Smartphone adoption is continuing to rise, and Apple's recent unveiling of the its new low-price, plastic iPhone 5C is likely to convince some holdout feature phone owners to upgrade to smart devices.
New smartphone owners have an extensive range of apps and features to choose from, offering everything from GPS capabilities to the option of making payments with a mobile wallet. As the standard transaction model branches out from the typical process of handing over cash or swiping a card at the register, couponing is evolving too.
Mobile couponing a good match for millennials
"Mobile commerce in general is just exploding," John Pletz, technology blogger and senior reporter at Crain's Chicago Business, told WTTW-TV – and mobile couponing is no exception. "You've got an entire generation coming along that are willing to buy things on their phones."
Pletz explained that while members of older generations might balk at the idea of using communication devices to make purchases, millennials are accustomed to relying on their phones when completing a large range of tasks, including using mobile payments to buy anything from groceries to airline tickets.
Using mobile couponing to drive revenue
Jill Cataldo, founder of Super-Couponing and a coupon columnist, told the news source that the mobile nature of phone-based couponing encourages a more impulsive style of shopping, which can be lucrative for retailers. She said that while consumers who use paper coupons must plan their trips ahead of time, cutting out or printing the relevant coupons accordingly, those who partake of mobile couponing merely have to fire up an app and select the deals they want from the array presented to them. What's more, couponing via smartphone is, well, smart.
"Purchase data is tracked to you, so it sees your loyalty and it sees your purchase history and it may offer you discounts [based on that]," Cataldo noted.
That said, according to Cataldo, more than half of coupon redemptions still occur as a result of newspaper inserts, while print-at-home couponing is also popular.
By monitoring mobile couponing trends on an individual level, retailers can provide a more personalized experience for shoppers by presenting offers that will likely appeal to them, rather than expecting them to weed through lists themselves.
"You can serve up a coupon that matches what they buy and you can serve it up to them when they're close to the cash register," added Pletz, as quoted by WTTW-TV. "The closer you are to the purchase, the closer you are to the cash register, [and] that's the place to hit you with the deal."
Pletz predicted that mobile couponing is likely to grow significantly, tripling over the next few years as smartphone adoption rates continue to rise and shoppers seek more convenient ways to save. Retailers eager to establish themselves in terms of convenience and modern technology should consider offering mobile coupons in addition to their paper and online counterparts.