Recently, 42-year-old Brenda Fry, a Wisconsin Walmart cashier, pleaded no contest to a felony charge of theft by false representation. Her crime? Using high-value diet supplement coupons and taking advantage of an error in their coding to get cash back, a practice known as “glitching”. She found products by the manufacturer that sold for as little as 98 cents (products not intended to be used with the offer, but that scanned with the coupon at the register) and applied a $5 off coupon – pocketing the difference in cash. Not quite what the manufacturer intended with their program.
What’s the lesson? Proofread and proofread again? Stop offering coupons? Neither is a perfect or reasonable solution. How can you still use valuable coupons to drive sales, while decreasing your risk?
With mobile one-time-use coupons, you can reduce your risk. Customers can sign up to be on your mobile list, request an on-demand coupon by texting a shortcode, or access a coupon directly from your app. No matter how they receive it, they can only use it once. If they access the coupon again, they receive the same, cancelled coupon. That’s the beauty of one-time-use coupons. And with its digital format, even if proofreading fails, the coupon can be updated or cancelled within hours.
Analysts predict that there will be more than 1 billion mobile coupon users by 2019. And mobile coupons have 10x the ROI (based on redemption) versus email coupons. So don’t fear the coupon “glitch”. Use an alternative method to deliver your high-value offer with decreased risk and increased control.