With the holiday season looming, retailers are finding new and interesting ways to lure shoppers into stores. The use of geo-location-based technologies that offer loyalty points, deals and coupons have become just the bait merchants hope will convince shoppers to forsake the convenience of online shopping and venture into crowded stores and shopping malls.

According to a recent PriceGrabber survey, 31 percent of consumers already have shopping-related apps on their smartphone, and 82 percent of those consumers plan to use those apps to help save money when purchasing holidays gifts.

RetailMeNot iPhone appOne such app comes from coupon supplier RetailMeNot.

You are perhaps familiar with Shopkick, the app that recognizes when you cross a retail store’s threshold and begins rewarding you with loyalty points, called “kicks.” (If not, we talk about it here and here.)

Well, RetailMeNot has just released a new version of its iPhone app that performs a similar function. The difference is, rather than just focusing on individual stores, it’s also designed for use in shopping malls.

Just by entering a mall, you are sent a list of coupons directly to your iPhone. The app also allows people search for coupons on a per-store basis and even provides Passbook support, so coupons can be added to make mobile redemption even easier.

John Faith, senior vice president of mobile at WhaleShark Media, the company that owns RetailMeNot, said in a New York Times article, that “an average user will see 38 coupons from 25 stores upon stepping near a mall.”

RetailMeNot’s app uses a technology called “geo-fencing,” which is like a virtual perimeter drawn around an area. When someone using the app steps into that perimeter, the app knows it and starts presenting relevant deals.

It’s Still the Economy, Stupid

With the elections now behind us, the fate of the economy is still in question, and that has to affect consumer buying habits this holiday season.

The most recent WhaleShark Media trend report suggests that “deal-seeking behaviors among holiday shoppers will continue to grow,” and that “more than 90 percent said that they are more likely to make a purchase when a coupon or deal is available.”

That being the case, results of the aforementioned PriceGrabber survey should come as good news to the folks at RetailMeNot. It found that, when consumers were asked what types of shopping apps they plan to download for holiday shopping, coupon apps were the most popular.

Today’s article is sponsored by Payvment: The #1 Social Commerce Platform