A practical iPhone/iPad app for digitally "clipping" coupons and generating new ones has been grabbing lots of attention in town this Philly Tech Week.
Spawned locally - with support from Philadelphia Media Network's digital incubator project - SnipSnap claimed top honors at the 5th Annual Mobile Monday Demo Night, then again last night at the startup competition Switch Philly. Still, the sweetest victory had to be Apple's quick approval of the program in "under two weeks," said CTO Kostas Nasis, allowing SnipSnap to launch in perfect synchronicity yesterday morning on the App Store.
Sparked by the "bowl of shame" at CEO Ted Mann's house - a repository of coupons constantly coming to his house that he "couldn't bear to part with," SnipSnap uses your iPhone or iPad camera to capture and save those discount deals electronically. As described in the app store introduction, "Simply snap a picture of any printed offer and SnipSnap magically converts all the text, images and barcodes into a mobile optimized offer, which you can redeem off your screen." At the checkout line, you then "pull up the coupon, barcode, promo code or photograph and present it to the cashier to redeem."
SnipSnap smartly sends alerts when a stored coupon is about to expire. It also reminds you upon entering a store that you've got discount opportunities awaiting in your iPhone or iPad (either must be running on iOS 5.1 or higher.)
While the download is free, SnipSnap makes money from participating retailers who post offers on the app's separate Discover page. Out of the gate, the app has discount deals from Target, TGIF, Toys R Us and Babies R Us. Users also have the option to get social (through Facebook or Twitter) and share their coupons with other SnipSnap users
Pre-launch "beta" testers have had some explaining to do at the checkout counters, allowed Mann in his Switch Philly presentation, and not always enjoyed a positive result. Users get to rate their experiences with the app. Those results are then posted next to the coupons on your phone. "So you'll know from the ratings whether you need to keep and bring along the paper coupons as backup," said Mann.
SnipSnap-captured barcodes - as featured on those ubiquitous Bed, Bath & Beyond mailers - are easiest for cashiers to deal with. Manufacturers' coupons redeemed at grocery stores are not supported as yet, drat, "but will work with a future app update," said SnipSnap vp Kyle Martin. A version of the app for Android devices is "coming soon."