makeena users collect offers from their favorite brands – from Wild Zora and Beanitos to Zevia and Goddess Garden – on the app, and then purchase the products at online or bricks & mortar stores, explained cofounder and CEO Karen Frame, an attorney who first developed an interest in the natural foods space in the 1990s after founding a touchscreen kiosk business called Natural Interactions enabling shoppers to research products, print coupons, and create recipes and print out aisle by aisle shopping lists in-store.
Makeena – developed 20 years later - taps into many of the same ideas, but adapts them for Millennial shoppers, who are wearying of coupon cutting, printing off online offers, and fumbling around with their phones looking for online coupons to scan at the checkout, and instead prefer to earn cash they can spend wherever they like, said Frame.
After their shopping trip, makeena users scan their receipts plus the barcodes of the relevant products, and makeena credits their accounts with cash. When their account balance reaches $10, they can cash out using digital wallet app Venmo or PayPal.
Points can also be earned by following participating brands on twitter, watching video clips, sharing on facebook or twitter, referring friends, and other acts designed to help partner brands reach new consumers and engage with their fans online.
The points can in turn be converted into cash or other rewards, said Frame, who co-founded the business with David Farber, who has 20 years’ experience in software and systems development.
Find products, earn money
Makeena is not the first grocery shopping app enabling users to earn cash rewards, acknowledged Frame (the best-known players in this space are probably Checkout51 and ibotta), but it is the only one focused on healthier, eco-friendly products (the Thrive Market of rebate apps), she said.
makeena has also signed agreements with the Non GMO Project and other partners in the natural and organic products community, said Frame, who says she is on a mission to make healthier foods, supplements, petcare and beauty products more accessible: “We’re connecting brands and shoppers for good, and making healthy products more affordable.”
Aside from its clear focus (you won’t find Hershey’s Kisses or Coca-Cola deals on makeena), the level of insight makeena can give participating brands is what makes it stand out in the market, claimed Frame, who acquired printable coupon website CommonKindness.com in February (giving her access to 160 brands and a network of millions of monthly visitors with an interest in healthy products and giving back to non-profits); and rewards app Shink Inc in May (makeena now has relationships with around 275 brands collectively).
“We can offer brands and retailers a lot of proprietary data, including business analytics and shopper data profiles that they can’t get from other mobile platforms,” claimed Frame.
Consumers can discover new products and brands
She added: “Brands can see how many makeena members unlocked their rewards, the number of retail sales, how much they have spent to get to $$$ in sales, real-time customer behavioral information that identifies new distribution opportunities [they can see exactly where makeena users are buying their products], geographic demands, retailer preferences and product popularity.
“We can share engagements, average retail price, repeat purchase rates, time of day, basket sizes per store, and shopper demographics [makeena users create profiles highlighting their shopping habits, age, ethnicity, gender, location, family size, food preferences, dietary issues and interests].
"We also have the ability to poll and survey our users via the platform, so there are lots of opportunities to engage with consumers via the app, and we’re not clogging up people’s personal inboxes.”
Consumers, in turn, can discover new brands through the platform, which has landing pages for each brand with pictures, reviews, opportunities to earn points as well as money-off offers, and information telling you where you can buy the products on and offline (via store locator software).
Read more about makeena llc HERE.