Austin business targets online retail coupon market

Many shoppers use the internet to access exclusive sales, and some companies are taking advantage of the market by providing online coupons. WhaleShark Media, an online marketplace for web-based deals and discounts, is one of several businesses that has embraced the opportunity to help shoppers reduce their expenses. In fact, people who are pursuing some of the homes for sale in Austin may find that WhaleShark Media could have a substantial impact on the local economy over the next few years.

What does WhaleShark Media do?
WhaleShark Media helps consumers find thousands of online offers from a wide range of retailers. The company hosts coupon and deal websites, including RetailMeNot.com and Deals.com, and offers support to businesses across the globe.

More than 400 million consumers visit WhaleShark Media's websites every year, and the Austin company help online coupon suppliers reach large audiences through numerous marketing techniques. For example, WhaleShark Media assists RetailMeNot by promoting the brand's mission through weekly emails that provide consumers with information about the latest deals. Additionally, WhaleShark Media leverages social media and mobile apps to ensure that websites generate more traffic so customers can save money on clothing, computers, toys and other products.

"Coupons have been around forever, but online it was basically a lot of small operators versus one successful state-of-the-art business," WhaleShark CEO Cotter Cunningham told The Dallas Morning News. "We thought we could come in and professionalize the business."

How will WhaleShark media affect Austin?
WhaleShark Media manages eight online retail coupon providers, and these websites have helped the company become successful. The news source states that the business currently employs 300 workers, and the majority of its employees come from Austin.

While WhaleShark Media has experienced recent success, business officials expect it to expand without additional funding. The company is investigating new ways that consumers can use their smartphones to take advantage of retailers' discounts, and could further enhance its reputation in the online retail coupon market with its innovations.

Kevin Strawbridge, a managing partner with an e-commerce consulting firm, said that WhaleShark Media has been successful because it provides a one-stop shop for bargain hunters. The business took several fragmented discount websites and consolidated them to make it easier for consumers to save money. 

What is WhaleShark Media's impact on businesses?
Through innovative solutions, WhaleShark Media can provide websites with opportunities to boost their profits. The company offers resources that enable online retail coupon suppliers to gain insight into consumer trends and improve their marketing strategies.

Between December 3 and December 10, 2012, RetailMeNot experts conducted a survey that illustrates the value of WhaleShark Media. The online survey involved 1,106 U.S. residents age 18 and up, who provided details about how consumers' approach shopping during the holiday season.

More than 20 percent of survey participants said that they struggled to purchase gifts for their spouse or significant other. Meanwhile, 13 percent of respondents noted that they found it difficult to buy presents for family members.

The survey also showed that few respondents had yet to begin their holiday shopping, which could significantly impact merchants and online retail coupon suppliers. Vendors could use the data from the study to introduce attractive sales for customers, and online retail discount providers can inform consumers about substantial savings they could receive from web-based merchants.

"Consumers can still make those big purchases both online and in-store for everything from apparel to consumer electronics to sporting goods, but be prepared to see product inventories start to thin out the closer we get to Christmas," said Trae Bodge, senior editor for The RetailMeNot Insider.