There’s RedflagDeals mobile deals, Shopcatch, Shopwise, and other mobile deal services. Certainly a lot more to come over the next couple of years given the growth of smartphone usage. For now, here is an interesting take on the mobile coupon from a company that launched in December but does not get enough attention in our opinion. Enter Checkout 51, mobile supermarket coupons with a twist. An iPhone app that offers discounts when users snap a photo of the receipt.

(Parts of this post were taken from the original article on Strategy Online)

Founders, Pema Hegan , Andrew McGrath and Noah Godfrey were looking to start another venture after selling GigPark to Canpages in 2010.

“One opportunity we kept coming back to was the humble grocery store receipt,” says Hegan. “When you start to analyze that data you can start to find out some really interesting things including – does that shopper have children at home? Do they have sensitive skin? Do they shop regularly on a Thursday or spend more than $250? We wanted to create a startup that could capture that data, cheaply, quickly and easily. ”

This is how Checkout 51 works:

Brands offer coupons, which are uploaded to Checkout 51. Consumers continue to pay full price for the item at any store in Canada that carries that item. They then snap a picture of the receipt using their iphone (soon to be android) and their account is credited with the amount of the coupon for items on their receipt. Once their account reaches $20, Checkout 51 sends them a check in the mail.

It’s like in-store cash-back using your phone.

Checkout 51 has already partnered with Kraft and six other major manufacturers, including Kellogg and Clorox to offer coupons. “The real benefit for brands”, Hegan says, “is the opportunity to hyper-target consumers based on past purchase behaviour. For example, if a brand were to launch a new organic product, they could use the app to send out coupons only to consumers who have a history of buying organic. Companies can also access real-time results, such as when and where coupons are redeemed and the gender of people doing the collecting. It really allows you to go from very broad-based demographic targeting to very specific purchase behavior targeting,” says Hegan. “We’re bringing couponing out of the dark ages.”

Checkout 51 will be releasing an Android version of the app this year and also working on social integration (such as offering bigger incentives when consumers share deals with friends over social media).

What we notice is that if this can work for in-store supermarket items, then it should also work for products sold in big box retailers (Best Buy, The Bay, Target, Canadian Tire, Walmart, etc) Product Brands and each of these retailers can work with Checkout 51 to target specific consumer types based on data on their smartphone and based on their past purchasing behavior. If Checkout 51 gains momentum and success in the supermarket sector, I would certainly like to see them expand to brands sold at these big box retailers.

Another thought…Coopetition or very strategic partnerships. When done well and when done with the right people involved, partnerships enable faster market penetration. Although they can be seen as competitors, I would certainly find a discussion between Checkout 51 and perhaps Websaver to be interesting. Why? simple. Websaver is one of the largest if not the larger supermarket coupon distributor in the country. They already have the relationships with brands and have a very large consumer following. Both Checkout 51 and Websaver have what each other does not (yet). A conversation may lead to intriguing opportunities. Just a thought….