6 Mobile Coupon Platforms for Merchants

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When it comes to small business marketing, merchants can’t sit back and wait for customers to come to them. They have to go where the customers are, and for the 88% of U.S. adults who own cell phones, that means going mobile.

One of the simplest solutions for merchants just beginning to dip their toes into mobile marketing is text-based mobile coupons. Coupons that are sent via SMS are eight times more likely to be redeemed than coupons sent through email, and 90% of these messages are opened up within just three minutes of receipt.

Here are six tools that local merchants can use to drive sales with targeted coupons sent to their customers’ mobile phones.

1. Cellit Spark
Local merchants looking to send coupons, alerts, and event information to their customers via SMS messages can use Cellit Spark to set up recurring campaigns and scheduled coupons that go out at specific times. Cellit Spark lets merchants send unique redemption codes to each subscriber on their mailing lists, and provides analytics information showing which campaigns were the most and least effective. Merchants can expect to pay $49 to $179 to send 1,500 to 7,000 SMS messages per month.

2. Placecast
Retailers of all sizes can use Placecast’s ShopAlerts platform to send text messages to customers when they are within the vicinity of their stores. Merchants can determine the radius that ShopAlerts will use when sending automated messages, and customers can choose whether or not to opt-in to receive a merchant’s push notifications and targeted texts. Placecast doesn’t disclose its costs, however the company’s CEO, Alistair Goodman, says merchants can expect to pay a one-time setup fee plus monthly fees that vary based on the number of messages sent.

3. Momares
Momares is a marketing platform that businesses can use to text coupons, invitations, and last-minute offers to their customers’ mobile phones. Customers subscribe to the merchant’s program by texting a custom number, after which they will begin receiving SMS marketing messages on their mobile phones. Sending a new coupon is as easy as selecting the group of recipients, entering a brief message, choosing a delivery time, and clicking “Send.” For $199 to $299 per month, merchants that use Momares can send between 3,000 and 5,000 SMS messages.

4. Street Savings
Street Savings is a text-based marketing platform that lets merchants send SMS coupons that can be redeemed through credit card terminals and point of sale systems. Merchants collect their customers’ contact information online, via text, or through special QR codes, and then send limited-time text offers as often as they like. When customers start coming in to redeem their deals, merchants enter the provided codes into their existing credit card terminals. This prevents customers from using coupons twice, and automates the redemption tracking process. Street Savings offers four monthly pricing plans ranging from $35.95 to $109.95, which merchants can use to send 200 to 1,500 messages each month.

5. Qwikon
Small businesses that want to send deals in a hurry can use Qwikon, a text-based coupon tool, to create and send offers to their customers’ phones in less than one minute. Customers can sign up to receive a business’ coupons by texting a Qwikon number or scanning a special QR code, and merchants can begin creating offers by entering the discounts, limitations, and expiration dates that work for them. Qwikon charges merchants based on the number of SMS messages they send each month, with fees ranging from $49 to $249 for 500 to 10,000 messages.

6. Yowza
Yowza is a mobile coupon platform that small businesses can use to push notifications to shoppers in their areas. Merchants maintain full control over the coupons they create with Yowza, and they can have up to three coupons available for customers to use at any given time. Shoppers only see coupons from the stores they’ve marked as “favorites” in the Yowza mobile app. Yowza charges businesses a flat rate of $89 per month, per retail location.

Know of other platforms that merchants can use to send mobile coupons to their customers’ phones? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.