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Google Will Kill Off Its Digital Coupon Business, Zavers

The company trims down its commerce offerings to focus on big bets.

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Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Google has decided to discontinue a 17-month-old initiative that let shoppers clip coupons online and then get those savings when they purchased products in the stores of partnering retailers.

The product, dubbed Zavers by Google, launched in January of last year following Google’s 2011 acquisition of a startup called Zave Networks. Several grocery store chains were using the service, according to Google’s Zavers customer page, including A&P, Waldbaums, Raleys and The Food Emporium.

The service allowed shoppers to “clip” online coupons they found on a retailer’s site and link their loyalty card information with the service. Then, when the shoppers arrived in the store, the coupon’s discount would automatically be deducted from their purchase when they scanned their loyalty card or entered in their phone number at checkout.

But sources say the program did not expand as quickly as Google had hoped, in part due to some retailers’ uneasiness with giving Google access to information about their best customers. It will be wound down over the next few months.

“We’re working closely with clients during the transition and remain focused on connecting shoppers with the brands they love through offerings like Product Listing Ads, Google Shopping Express and Google Wallet,” a Google spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

The decision to kill the service was handed down by Google’s new commerce chief, Sridhar Ramaswamy, according to a source, as he works to put his stamp on the company’s local commerce and payments efforts after years of limited success. Ramaswamy was named to the role of SVP of Ads and Commerce last March after 10 years in the company’s engineering organization.

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