iPhone app helps closeted couponers

Couponing for Generation Y has arrived in Canada via a new app, and it doesn’t involve scissors, binders, or sitting at the kitchen table.

“We looked at the coupon industry and we realized how archaic it is,” said Noah Godfrey, who created Checkout 51 with partners Pema Hegan and Andrew McGrath.

“So from a shopper’s standpoint, you have clipping coupons, stuffing them in your purse, matching them when you get to the checkout counter, holding up the line. The whole thing is just a big hassle.”

The free app was created last summer, launching three months ago.

“We thought we could make the whole thing easier and make saving on the brands you love quite simple,” said Godfrey, based in Toronto.

Here’s how it works.

Users sign up using an e-mail address or Facebook account.

Every Thursday, current offers on brand name items such as Tetley tea and Lactantia butter are posted.

Items can be purchased from any store in Canada and users upload the receipt.

Once the account reaches $20, a cheque will be mailed.

If customers want to wait until they reach $100 or are holding out for extra Christmas cash, they can, since there’s no expiry, Godfrey said.

Receipts can only be submitted once though, and should be uploaded immediately after the purchase.

The app can be combined with additional discounts or coupons, and users can claim more than one product on a single receipt.

An estimated 165,000 Canadians are using Checkout 51 – two-thirds are women – and have saved more than $250,000, he said.

“We see a whole wide range of people who are using this,” he said.

That includes extreme couponers and those who’d never be caught handing over a slip to a cashier.

The app gets a thumbs-up from Kanata-based couponing guru Heather Anderson, who carries a binder and a smartphone to stores.

“It’s awesome,” Anderson said.

It’s also exclusive to iPhone — for now.

Android users can expect to access Checkout 51 by summer, said Godfrey, but Blackberry isn’t on their radar.

They’re planning to expand to the U.S. later this year.

Despite the popularity of the app, “I don’t think paper coupons are going away anytime in the short term,” Godfrey said.

Twitter: @ottawasunkroche


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