Cash-back affiliate shopping site Ebates on Thursday bought mobile coupon shopping app Shopular for an undisclosed price with an eye toward further blurring the lines between online and offline shopping.
Ebates and Shopular cater to a largely female, relatively affluent audience between the ages of 25 and 55. Part of what made Shopular attractive to Ebates is the app’s use of geolocation technology to send offers when shoppers are near a particular store, Ebates CEO Kevin Johnson says.
“Geotargeting is a key piece of that to make sure the user is getting a relevant, actionable offer at the right time.”
Shopular boasts such high-profile clients as Macy’s Inc. (No. 7 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide), Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. (No. 40), Express Inc. (No. 102) and Ulta Beauty (No. 196) among others. Ebates, which offers cash rewards for shoppers who shop with the company’s 2,000 retailer clients, was acquired by Rakuten Inc., the Japanese e-commerce conglomerate, for $1 billion in cash in 2014.
Shopular’s app, available on iOS and Android devices, will continue to stand alone and retain the Shopular name initially, operating as Shopular by Ebates, according to Johnson, though the company hasn’t determined the final branding. Shopular will incorporate Ebates’ cash-back offerings within its app.
Shopular co-founders Navneet Loiwal and Tommy Tsai will stay on, as will Shopular’s staff, in part because top tech talent is difficult to find, Johnson says.
“There’s high demand for people who know how to build compelling mobile apps, and we’re excited to have them as part of the team,” he says.
Johnson says Ebates hired 125 employees last year and plans to increase its headcount by the same or more in 2016. With Shopular in the fold, the company will focus its efforts on a more upscale clientele.
“Luxury is one of our fastest-growing categories and an area of increasing emphasis over the coming year,” he says. “We have everything from diapers to diamonds. Luxury is a core part.”Favorite