Eight Mobile Coupon Methods that Build Customer Retention

As an online marketer, it would be an expensive mistake to dismiss the growing source of revenue derived from digital programs across multiple mobile channels. One such channel of mobile engagement is the use of mobile coupons (m-coupons).

Not only are digital coupons considered the most popular form of promotional activity for digital consumers, but also the trend is expected to continue to rise. It may not benefit your company to launch a nationwide mobile coupon effort, but it is important to know the mobile coupon options available to you. So how can your company effectively use mobile coupons to build customer retention and add revenue?

Store-specific mobile coupons

Use the power of GPS equates to an impulse purchase. Getting a coupon to a consumer while they are out on the town can act as a prime impulse incentive. Not only is this good for your consumer, but it can help to incentivize purchases of slower-moving product for effective inventory management.

Mobile website coupons

Many stores offer coupons from their native website, but by reaching into the smart phone arena it opens up a broader customer base. Consider a mobile app, mobile site, or a responsive designed website. Now is the time to upgrade to reach the increasing number of digital consumers.

Personalized mobile coupons

Target coupons based on past purchasing behavior, preferences, time and location personalize the experience for the consumer. This attention to detail wins brand loyalty and sets up the store and consumer with a win-win.

Opt-in consumer alerts

As consumers navigate through their mobile experience, it is important to give them their choice of alerts. Provide alternative methods of notification such as SMS, RSS, or Email.

Integrated mobile shopping coupons

Instead of hitting your customer with coupons only at your schedule, give them the total mobile experience: Browsing a selection of products, coupons, searches and bar codes to use and interact with in a complete mobile storefront.

Location-based services coupons

Location-based services (LBS) tap into customer loyalty and builds rewards into a quality experience for consumers. The engagement is not limited to check-in, but also provides mobile users with exclusive discounts using QR codes.

Social distribution of mobile coupons

There is no better music to the marketer’s ears than hearing the Facebook exchange of coupons ringing in the day (and the sales at the register). Make sure your m-coupons are shared through social distribution through Facebook and Twitter. Make them easy to share, exchange and talk about.
Aggregator circulation of mobile coupons

Finally if you want to dip a toe in m-coupons, a fast way is to use coupon aggregators such as 8Coupons, Cellfire, Coupon Sherpa, Yowza, and Zavers. Make sure to weigh costs and rewards, and choose an aggregator that provides meaningful statistics.

Remember creativity is the name of the mobile coupon game. Think of treasure hunts, scavenger hunts, and surprise discounts and rewards. Mobile consumers have been known to leave their wallet behind on the lunch table, but never their smart phone. That type of engagement can never be found through a television, desktop computer, or mailbox. Ask your consumer what their favorite childhood game is, and then find a way to implement it into an m-coupon reward. Have fun with m-coupons. … Tag, you’re it!

2012 Global Mobile Statistics


Gartner (May 2012): there will be 212.2 million m-payment users in 2011 (up from 160.5 million in 2011), m-payments will total US $171.5 billion in 2012 (up 61.9 percent from $105.9 billion in 2011).
Mobile Web is expected to dominate mobile payments in North America and Europe through to 2016. SMS is expected to remain the key vehicle for m-payments in developing markets. NFC transactions will remain relatively low through 2015, but will start to pick up from 2016.


In the US, m-commerce revenues are expected to hit $6 billion by the end of 2011, growing to $31 billion by 2016, according to Forrester Research (June 2011).

➢ But m-commerce will only be 2 percent of e-commerce in 2011 and 7 percent of e-commerce in 2016.
➢ m-commerce includes mobile media and content, retail, travel, coupons/deals, and services
➢ 91 percent of online retailers in the US have a mobile strategy in place or in development, according to Shop.org/Forrester Research (May 2011)
➢ 48 percent of US retailers surveyed had a mobile-optimized website; 35 percent had deployed an iPhone app; 15 percent deployed an Android app; 15 percent had deployed an iPad app.
Mobile shopping consumer behavior
Four out of five US smartphone owners, use phone to help with shopping, according to Google/Ipsos (April 2011). A survey of 5013 US smartphone owners found:
➢ 79 percent use a smartphone to help with shopping and 70 percent use phone in store.
➢ Of those: 54 percent located a retailer; 49 percent compare prices to help decide; 34 percent search in-store inventory; 44 percent read reviews and product info; 46 percent called a retailer; 40 percent looked for promotions and discounts; 28 percent used a discount coupon on phone.
➢ 74 percent of smartphone shoppers have made purchase following research on phone.
➢ Of those: 76 percent purchased in store; 59 percent purchased on their PCs; 35 percent purchased on their smartphones; 27 percent purchased via a mobile site; 22 percent purchased through a mobile app.
➢ The average annual spend on mobile purchases was US$300.


M-coupons will dominate mobile retail marketing spend until 2013, according to Juniper Research (March 2010):
➢ Mobile retail will exceed US$12 billion by 2014 (mobile retail is defined as m-coupon redemption values, smart poster fees and advertising expenditure).
➢ The mobile retail sector would initially be dominated by coupons, but mobile advertising expenditure will exceed coupon redemption values by 2013
o The m-coupon service of McDonald’s Japan is used by 4.5 million users, according to Infinita (March 2010).
o The United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) (October 2010) plans to use m-vouchers to deliver food aid to 40,000 Iraqi refugees in Syria by the end of 2010 reported by MobileThinking.

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