including food, fashion, technology, vacations, spa treatments and fitness classes. Its first national deal allowed users, for $32, to give three gifts consisting of a $25 Chapters Indigo gift card plus two magazine subscriptions from eight Canadian publications including Today’s Parent, Flare and Chatelaine. At press time, almost 1,000 vouchers had been sold. Rogers would not divulge the number of RDeals subscribers, but acknowledges that it would not have launched without a solid subscriber base, which it built ahead of its public launch.

RDeals – which is being promoted via widgets on Rogers Digital Media properties, TV ads on Rogers channels, including Citytv, and locally though Toronto radio stations – differentiates itself in four ways, says Jason Tafler, chief digital officer, Rogers Digital Media. For one, it leverages the Rogers network to offer merchants a high-quality targeted audience and offer users curated, personalized, relevant deals that are tied into content.

“We already know from all of our research on the publishing side and the broadcast side how much our readers and our subscribers rely on our brand for great content and great recommendations on merchants and offers and promotions, so it’s really a natural extension to be able to provide them with deals,” says Tafler.

The availability of both national and local deals is another point of differentiation and the last, says Tafler, is upcoming mobile functionality, such as users being able to add deal purchases to their Rogers bill and the availability of location-based deals. He adds that the power of the Rogers network will increase its ability to offer innovations around delivering deals on a mobile device. An example, he says, is that if Rogers is successful in attaining the banking licence it recently applied for, it will look to tie wireless credit card and wireless wallet functionalities into RDeals.

The creation of RDeals is the initial stage of an overarching Rogers Digital Media rebrand that’s slated for the new year. While seeking to position Rogers as a digital leader nationally, it will also include a particular focus on digital services at the local level, including providing local merchants with inroads to online brand building.

“We see a real void in the marketplace in terms of enabling local merchants to attract new customers and build their brands online, so we’re going after that in a big way,” says Tafler. “Because we have more targeted data we’re going to be able to understand potentially where people are in the purchase funnel as they go across their devices – this is also a big part of the cross-platform focus of Rogers Digital Media – and then better target them with offers and information as they’re in that shopper research process, even as they’re in different regions, areas or stores.”

He continues, “Ultimately, in terms of shopper marketing, there are also very interesting tie-ins when you get into the store, where the goal is mobile redemption so you don’t have to print out a voucher. You go into the store, you easily connect with a POS system or some other method where you can actually purchase and maybe get additional value or loyalty points or offers while you’re in the store.”

Yellow Pages has entered the digital deal-making mix through YellowPages.ca. It offers relevant deals linked directly to business search results on the website and the Yellow Pages mobile app. All users have to do is click on the “deals” tab to track down nearby deals, using the map function to pinpoint deals by category. It’s currently being promoted by way of a 30-second TV spot, a contest and ads on the Yellow Pages Group network of online properties.

“We’ve always been, for decades, about helping consumers find merchants,” says Matthieu Houle, director, mobile and platforms, Yellow Pages Group. “With new technologies, like access to internet content, what’s changing is that consumers are asking for more of that content. What they’re asking for basically is product information, whether it’s editorial reviews, product reviews, consumer reviews; they’re asking for deals and more information about the merchants themselves. The strategy for us is to provide them with more of that information to help them make smarter shopping decisions.”

Much of the content created for Yellow Pages deals service comes as a result of the company’s recent acquisition of Redflagdeals.com, an online deal-hunting community, as well as by way of direct feeds through major partners and established lines of communication with local merchants. The company currently has relationships with approximately 2,500 advertisers in Canada, and big brands like Sears, Future Shop, Sport Chek, Toys R Us, Rona and Dell are represented by way of localized deals. At press time, Yellow Pages said it was too early to quantify any increase in new traffic resulting from the deals feature.

“When you look at the consumer path to making buying decisions, a lot of it comes from social recommendations,” says Houle. “The brands themselves are obviously a big part of the decision, but deals are definitely in more and more with the economy.”