Citi Banks’ cards arm, Citi Cards – which has some 200million US account holders – is moving into the m-commerce space in the US with the launch of an Android, Blackberry and iPhone app called Citi Shopper that positions the card company firmly in the comparative shopping market, ahead of the company adding payment card stickers for mobile later this year.
The initial US-only offering searches inventory information of more than 2 billion products and delivers local offers and deals on products from electronics to apparel, as well as compares prices on products and provides users maps to nearby retailers. Consumers also then get reminders of offers, rewards and benefits specific to their Citi credit cards.
Consumers can browse deals and promotions at major local and online retailers, be reminded of Citi credit card-specific rewards, benefits and offers, search local store inventory and sort products by price or distance.
Additionally, consumers can view product details, images, availability and a map to the nearest location, save products and promotions into a mobile shopping list, share finds with friends and family and contact participation retailers with just one click.
The roll out later in the summer of PayPass contactless stickers is expected to then add an easy way to pay for goods using Citi Cards once the user has tracked them down using their mobile.
“More and more Americans are relying on their mobile devices to access information,” said Paul Galant, CEO of Citi Cards, New York. “At Citi, we’re continually looking for ideas and solutions that are the right fit for our customers and their lifestyle, based on what they tell us that they need and our anticipation of their future needs.
“With Citi Shopper, we’re enhancing their shopping experience by finding great deals for them and helping them better manage their money,” he said. “And Citi Shopper is just one product within a suite of new advanced mobile products from Citi Cards.
The move is interesting because one would expect the card company to look at rolling out some sort of mobile payment tools into the m-commerce space, but it is unusually for a bank to get involved in consumer offers and comparative shopping, albeit around its own card brand. Citi Shopper cements the move of traditionally non-retail brands staking a claim on the new landscape of m-commerce, offering not just their core products – in this case payments – but attempting to own more of the value chain. One to watch.