One time use Mobile Coupons – Myth or Reality?

Retailers Embrace One Time Use Mobile Coupons

Written By: Dan Slavin, CodeBroker

Retailers are employing everything from promo codes to 2D barcodes for customers to clip, print or load onto their mobile device and present at checkout. The problem is the vast majority of these “coupons” are really unlimited offers customers can reuse over and over. In order to provide true one-time use coupons, a combination of integrated capabilities are required. Having built a comprehensive security model from the ground up, CodeBroker has over six years of experience providing secure, one time use mobile coupons to some of the top retailers in the U.S.

So what constitutes a truly one time use mobile coupon? It must:

  1. Contain a unique code,
  2. Be delivered to a specific device and/or individual,
  3. Cease to be usable upon redemption, and
  4. Support simultaneous multi-channel (delivery and) expiration.

Unique Code 

Using a unique code is the first step in implementing secure, one-time use coupons. A unique code is a means to track the offer from issuance through redemption and expiration. By limiting the number of unique codes, a retailer can deliver high-value offers to their customers without fear of incurring significant liability should the offer go viral.


The combination of a unique code and a mobile device creates a link between the retailer and customer. Managing this relationship allows the retailer to track all coupons the customer has either loaded or received onto their mobile device. Information such as which device received the offer, when it was viewed and when it was redeemed give the retailer a comprehensive picture of the purchase funnel.


During checkout the coupon’s unique code is either scanned, in the form of a barcode, or entered into the POS by the cashier. While not required, being able to scan a barcode during checkout provides a seamless and expedient process for both the customer and retailer. Following recognition of the unique code by the POS system, the coupon is marked as redeemed and the coupon is “cleared.” By clearing the coupon, it has been “collected” at the time of purchase and is no longer available for use.

Multi-channel Expiration 

A huge challenge in marking a coupon as redeemed is expiring it in all of the channels it was made available. Expiration must happen in all of the channels the customer viewed and loaded the coupon – SMS app, retailer’s app, email message, Passbook, Facebook, etc. Simultaneous expiration ensures the coupon cannot be used more than once eliminating coupon fraud.

Retailers benefit significantly from deploying one time use mobile coupons. First, CodeBroker customers routinely see up to 50% redemption for on-demand coupons, significantly higher than paper-based coupons. Higher redemption rates translate to an increase in incremental revenue as offers drive more trips to the store and increased basket size. Second, effective offers are helping retailers build brand loyalty with their customers increasing their lifetime value. Third, retailers are able to track the entire purchase funnel – from delivery through redemption – creating a comprehensive picture of consumer purchase behavior. And finally, CodeBroker customers have realized significant savings by reducing print spend when delivering offers via mobile.