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Mobile Coupons Coming Soon

According to the recent report from NCH Marketing, despite improvements in consumer confidence and unemployment in 2012, consumers’ use of coupons remains strong. An August 2012 consumer survey found that 79.8% of consumers regularly use CPG coupons. Those that used fewer coupons in 2012 than in 2011 cited the following reasons: can’t find coupons for the products they want to buy, and don’t have time to clip coupons. The numbers suggest that coupons are a must-have for every CPG and retailer, and in a perfect world, coupons would appear in the consumer’s hands for the products that they use or want, when they are at the store. The only way this perfect world could happen is if you could get coupons in the hands of the shopper at the shelf. Now that mobile is the new marketing vehicle, why not distribute coupons via smartphones? I’m not talking about loading them onto a store card or showing the cashier the code from an e-mail with a special discount of the day. I’m talking about the traditional coupon - $0.50 off an item that can be used by swiping your phone or the cashier entering the code from the mobile coupon. This capability would address the reasons why some consumers don’t use coupons. Consumers can look them up when they are in the store, and there is no need to “clip” coupons because they can be downloaded in real time right to their phone.

Despite the number of print coupons distributed, mobile coupons have a high redemption rate of 10% compared to print coupons that redeem around 1-2%. Then why are only 1.3% of all coupons distributed via coupon to card or mobile? One of the reasons is most likely the lack of coupon ad standards. The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) recently announced that the organization has formed a committee to address mobile coupon ad standards (RGI is a member of that committee). The idea is to set up universal standards for mobile coupons. This is great timing, considering mobile users are expected to redeem 10 billion coupons in 2013. The standards address retailer capabilities such as optical scanners required to read mobile coupons, ad specifications, and a compliance program for retailers and CPGs. This is exciting news to those of us who forget our coupons at home or in the car. Keep a lookout for mobile coupons coming to a store near you!

For a copy of the current mobile coupon guidelines, click here.

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