Ka-Ching! Use Your Phone to Save at the Supermarket

Coupons that are sent to my mobile phone? Now that sounds like a bright idea, one that just might save me time AND money.

In just a few short years, users of mobile phones will be issued some 3 billion mobile coupons, totaling nearly $7 billion in discounts. Cash savings at the register won't be the only benefit, though.

Does anyone actually enjoy clipping coupons? I don't. In fact, I rarely ever go through the local paper to begin with, let alone all the flyers and advertisements stuffed inside. Could I be saving money at the grocery store? Perhaps. But I'd also be spending more time sitting somewhere in my house with a pair of scissors going "snip snip snip". That doesn't sound like fun.

Coupons that are sent to my mobile phone? Now that sounds like a bright idea, one that just might save me time AND money.

Analyst firm Juniper Research says that mobile coupons are becoming an increasingly important tool for brand owners and retailers to provide a 'push to purchase' capability for mobile marketing and advertising campaigns.

You may be asking yourself, just what is a mobile coupon? Juniper Research defines a mobile coupon as "a coupon sent and stored on a mobile phone that can be exchanged for a rebate, a financial discount, etc., at a retailer when the consumer purchases a product. When compared to their paper cousins, mobile coupons offer a number of distinct advantages allowing the coupon issuer a direct connection between themselves and the consumer using the coupon."

In other words, any company that creates and distributes mobile coupons can track better who is using them, and where. While they might save you time and money, the deal is much better for the companies that issues them. Here is a lost of some of the benefits they will see:

  • Cost savings on campaigns
  • An increase in ARPU
  • One-2-one marketing opportunities
  • An increase in customer retention for mobile operators -- lower churn
  • Higher conversion rates
  • The expansion of mobile value added services
  • Reduced fraud

These all sound nifty for everyone but the end user. What really matters to the consumer is getting--or being able to find--mobile coupons that are relevant to them. Oh, and finding a facility where they can actually be redeemed won't hurt, either. We have a ways to go before we get there.

According to Juniper, there is "hesitancy from some retailers to adopt mobile coupons. In addition, some retailers would have to change from using laser scanners to optical readers that use the required CCD technology to read barcodes, especially 2D barcodes from mobile phones."

Despite these challenges, mobile coupons will become a reality, and in a big way.