Top 100: 6. Mobile coupons

Sept. 8, 2011

Mobile coupons are becoming increasingly important to retailers, rising from No. 48 on the 2010 Top 100 Retail Movers & Shakers list.

According to a recent survey conducted by research agency mobileSQUARED on behalf of Airwide Solutions, 61 percent of mobile operators predict that coupons or vouchers will be the dominant form of mobile marketing by 2015.

The survey's respondents expect that consumers in 2015 will be "more likely to utilize mobile marketing or advertising promotions that are sent to them via their mobile phones than those generated through search, display or navigation."

Although companies from the Wall Street Journal to Sprint have included promotional barcodes in their ads, this past April, Target became the first retailer to send its customers scannable mobile coupons containing barcodes that could be redeemed at checkout.

Target may be the first big box store to go national with mobile coupons, but other retailers and marketers also are embracing the technology as coupons in general enjoy a recession-fueled resurgence and consumers are increasingly using their mobile phones for m-commerce. JCPenney, for example, has begun testing scannable coupons at stores in the Houston area, and Yahoo has partnered with Coupons Inc. to allow brand advertisers to distribute coupons via Yahoo Mobile.

For companies that may be feeling pressure to keep pace with Target, analyst Julie A. Ask cautions them not to get caught up in the hype surrounding mobile coupons or QR codes. She does, however, encourage marketers to start laying the groundwork with pilot programs and testing toward the longer-term goal of engaging customers with mobile coupons. Her advice: "Get it right before you go big."

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Topics: Top 100 Retail


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