Nearly half of shoppers say they are interested in receiving mobile coupons from retailers when they are in or near their physical stores, and 63% say they would be more likely to make a purchase if they received a coupon during their shopping experience. Still, only 27% of companies have plans to implement location-based marketing in 2013.
If mobile coupons are what shoppers want, why aren’t more retailers offering just that? The technology is there, but local merchants haven’t quite caught up. The vast majority of retailers are still cautious — and sometimes even confused — about how hyperlocal technology works. Terms like geo-fencing, geo-targeting, and indoor positioning have little meaning to the average merchant. What these business owners care more about is what these tools can do for them.
Here are eight straightforward tools that retailers can use to satisfy consumer demand and drum up additional sales with the delivery of mobile coupons.
1. LocalSocial: Design offers to unlock in-store.
Retailers with their own mobile apps can use LocalSocial to award customers with special coupons and loyalty points when they arrive at their stores. LocalSocial uses beacons (powered by WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, or QR codes) to determine when a customer is in a store or near a particular display. This then triggers an action — like sending a custom greeting or unlocking a special badge within the retailer’s mobile app. Merchants are able to drive traffic to certain areas within their stores, and push in-app coupons that are relevant to the customers who are receiving them. LocalSocial charges a flat monthly fee.
2. Geopon: Drive purchases and achieve branding goals.
Retailers can use Geopon’s all-in-one platform to design campaigns based on geographic location, demographics, and consumer behavior. Once shoppers download the Geopon mobile app, they’re sent coupons based on their location and stated interests. Geopon offers a number of extra features, like restaurant menus, mall guides, and movie times. For example, when pushing a coupon to a nearby restaurant, Geopon can also send the customer an online menu at the same time. Geopon offers two pricing models. Merchants can expect to pay $.20 CPC for any coupon or weekly ad clicked on within Geopon’s app within a 24-hour period. (Merchants are not charged multiple times for the same consumer click on a given day.) Subscription pricing costs $9.99 per month, per location, per offer for merchants who use the digital punch card or point card service.
3. Urban Airship: Deliver targeted offers to app users.
Retailers with their own mobile apps can use Urban Airship to send coupons through push notifications or in-app messaging, leveraging user preferences, in-app behaviors, current locations, and location histories. Retailers can send coupons to customers who live in certain neighborhoods, work in certain zip codes, or are physically standing inside their stores. Messages can be location-targeted based on the physical outline of a store or real world boundaries. Urban Airship can also send “point-to-radius” coordinates or indoor locations based on Wi-Fi triangulation. Retailers who use the company’s Wallet Studio can create coupons, loyalty cards, and gift cards that automatically pop up on customers’ smartphone home screens when they are near defined locations. In order to leverage Wallet Studio’s suite of tools, retailers must sign-up for annual contracts based on the volume of passes and cards under management. Enterprise pricing varies based on the “scope and volume” of a retailer’s needs.
4. Point Inside: Send offers based on real-time customer locations.
Point Inside can expand the capabilities of a retailer’s mobile app, allowing businesses to track the movement of shoppers within their stores and push personalized coupons and product selections to their customers’ smartphones. These messages are sent in real-time, based on the customer’s location. For example, a shopper in the produce aisle of a grocery store could get a personalized 2-for-1 offer for bagged salads. Point Inside offers variable pricing, based on the specific capabilities a retailer needs.
5. Yowza!!: Target people who are shopping nearby.
Yowza!! is a platform that retailers can use to send mobile coupons to shoppers who are near their stores. Merchants upload their coupons onto the platform — setting parameters, like expiration dates and usage limits — and Yowza!! automatically pushes those deals out via its own mobile app when shoppers get close to a retailer’s store. Yowza!! also pushes coupons to customers who’ve “Favorited” a store using the company’s mobile app, regardless of the shopper’s current location. Retailers who sign up for a free trial can publish one coupon per month.
6. Moasis: Send the right message to the right place.
Rather than sending targeted offers as text or a push notification, Moasis offers tools that local merchants can use to run graphical or text banner ads on mobile sites. These ads can contain coupons (along with maps and other calls-to-action), and they can be targeted to appear only when a customer enters a geographical area as small as a single city block. Moasis uses an “auction-based bidding system,” which means pricing varies based on factors like location and business category. Ad rates reportedly run at “CPMs of about $40.”
7. MobSav: Motivate customers with instant savings.
MobSav is a “location-based coupon network” that uses GPS to pinpoint where shoppers are located when they visit the MobSav.com mobile website. Based on that location, MobSav will provide the shopper with coupons from participating retailers in his or her vicinity. MobSav offers flat pricing for merchants, regardless of how many coupons are downloaded or redeemed. MobSav is currently accepting merchants in Chicago, however the company plans to expand into other cities in the future. The company charges $50 per coupon, per month (based on one location), in addition to a $20 set-up fee and $10 to add a barcode to coupons.
8. Thumbvista: Engage with customers inside a virtual perimeter.
Thumbvista is a hyperlocal marketing vendor that provides retailers with DIY tools for geo-fencing. Merchants can create mobile messages (generally coupons or announcements), which their customers receive as a text when they enter a pre-determined perimeter. By adding demographic questions to their opt-in forms, merchants can also segment their SMS offers by gender or age. Thumbvista charges a set up fee for “consultation and the first geo-fence.” From there, pricing is based on the “volume of data base.” The company offers plans that “start as low as $100 per month.”
Know of other tools that retailers can use to deliver mobile coupons? Leave a description in the comments.
Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.