- Rodale Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to organic farming, has partnered with smartphone app Makeena to offer discounts on organic and natural products. The organizations’ mission is to make organic food more accessible and affordable for more people, according to a news release.
- Makeena users can browse and select thousands of products offering promotional deals on their smartphones. After a product is purchased — whether in-store or online — users take a photo of their receipt and scan the product UPC, which triggers an electronic deposit to their Makeena account. When this account reaches $20, they can cash out using Paypal or Venmo. These deals can include an amount or percentage off the price, free trials or buy-one-get-one.
- Makeena founder Karen Frame and her staff curate the products and deals on the app. Brands already participating include Lundberg Farms, Bhakti Chai, Goddess Garden and Primal Pit Products. Brands pay for the cost of promotions and can target the offers by customer metadata, geographic area or retailer.
Makeena works similarly to the Ibotta app, which launched in 2012 and allows shoppers to scan their receipts for rewards. According to Forbes, Ibotta users spend more than $6 billion every year using the app. Shopkick is another similar rewards-based shopping app widely used by consumers. After a year of testing, Shopkick found that consumers spend nearly $30 more per visit than non-users. Traffic and engagement also increased among users, according to Retail Leader.
If the popularity of Ibotta and Shopkick-type apps are any indication of how well this interactive-rewards concept resonates, Makeena and Rodale Institute’s partnership should fulfill its accessibility and affordability objectives.
The timing is ripe for such an app, as demand for both organic and natural food continues to increase. Since the added cost of sustainable practices continues to be a hurdle for many consumers wanting to buy organic food, the rewards feature alone could provide incentive for usage.
The benefits of this app reach beyond consumers craving organic offerings. Gaming apps are appealing to marketers because they provide more control than channels that feature user-generated content. The Makeena app also includes real-time analytics to allow marketers to push promotions that are working and to target their offers based on consumer data, geography or retailer. This, the companies state, gives marketers “granular control over costs and a clear ROI.”
Although organic and natural foods make up a small percentage of the overall food and beverage market, this app — and its benefits for both consumers and marketers — should help move that needle a little more.