How to Use Mobile Coupons to Gain an Edge

By Dan Slavin

People love to use coupons. As many as 92% of Americans used a coupon in the last year, according to PRRI. Coupons encourage people to shop, but most coupons that are issued still go unredeemed. While paper coupons are in decline, online and mobile coupons are growing more and more popular by the day. That should come as no surprise when you consider the ubiquity and convenience of smartphones, but there are other factors that make mobile coupons a solid choice for retailers and consumers.

Mobile coupons can be laser targeted. They’re convenient for all concerned and, managed properly, they offer much higher redemption rates than traditional paper coupons. Consider that 72% of consumers say they have looked for coupons or offers while in-store via their mobile device — a figure that rises to 90% for Millennials, according to Valassis.

With the right mobile coupon software, retailers can reach shoppers on multiple channels with relevant offers to boost engagement and redemption rates, while limiting liability.

The right way to deliver mobile coupons

Everyone has their mobile phone with them all the time nowadays, so it’s the ideal delivery device for a coupon. While older generations are still willing to cut out and save paper coupons, times are changing. People today want convenience and that means mobile. An omnichannel approach is vital to capture as many customers as possible. Coupons and offers can come via SMS, social media messaging, mobile apps, and other channels. Engaging with consumers and learning about their preferences is important. Compared to a single channel approach, omnichannel leads to an average 13% higher basket size and 11% higher profitability, according to an EKN mobile loyalty study.

There’s also growing evidence that getting the timing and location right has a major impact. More than half of shoppers say they have visited a store, restaurant or other business after receiving an offer on their mobile device when they were near the business location, according to Valassis. And 90% of Millennial Moms are comfortable with brands communicating with them via their mobile device while they shop in-store, according to ROTH’s Millennial Mom Survey.

By collecting, analysing and acting upon the right data from mobile, your coupon strategy will be far more effective, and it will improve further over time.

Coupon campaigns

If you’re offering coupons as part of a mobile loyalty program, then make sure your members can access them easily and don’t make them jump through too many hoops. CodeBroker’s mobile loyalty survey found that 70% of consumers will use a mobile loyalty program as long as it doesn’t involve a sign-in each time or mobile app download. Mobile coupons should be redeemable both in-store and online.

It’s also crucial to limit your exposure. You want to offer mobile coupons on all available mobile channels, but limit redemption, so that they’re truly one-time use. Consider that mobile coupons can go viral, so unlimited offers that customers can reuse again and again can get very expensive. Rather than limiting the value of the offer, use mobile coupon software that can limit distribution and track and manage your coupon redemptions. Always mark used mobile coupons clearly as redeemed, so there’s no confusion for customers.

Redemption rates

There’s a tangible and sizable difference in redemption rates for coupons when you go mobile. Engaging the customer with on-demand offers, where customers request mobile coupons, is highly effective, according to a CodeBroker mobile coupon ROI study:

  • Traditional paper coupons garner redemption rates between just 0.5% and 2%.
  • Smartphone apps get average redemption rates of 8% to 10%.
  • Text message delivery averages 3-10% redemption rates.
  • Email combined with text messaging saw redemption rates of between 15% and 25%.
  • On-demand mobile coupons offer redemption rates on average between 30% and 50%.

With mobile coupons you can target specific demographics and locations, they don’t require the redeemer to cut anything out or remember to take it with them, and they allow retailers to control usage per customer and collect more potentially useful data on every redemption. Mobile coupons are an effective way to engage customers and they are growing proportionately more important every year.