5 Tips for a Successful Mobile Coupon Strategy

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Photo by Melody Bates.

Most Americans have a cell phone with them all the time, everywhere they go. In fact, 95% of Americans now own a mobile phone, and 77% own a smartphone, according to the Pew Research Center. Businesses can engage consumers, generate store traffic, and drive repeat purchases through mobile channels, and one of the best ways to do that is by using mobile coupons.

Consumer demand for mobile coupons is on the rise because they offer a better experience than paper coupons, and they’re much more convenient. When we surveyed 1,204 U.S. consumers for our 2018 Mobile Coupon Survey, nearly half of them said they prefer mobile coupons to paper.

Mobile coupons also create a sense of urgency, helping retailers to drive short-term spikes in revenue, and presenting marketers with new opportunities to collect data, track usage, and laser target the right customers. But how do you build a successful mobile coupon strategy? We’ve got five tips for you based on our survey data.

1. Send coupons in text messages

It’s no surprise that people prefer to receive coupons on their mobile phones and that they want the convenience of being able to redeem the coupon directly from their phone. Having to cut out or print a coupon and have it physically on you is inconvenient, and people often forget to take coupons with them. Interestingly, 57% prefer to receive the mobile coupon in a text message so that it’s accessible via a link. Some are happy to have it in a mobile app or wallet (28% and 15%, respectively), but it’s clearly a good idea to also provide it via SMS.

2. Use mobile coupons as a sign-up incentive

Welcome coupons are a great way to stir up new business, but they can also be very effective as incentives to encourage customers to sign up for marketing lists and loyalty programs. More than two-thirds of consumers we surveyed told us that they are more likely to join a list when an instant coupon is on offer. Mobile coupons are a great way to grow your marketing lists fast.

3. Advertise mobile coupons in store

You might think online ads or even Facebook would be the best way to advertise mobile coupons, but in-store signage tops the list by a large margin. If customers are already in your store, there’s a much higher chance that they’ll be responsive to a coupon offer. This is great news for retailers that offer in-store marketing programs to suppliers. It’s important to note that digital advertising is still important to a lot of people (23%), so the right approach will combine online and in-store ads.

4. Employ on-demand coupons

Time and time again we’ve seen the effectiveness of on-demand coupons. If the customer requests a coupon after seeing an out-of-store advertisement, they are much more likely to redeem it. More than three quarters of people we asked said they were likely or very likely to redeem mobile coupons that they requested. Combined with the fact that 60% of consumers told us that they are likely to redeem a coupon they receive via text message within one week, on-demand coupons can be a powerful tactic for retailers and have proved to be a great traffic driver.

5. Employ high-value, single-use coupons

Given the choice, consumers overwhelmingly prefer higher-value coupons that they can use only once, versus lower-value coupons that they can use multiple times. The important thing here is for the retailer to accurately track coupon requests and usage to ensure that the customer receives the same single-use coupon regardless of the channel used to request the coupon. That mobile coupon must also expire upon use across all channels, so that customers can’t use it more than once.

Shoppers are always on the hunt for bargains and discounts, so they prefer to shop in stores where they can find and use mobile coupons. Engaging through mobile also allows retailers and marketers to evaluate their strategies more effectively and understand what works best with their customers. As mobile coupons continue to grow in popularity, they will increasingly attract new customers and repeat business into stores and help retailers differentiate themselves from the competition.

For a more detailed look at what U.S. consumers really want from mobile coupons, you can read the complete 2018 Mobile Coupon Survey.

Dan Slavin is CEO and co-founder of CodeBroker, a provider of mobile marketing solutions. He was CEO of Framework Technologies, VP of Open Market, and CEO of International Testing Services. He earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Yale and an MBA from Harvard. You can reach him at [email protected].