By Chuck Martin
As in any growth market, not all mobile commerce innovations will make it over time, no matter how innovative or well-intentioned.
One recent mobile commerce fatality is Endorse, the shopping app that provided customer value while also bypassing the retailer.
With Endorse, a shopper would receive about 10 coupons each week, theoretically tied to their past purchase behaviors. The twist was that rather than cashing in the coupons in the store, the consumer could photograph and upload the receipt when they got home.
Within an hour or two, the app would notify the shopper that the coupons were redeemed and credit the account the cash amount, which could be paid at any time by check or PayPal account transfer.
I wrote about endorse late last year in the column Coupon Redemption Comes Home. The promise of Endorse was that the system would get to better understand purchase habits over time and fine-tune its coupon serving to each individual.
“The more receipts someone has in their account, the more personalized and targeted the offers will become,” Steven Carpenter, Endorse Founder and CEO, told me at the time.
I’m not sure how the fine-tuning over time went, since I continued to receive irrelevant coupons based on demographics or past purchases.
Over the last many months, I continued to use Endorse and pretty routinely uploaded receipts. My account had reached $46. Granted, not a large amount of money but it was all for products I likely would have purchased anyway.
In a blog post yesterday, Carpenter notified its customers the business was shutting down:
“We are writing to let you know that as of today, June 19, 2013, we are closing the Endorse service. You will no longer be able to receive product offers, to upload receipts, and to earn cash back and points using the Endorse mobile app.”
I had gotten quite fond of the app so am sorry to see it go. But then again, the mobile consumer marketplace knows what it will – and won’t – do.
Chuck Martin is Editor of the mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk column. He is the author of “Mobile Influence,” “The Third Screen,” and “The Smartphone Handbook.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute. Chuck Martin is a frequent Mobile Keynote Speaker and Mobile Marketing Speaker internationally. He also addresses Social Media in Mobile.