Mobile coupon usage is on the upswing, with 75% of mobile shoppers having redeemed a coupon from their smartphones last year, and 80% saying their perceptions of a retailer would improve if that retailer offered mobile deals. Despite the obvious consumer interest in mobile coupons, however, many retailers — and particularly, smaller merchants — are still struggling to get their footing in this new marketing world.
Although sending out mobile coupons via email or text seems easy enough, local business owners are still largely unsure of how to create promotions that won’t be ignored or viewed as a nuisance by their customers. Business owners also struggle to come up with offers that will generate a positive ROI.
Here are five strategies for increasing mobile coupon redemptions.
1. Get creative with the discounts. “The method that seems to work best is when a business owner issues a coupon that is different from the standard percent discount or BOGO. For instance, in honor of July 4th, a business could offer a discount if someone wore red, white or blue when they came into their store. Associate some fun or gaming with the coupon and the redemption will surely increase and people will remember your business long afterwards.” (Suzy Teele, SnapRetail)
2. Focus on the upsell. “Far too often, businesses blow out junk with a coupon and their users respond accordingly with general apathy. Groupon is a great example — when they had the hype they actually had great offers, and now they are really purveyors of junk. We tend to tell businesses to offer something of reasonable value with the intention of upselling a customer when they come in the door. I believe this is the biggest flaw with most merchant offers through coupons, they just don’t think big enough and in turn think about blowing out last year’s stock with a coupon, as a opposed to using coupons strategically.” (Jon Stringham, Kwiddi)
3. Use strategic segmentation. “Highly active users benefit from steady engagement. Send active users two to three offers a month to keep their average redemption rates high. Meanwhile, lapsed customers typically require a stronger offer to spark redemptions. We recommend selecting offers such as a free item with any purchase, BOGO’s, and dollar value discounts. Keep the frequency of pushed offers to one to two per month for lapsed users.” (Joe Shaw, Front Flip)
4. Target shoppers geographically. “Offering something to customers currently within range of the store will improve redemption as well as increase the number of visitors to the store. Using a long time range and targeting people in a greater area may increase visits over time, which is something that LoyalBlocks can help business owners track.” (Ido Mart, LoyalBlocks)
5. Check your offer’s curb appeal. “Avoid vague language, and be clear with the discount that is being offered. If the offer discount is over a $3 value, spell this out for the recipient. This can increase the perception of value for the user. For example: “Buy one entree, get one 1/2 off (up to $8 value).” Also, include the word “FREE” where appropriate. Users are busy, and free is a word that can help get your audience to stop and read the offer.” (Joe Shaw, Front Flip)
Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.