Mobile Coupons Gain Traction, But QR Codes Are Fading

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couponsThe future of mobile coupons is nearly here and it looks bright, according to a recent study conducted by RadiumOne, which found that nearly half of women ages 35 to 54 would like to receive mobile coupons via SMS. Meanwhile, other methods of coupon delivery are rising in popularity as well.

“The general population is very comfortable with that method of communication; SMS will continue to be the leading mechanism by which consumers request it,” RadiumOne’s VP of mobile, Kamal Kaur, told Street Fight. “But [Apple’s] Passbook is not going to be left behind. Passbook is generally a very easy for customers to organize coupons, tickets, and so forth.”

According to eMarketer research, the number of mobile coupon users will jump from 12.3 million in 2010 to 46 million in 2013, with 40 million of those people using smartphones to redeem their offers. The redemption rate for mobile coupons has already been pegged at 10 percent — 10 times higher than the 1 percent redemption rate for print coupons.

Mobile coupons that use QR codes, however, are struggling to find a niche, according to Kaur. They require too much effort on the part of the consumer, too many apps to download, and too many pieces of software to open, she said: “QR codes are fading. They were were great, but it’s very tough to bring it into the consumer’s view.”

“The majority of brands have moved on” from QR codes, said her colleague Doug Chavez, the company’s VP of marketing. “There’s a lot of confusion in the marketplace. Twentysomethings get it. But if you’re dealing with someone who is the head of the household, he or she needs to get in and get something quick. Things needs to operate for utility value. I think that’s why SMS works so well. They know how to use it.”

In its campaigns for brands, RadiumOne is moving away from QR codes and focusing on the clip-to-card method in addition to SMS. There’s also a growing movement to include more near field communication.

Noah Davis is a senior editor at Street Fight.