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Ringside shopper app helps customers download instant coupons

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Akron-based Insight Market Data (IMD) has partnered with a family-run grocery store in Lorain County to create a more convenient, efficient and sustainable method of distributing coupons through a new smartphone app, Ringside Shopper.
Jim Wilson, formerly the B2B technical architect of Avon Lake-based PolyOne and senior application developer for Schwab and Key Corp., says the idea was borne out of his wife’s frustration with not being able to find diaper coupons on the internet following the birth of their daughter. The frustration led to serendipity.
“All of my varied programming experiences allowed me to see the whole system in a moment of inspiration,” Wilson says, recalling the moment from 1999 when pagers were common and smartphones weren’t on the radar yet. “Having played with early handheld computers, it was obvious to me what was coming and how it would make this system possible.” The long-brewing idea became a patent a decade later and is now a reality.
“The Ringside Shopper app itself is incredibly simple,” Wilson explains, adding user information is protected. “While in the store aisle, a shopper just scans the UPC barcode of a product they’re interested in, and the app will display a discount coupon for that product and a few others from competing brands.” The entire process takes no more than a few seconds, allowing the shopper to continue as normal until checkout. “Then at the checkout register, the shopper simply scans the ‘Point of Sale ID’ barcode stuck to the register [Ringside’s logo is on it], and like magic, their coupons will be applied and deducted from their bill as the items are scanned in,” says Wilson. A demo of the process is available at their website.
Wilson is proud to note that development has been an “all-Ohio” effort. “In addition to friends and family, the Lorain County Community Innovation Fund supported IMD early on with grant money and helped conduct a successful trial of the prototype system on the Lorain County Community College campus,” he says. Now Wilson is looking for more partners and investors as he continues developing relationships with Kent State UniversityLean Dog in Cleveland, and LaGrange IGA to complete a variety of company tasks, including data mining, analytics support and programming.
Meantime, curious shoppers are invited by Wilson to download the free app and try it themselves at the LaGrange IGA. “With a little luck, the money saving system you see there will soon be coming to every store near you.”
Source: Jim Wilson
Writer: Joe Baur
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