Making Coupons Mobile

Caletha Crawford
Thursday, Oct 06, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Thanks to the recession-fueled boomlet of coupon-related programming, consumers are obsessed with clipping their way to discounts and freebies. In addition to coining a phrase, the TLC reality show “Extreme Couponing” showcases a variety of wily ways to score big at the register. But coupons are not for everyone. While I would love to have a lifetime supply of free toothpaste, I can’t fathom hunting through print ads to land a price break—not to mention the elaborate organizational tools the show’s stars employ to keep track of these valuable bits of paper. So thankfully mobile coupons offer an easier way to shop on the cheap. And it’s gaining in popularity.

mobile coupon image

Digital marketing insight firm eMarketer reports that 20 million U.S. adults will redeem mobile coupons this year, and the company expects that number to nearly double by 2013. One thing that’s helping the trend is the skyrocketing popularity of smartphones. By the end of 2010, there were 63.2 million people in the U.S. who own this type of phone, up 60 percent over the previous year, according to digital market research firm comScore. So it only makes sense for marketers to search for new ways to allow shoppers to grab a bargain on the go—no cutting or filing necessary. Integrating coupons into the mobile space is Extreme Couponing 2.0. And thanks to the prevalence of 2D barcodes, mobile couponing is quick and easy. And if that 2D code is a Tag, it’s quick, easy and robust.

With Tag, your promotion is:

Dynamic. Rather than offering your customers a single promotion that will expire, Tag’s customizable backend gives your coupon legs. For instance, a Tag showcased on a seasonal catalog can reflect current product offerings and different deals depending on when consumers scan it. Wanna goose sales of Halloween sweaters before trick-or-treat season passes you by? Implement a discount code with Tag. Then a few weeks later, you can signal the start of the Christmas season with an incentive on perfume gift sets. Same Tag, different offer.

Personal. Unlike the one-size-fits-all approaches you’re stuck with for print coupons or some other 2D barcodes, Tag’s Device ID allows you to get to know your customers and tailor offers for them. Every time someone scans a Tag from any of your promotions, Tag remembers that device. This allows you to note which campaigns each consumer scans and how often they do so, giving you the opportunity to customize their experience. For example, a first-timer might receive the standard advertised discount, while you could reward a repeat customer by navigating them to a special insider’s deal or trunk show invitation.

Visible. Print coupons have limited reach. In order to hit your target consumers with a print campaign, it’s likely that you’d have to place ads in each issue of multiple publications—and even then, only those within the newspaper’s circulation will see your spot. On the other hand, 2D barcodes allow you to place your message anywhere: posters in high-traffic areas, billboards that loom over a large section of the city or in-store displays where shoppers might stop and notice a product they would have otherwise bypassed. With a single ad buy, your store stands to gain much more traffic.

Based on proximity. Since your customers could encounter your campaign anywhere from their couch to your aisles, Tag’s Real-Time Location feature allows you to detect where shoppers are and craft appropriate messages for them. For the consumer who scans your Tag at home or on a billboard, you could direct them to a page that includes the location and directions to the closest store. For someone, who scans an in-store shelf-talker, Tag could supply a rain check if the product is out of stock at that location.

Easy. There are numerous ways to integrate discounts garnered through Tag with your POS system—and none of them require you to outfit your registers with proprietary scanners. When consumers scan Tag, you can choose to have them directed to a site with a 1D barcode that’s compatible with your stores’ scanners. Similarly, shoppers could be directed to a page with a discount code cashiers could enter to apply the discount. Finally, you could also have the discount automatically applied to the shopper’s loyalty or membership account number—the lower price would then appear when shoppers swipe the loyalty card at checkout.

Free. Speaking of good deals, there is no charge for Tag and all of its cool features.

Thanks to Tag, coupons have gone from static relics to dynamic marketing tools.

How else can Tag make coupons more engaging for your customers? Let us know with your comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Caletha Crawford is a New York-based children’s apparel consultant and part-time faculty member at Parsons The New School for Design. She has a unique perspective on the concepts, designs and companies that resonate with retailers and consumers.

Recent Comments
  • Denis

    10/07/2011 , 7:14 AM
    Great article Caletha! I found you through a post on Linkedin. Your assessment of QR codes and links is thorough and appropriate for all retailers to take notice and speak with their CPG suppliers. Denis


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