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Mobile Couponing Set to Explode?


Well, since we are in the official year of mobile (it is really the actual year of mobile right?) it only makes sense to start to truly predict just how much will now be spent in the future of mobile. One of the most obvious uses of mobile marketing is for couponing. Being able to provide a coupon at the literal point of purchase at the time of purchase has implications for sales that could be significant.

MediaPost reports on a study done by Borrell Associates that shows some projections that if they are believed indicate growth that is makes a “hockey stick” growth pattern look like the new flat.

Borrell goes on to say

Text-based coupons are the fastest-growing and most obvious mobile marketing application, and the easiest to implement, says the report. Redemption rates for mobile coupons are 10x that of mail or newspaper distributed coupons. The report summarizes the future by noting that a restaurant in Texas pays $37 to send out 500 text messages for a “buy-one/get-one-free burger” offer and gets 60 people to walk in the door, for incremental revenue of $1,000 per day.

There are many reasons for this type of anticipated growth with the biggest being the fact that the “install” base of mobile phones is already significant (80%) and the rise of smartphone usage (now at 31% of mobile phone users) doesn’t appear to be waning either. As a result, customers already have the delivery vehicle for these offers. Many just need to get used to the idea that their phone, and even their smart phone, is a mobile Sunday paper coupon section of sorts.

This is intriguing because the report also points out that in the mid 1990’s when the commercial Internet was truly getting traction only 8% of households had a modem enabled computer. Not having the technology slowed the adoption of the medium but in 15 short years it is poised to take over many traditional media in its level of importance. Mobile marketing doesn’t have to wait for people to purchase the means for getting their messages. They already have it. Now it’s a matter of behavioral adjustments which seem to be taking less and less time as people adjust to the new media world we live in.

So maybe this year is the year of mobile. Your take?

  • Dean

    First off – Happy 7th anniversary to “this is going to be the year of mobile”

    Second – I only wish that mobile couponing would gain traction, but I defy you to show your local retailer a coupon you received on your mobile device and have them honor it. The issue isn’t user adoption, it’s retailer implementation.

  • http://MobileVisibility.com Richard Posey

    Oh, God, please let me stay in business long enough for me to actually profit from this. :-)

    One thing to be aware of with mobile coupons is the possibility that people, even with opt-in, will allow their phones to become so clogged up with coupons, they’ll be ignored, too. However, I think the reality will be that most customers who have opted-in for coupons from businesses they know really WILL respond at a higher level.

  • http://www.digitalsignage.com/post Jon Randall @ DigitalSignage.com

    Certainly it will explode and my personal feeling is that it will be integrated with other devices like digital signs and QSR codes on static and digital billboards. Great stuff is ahead in digital for both the consumer and the marketer.
    .-= Jon Randall @ DigitalSignage.com´s last blog ..Navori Partner Nexgen Helps Deploy DS for Swiss Retailer =-.

    • http://seo-harmony.com David Pavlicko

      While I agree with Dean on ‘typical’ retail implementation – like retail stores,etc…. I 100% see this being MEGA successful when the companies sending out the coupons do it correctly.

      For example, Groupon – the iphone app. They have a ‘daily’ coupon for a selected local restaurant that is usually a GREAT coupon – like $25 worth of food for $10. You purchase the coupon right from your mobile phone and print it out at home (that part still sucks) . But I can verify that most of the restaurants I’ve seen have a coupon blow the doors wide open – I’m talking 500-1000 coupons being sold for some of them.

      Think of the repeat business you get off that – EVERYONE is hunting for bargains today. If you can give your customers one, you’re a step ahead of your competition. Go Mobile!

      • Dean

        “…and print it out at home…”

        That’s the implementation part that sucks. I want to be able to show the vendor the coupon on my phone. Making me print it out is no better than an email/snail mail offer and frankly more trouble than a coupon in my Sunday paper.

        • Coupon Guru

          Oh….it’s coming! Target has kicked this off with their mobile coupon service. All Target stores can now scan the Target coupons on your phone at the register. The problem with their service though is that the coupons are not “targeted” (excuse the pun).

          • Bill

            Have you seen this in the stores…are other retailers offering this service? How do you get the coupons for Target to scan?

  • http://www.zadling.com/ Zadling

    The growth from 2008 to 2009 is astounding. I can see digital coupons take hold over print. It’s easier to use and easier to access. Just like the iPad is doing to newspapers and magazines, the mobile phone will do the same thing to coupons. Also, how great would it be to just open up your phone, have it identify your current location, and then automatically pull up coupons for the store your in. This is going to be huge.
    .-= Zadling´s last blog ..Webinar/Seminar Invitation For Google Apps and Internet Marketing =-.

  • http://mobithinking.com mobiThinking

    Wouldn’t it be better if mobile coupons were self-service via the mobile Web, rather than by SMS? Bulk SMS is very costly and you need to build and manage a permission-based list of subscribers, with mobile Web, people just help themselves.
    I believe this is the way it works in Japan. McDonalds Japan has 4.5 million subscribers to its mobile coupon service (and 11 million registered users of its mobile Website, 12 percent the Japanese population). See this guide to mobile in Japan for more details: http://mobithinking.com/guide-mobile-Web-Japan#McDonalds
    .-= mobiThinking´s last blog ..Global mobile stats: all latest quality research on mobile Web and marketing in one place =-.