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Like the SaleLocator.com website, the new SaleLocator iPhone (s aapl) app launched Tuesday is a local retail sales search engine that helps users find deals at brick-and-mortar stores. SaleLocator makes deal discovery quick and painless, and it’s a recipe that has big retail chains interested.
The idea behind SaleLocator is that finding local deals should be fast, easy and require as few barriers to entry as possible. The app definitely makes good on that promise. It auto-detects your location upon launch (after you provide permission, of course) and immediately loads up sales at local retail outlets within range. You can sign up with a SaleLocator.com account, but you don’t have to, unless you want to be able to bookmark relevant sales for later use. SaleLocator isn’t just for big-city dwellers, either; the app provides useful info regarding sales in any U.S. market.
In an email interview, SaleLocator Co-founder and CEO Michael Falkson explained the app can do this because it sources the data to find sales using a multi-pronged approach. There’s a dedicated research team of employees who check out deals, and a “proprietary retail sourcing process that utilizes a variety of online and offline data sources.” SaleLocator has also managed to secure relationships with 25 national retail partners so far, including H&M and Barnes & Noble (s bks), and Falkson noted that “more are joining the program each day.”
The privately-funded app currently offers all its functionality completely free of charge, but Falkson explained that after an initial period during which the company plans to focus on “getting feedback, improving the app’s functionality and growing the overall platform’s user-base of consumers/shoppers and retailers,” the company plans to create an ad-supported version of the app, in addition to a paid version that will be ad-free. Ads seem like an easy sell, given that users of the app are already looking to make purchases in the first place.
Revenue-gathering attempts won’t come without additional features aimed at winning over and keeping users, however. Falkson says international support is on the way, and possibly even “loyalty credits,” which might resemble the sort of reward systems we’ve seen in other apps aimed at mobile shoppers like Foursquare.
Group-buying apps like Groupon may be the stars of location-based mobile shopping for those of us who are keen on social networking and live on the web, but for average users, an app that just opens and tells you which stores nearby are having sales, and on what, is a lot less easier to accept when making the move from traditional paper flyers.