Going Mobile: Directing Mobile Coupons To Your Customers11 Dec, 2009 By: Eric Holmen Response
Mobile coupons are enjoying a surge in awareness among marketers as the holiday retail season approaches. The nation is focused intently on the health of the consumer-based economy, and the mobile coupon — which offers high redemption rates and low cost-pertouch — represents a perfect marriage of technological capability and innovative, sales-driving strategy.
While traditional coupons are effective in encouraging sales, the mobile coupon takes the value proposition and makes it more convenient, and therefore more likely to be redeemed. Mobile coupon redemption rates can reach as high as 20 percent — well above comparable rates for print and even online coupons.
Even though mobile coupons are being used by retailers with increasing frequency, they are not always part of a direct marketing strategy — although they should be. This is where mobile coupons can really shine. When supported by other mobile marketing efforts and implemented as part of an integrated strategy, the mobile coupon is a marketing force to be reckoned with.
The Power of the Mobile Coupon
The mobile coupon has been around in one form or another since SMS messaging became widely available on mobile networks and handsets. But now, as the U.S. consumer is maintaining a value-conscious attitude and as marketers continue to seek high-impact, cost-effective means of reaching new customers, mobile coupons are coming into their own.
In fact, a study by Juniper Research estimated that by 2011, retailers worldwide would be sending out nearly 3 billion coupons to mobile phones, and they would be redeemed for $7 billion worth of discounts. This projection indicates a trend toward actionable (and measurable) mobile interactions, and reinforces the notion that mobile is a marketing and sales generation channel too powerful to ignore.
Beyond this power, what makes mobile (and mobile couponing) the future of the retail industry? In a word: convenience. Mobile coupons provide consumers with the ability to get value immediately from their purchase, which makes mobile coupons effective at both driving both revenue and traffic into stores — on or offline. As more businesses begin to embrace the mobile medium as a legitimate marketing tool (and as more consumers become comfortable with using these technologies to redeem coupons), the more mobile coupons will flourish as a bona fide business driver.
Nuts and Bolts
Of course, the rise of mobile coupons in the U.S. depends upon more than retailers’ and marketers’ willingness to engage in the practice of mobile couponing. Retailers in Japan and Korea have been quicker than their U.S. and European counterparts in installing specialized mobile device readers at the point of sale.
Conversely, American retailers that do engage in mobile couponing and, by extension, the mobile solutions providers that serve them, generally tend to adapt the mobile coupon itself to existing POS technology, be it through a simple code or a graphic barcode displayed on the screen that can be scanned by existing readers.
Over time, the popularity of smartphones will narrow this gap in technologies between the U.S. and other countries, leading to a much wider and rapid adoption of mobile coupons.
With the mobile device becoming more important to consumers and individuals, it’s only a matter of time before the mobile marketplace becomes as robust as the online space. Today, 57 percent of American consumers want and welcome mobile coupons received through their mobile devices, and 24 percent of U.S. mobile phone users who have participated in a mobile marketing campaign receive alerts for special sales or discounts.
By incorporating mobile coupons into a comprehensive direct marketing strategy, businesses in many different industries can stay ahead of the curve, take advantage of a substantial existing market, and market their products and services to today’s cost-conscious consumer, by appealing to their need for value, convenience and immediacy.
Will your company be one of them?