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CEO Ben Smith on re-thinking newspaper circulars and local shopping
Wandeful Media has revamped its Find&Save local deals shopping platform, making it easier for shoppers to find the latest sales in their area from their local newspaper sites.
Wanderful Media, which is wholly-owned by major newspaper publishers, works with 380 publisher sites from the Washington Post to Dallasnews.com (site pictured here), according to Ben Smith, CEO of Wandeful, in an interview. Wanderful owns and operates the Find&Save pages within those sites.
Among some of the new features launched include enabling shoppers to create lists of sale items of personal interest, which can be saved for in-store viewing on a smartphone.
Shoppers can also browse popular lists. Shoppers can also get timely alerts of the deals. There are about 400,000 deals every week, according to Smith.
While creating shopping lists and following lists sounds a lot like what you can do on Pinterest, the difference is that Wanderful's Find&Save service is for the frugal shopper, which cuts across many demographics. Everyone wants to save money. But not everyone knows how to spot deals, or have the time to spot those deals. But there are those "super shoppers" who are aggressive coupon clippers that we could all benefit from. "What we're trying to do is to curate the system [with these super shoppers] and everyone can be passive observers," said Smith.
Indeed, if I could find that aggressive coupon shopper with similar tastes, she or he would definitely get me as a follower.
"This is a network specifically focused around finding deals," Smith said, adding that Wanderful has begun analyzing the circular data history which is enabling his team to push personalized deals to its network. "There's a bunch of value created to help them [shoppers] do what super shoppers do."
How does it work?
Wanderful sells the inventory to national retailers, such as Macy's, Safeway and Walgreens. Wanderful has exclusive rights to the top 42 leading retailers, said Smith.
All the leading retailers have circulars that go into newspapers, Smith added. Wandeful takes the printed circulars and creates pages for its retailing partners. The advertising CPMs (cost per thousand pages) is competitive to what a retailer would pay to advertise across the Web, said Smith.
The publishers sell the inventory to regional and local retailers, and gives a revenue share to Wanderful.
All this sounds well and good, but the key to Wandeful isn't just bringing circulars online and making it social. The big bet is driving shoppers to stores, said Smith.
"We want to be able to track people walking into stores," said Smith. "We're making a big bet on geo-fencing over the next 18 months."
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With access to almost 100 million unique visitors per month throughout its network, Wanderful Media is helping retailers by engaging shoppers around local sales and products, with the intent of driving shoppers across the threshold of retail stores.
The company owns and operates Find&Save, a comprehensive collection of local sales and products available on apps for iPhone/iPad and Android devices, on FindnSave.com and on newspaper sites across the country in all 50 of the top 50 DMAs (designated market areas).
Wanderful Media is an independent company financed by a powerful group of media companies, including Advance Digital, A. H. Belo Corporation, Community Newspaper Holdings, Cox Media Group, The E. W. Scripps Company, Gannett Co., GateHouse Media, Graham Holdings Company, Hearst Corporation, Lee Enterprises, MediaNews Group, and The McClatchy Company.
Wanderful Media represents a media industry initiative to transform the $4 billion business of traditional advertising circulars through digital innovation – just as joint media ventures such as CareerBuilder and Cars.com strengthened the industry’s position through the use of new technology.
In September 2012, Wanderful Media entered the market to connect retail advertisers with millions of consumers nationwide. The company was originally formed in November 2011 as ShopCo Holdings.
Wanderful Media is headquartered in Los Gatos, Calif., and has a development and operations office in downtown Chico, Calif.