Upromise adds Mall Networks to shopping services

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College-savings service Upromise is now using Mall Networks 3.0 to make its online shopping mall more user-friendly and engaging.

Mall Networks, a provider of merchant-funded loyalty programs, is offering personalized comparison shopping and enhanced search on the Upromise site. Six hundred merchant partners — including L.L. Bean, Barnes and Noble and ProFlowers — combine to provide more than 10 million product SKUs to online shoppers, who receive cash back rewards for their purchases. Rewards earned on Upromise are put towards users' college savings or to pay back student loans.

“It's been very important to us that members have the opportunity to do product searches and price comparisons,” said David Coppins, SVP at Upromise. “What makes our service different is that nowhere can you do a full price comparison and feature comparison and still get a reward. Trying to accomplish that is pretty difficult, so we worked with Mall Networks to build an affiliate-based product that still makes it possible to track back to members; that allows us to give rewards.”

Mall Networks has been powering certain features of the Upromise site for years, but the rewards service was using Shopping.com to power its online mall before. Following an extensive search process, Upromise switched to Mall Networks 3.0 for its full comparison-shopping engine and its flexibility. Upromise chose its own merchant partners, focusing on good customer service records, known brand names, category killers and smaller companies with unique offers.

Upromise is quietly rolling out its new shopping capabilities for now, but it will launch a big campaign in the next couple of months, leveraging e-mail and other member touchpoints. The company is planning another Mall Networks release in the fall, to be followed by more features in January.

“If we can provide a shopping experience where members can come to the site and feel like they have all the tools necessary to add value to their shopping, then it's helping them, our merchants and ourselves, and our members are going to be much more engaged,” Coppins concluded.

Upromise has more than 8.5 million members, earning $425 million in rewards.

Mall Networks has created online and in-store loyalty shopping programs for Spirit Airlines, Virgin and NASCAR, among others.

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