Single use Coupons in a Multi-channel World

single use coupons

Single Use Coupons Significantly Reduce Fraud

Written by: Dan Slavin

Consumers have become masters of the coupon universe. They can ferret-out coupons from the most unlikely places all in the name of getting a deal. And retailers’ continue to feed the coupon addiction expending great effort to lure consumers to their doors – both brick & mortar as well as online – through the heavy use of discounts. And it is working. According to Deloitte, 73% of purchases are influenced by coupons and promotions.

How does a retailer manage offer liability when there are so many places to find coupons (FSI, in-store, direct mail, coupon websites, general website searches, email, retailer app, etc.)?

Add mobile coupons to the mix and cashiers can be overwhelmed when presented with a slew of coupons at the time of checkout. However, what many people do not know is that, if implemented correctly, mobile coupons can actually significantly reduce coupon liability. There are two important parts in managing coupon liability: issuance and clearing. The following is a brief overview of key considerations.

To fully understand the intricacies of managing mobile coupons in a multi-channel world, consider the following example. A customer subscribes to a retailer’s loyalty program. The retailer recently alerted the customer that a mobile coupon is available in the retailer’s app. In addition, the customer goes online, logs in using their email address and subsequently prints an offer. And, the same customer responds to the retailer’s call to action to receive a coupon for the same item based on a keyword. At this point, the customer has three coupons for the same product on their mobile device. From a retailers perspective this could be fine if the offer is $0.50 off a $20 item. However, it may not be fine if the offer is 50% off a $20 item.

With respect to issuance, the first step is to make sure the customer receives the identical mobile coupon in all of the channels they elect to view it, not three versions of a similar coupon as cited in the above example. In other words, the coupon pushed to the retailer’s app on the customer’s mobile device should have the same coupon code as the coupons the customer downloaded to their email and pulled based on the call-to-action – a single use coupon. This is easier said than done as a link needs to exist between all of the different channels a consumer accesses a coupon and the consumer’s mobile device. When implemented correctly, regardless of the number of times a consumer accesses the offer, it will always be the same coupon code. In addition, because a link has been created between the coupon and customer’s mobile device, the ability to track mobile coupon usage is available to the retailer.

Unlike traditional methods for clearing paper coupons, clearing mobile coupons can be done instantaneously. This provides a HUGE advantage in managing coupon liability. To create an even better customer experience using mobile coupons, the retailer can mark the mobile coupon as redeemed in all channels. Mark as redeemed eliminates any confusion on the customer’s part as to which coupons are valid versus expired.

Both retailers and consumers are increasingly turning to mobile. Having the ability to control the issuance of coupons, track coupon usage and clear coupons instantaneously in all channels through the delivery of single use coupons, provides integrity to the coupon life cycle. This integrity ensures retailer’s ability to minimize liability. It also produces a richer customer experience.