The days of clipping coupons, sorting them and remembering to bring them with you are soon to be over. Retail iPhone Apps are appearing that offer digital coupons in your pocket that are searchable, storable and most importantly redeemable.
Not so long ago subscribers were tried on mobile phones and were found to suffer from problems including difficulty to read due to different screen sizes and difficulties in redemption due to inability to scan. Time has passed and we now have upgrades in technology with great screen resolutions and adoption of two dimensional barcode scanners by retail outlets that permit scanning and redemption tracking through the retailers back-end data systems.
Integration with back-end MIS has the potential to leverage a consumer's purchasing and spending habits, so that when an item is on promotion or having a sale, such information can be sent directly to that consumer. This is an example of a targeted offer that expected would have higher redemption because it's personally relevant to the specific consumer. Such is possible when an app is integrated with mobile messaging and the consumer has opted in to receive such alerts and notifications. Once automated communications flow has the potential to be a serious revenue generator for retail operations.
The beauty of today's iPhone Apps is that they can be integrated into content management systems so that coupons and flyer content are updated in real time. Benefits to the consumer include the ability to go into a store and access current coupons and specials right there and then. This instant gratification capability has the potential to drive traffic to retail outlets and as well increase volumes while in the retail outlet itself.
Examples of retailers using mobile coupons, flyers and promotions include:
– Del Monte Fresh Produce Company
– H & M
There are also savings to the buyer in labor and printing costs where, staff no longer have to stock aisle, end of shelf and register locations with coupon and flyer material. Use of an iPhone App to accomplish these tasks, as well as saving on printing costs, is a positive green initiative that serves well to reduce the carbon footprint so evident in retail operations.
This is an electronic digital world for which retailers must embrace apps as a means of advertising and marketing so that they can take advantage of this new communications channel. This is a new form of media that is in everyone's pocket and with them 24/7. The channel offers a two-way communications mechanism with the consumer, and most importantly, permits real-time tracking of consumer behavior with the ability to make targeted offers.