By Dan Slavin
We are at that time of year when retail sales can be compared to heading up the first hill of a roller coaster. There are preparations being made, forecasts being cast, and marketing plans being implemented to make the most of the sales season ahead. This portion of the ride can be eerily quiet, with riders only hearing the ticking of the chain as it propels the coaster upward. Once that coaster hits the start of the holidays however, the noise will be deafening.
It’s no wonder. The winter sales season, defined by the National Retail Federation (NRF) as lasting from November through December, has a major impact on retailers. Some, like jewelers, can see as much as 30% of their annual sales take place in these two months. So the marketing screaming and shouting earnestly begins in an effort to grab the attention of fickle consumers. Since many of these retailers use the same strategies and tactics, rising above the noise happens only for a few. This may be the season to plan smarter, not louder, and the answer may be the use of mobile coupons.
Based on our own observations, the on-demand mobile coupon model, where consumers respond to a call to action to obtain a coupon, can drive significant traffic because they drive highly significant redemption rates of between 30-50%. Now that’s what you call ‘rising above the noise.’
Mobile Coupons Are Credible, Build Traffic
It is important for retailers to understand that mobile coupons are not a theoretical marketing tool that should be considered “sometime in the future.” A 2018 Mobile Coupon Survey of 1,204 U.S. consumers shows that 25% of people redeem on-demand coupons (coupons they request via text message in response to a call to action) within three days and a full 60% redeem this type of coupon within a week.
The coupon survey went on to report that while a minority of consumers (31%) still prefer to download and print coupons, 69% prefer to store and redeem coupons from their phones. More than half (57%) prefer to receive a text message with a link to the coupon. Presenting consumers with options is still key, with 28% preferring to store coupons in mobile apps and 15% choosing a mobile wallet.
Reach Consumers through Channels They are Comfortable Using
Choice and convenience are a key to mobile coupon efforts, especially during the holidays. Consumers are busy and may be less likely to download an app or log into a website. They will be more prone to use the channels they are already comfortable using.
These will include vehicles like text messaging, email, or Facebook Messenger. Once you understand and begin using their preferred channel, you have a far greater opportunity to interact with customers as opposed to trying to hit the traditional printed coupon direct mail lottery.
Start with Single-Use Mobile Coupons
Retailers may be reluctant to use mobile coupons for fear of the liability that may be associated with them. Digital coupons can too often be easily shared and, when valuable, could even go viral. This can be problematic for retailers who want to limit how many coupons are released and to whom.
The answer is single-use mobile coupons that expire after a redemption. Single-use means marketers can offer higher discounts and control who qualifies to receive them.
A single-use coupon redeemed during the holidays can lead to repeat purchases throughout the year, having an even greater return on investment.
About More Than the Holidays
Many retailers invest so much time, money, and effort trying to be heard above the noise during the winter sales season, there’s little left over after December 31. Instead, efforts to improve mobile coupon marketing can have long-lasting positive effects on your brand, providing a much better ROI.
The coupon survey for example found that mobile “welcome” coupons were a powerful way to entice consumers to join a retailer’s marketing list or loyalty program. When asked, “Are you more likely to join a retailer’s brand’s marketing list if you receive an instant coupon as an incentive to join the list?” 68% of respondents said “yes.” That’s over two-thirds. These are consumers who are not only likely to redeem that initial coupon, but also potentially interact with you more after the holidays given the establishment of a relationship.