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Using Mobile Coupons for Retail and Beyond

Mobile Coupons are Highly Effective for Driving Purchases


According to a recent article by eMarketer, “Eight in 10 US adult mobile coupons users will redeem a coupon or code via their mobile device for online or offline shopping in 2015.”

Mobile Coupons, Mobile Ads, EMarketer Stat, Mobile Marketing, Retail Marketing, Retail Mobile Marketing, True Dialog SMS


Why You Should Care

If your business is in clothing, retail, electronics, gifts, grocery, restaurant, quick service, office supplies, or any other in-store services, then mobile marketing does and will continue to have an impact on your business. Mobile coupons and other mobile tools have the potential to really support the growth of your business – and a lack of using these tools could be a serious detriment. You can use mobile coupons in a number of ways:

  • text message coupons with a simple code (largest possible audience)
  • mobile website coupons (slightly smaller than SMS audience)
  • mobile coupons inside of a mobile app (smallest audience)


SMS mobile coupons are a no-brainer in my mind. These are the best of all worlds. You can deliver static or unique codes to your customers and prospective customers, include a URL if you prefer to use barcodes, and you can interact with customers directly throughout the process. A SMS coupon code could be a literal 5 to 10 digit code that is entered at check-out in the store or in your online store. If your point-of-sale system (POS) has very long and detailed codes, then you can include a link in the SMS message that goes to a dedicated webpage with a barcode and includes the offer details. I’ve tried it before, and I think it’s the best user experience.

The other thing I like about SMS mobile coupons is the possibility of interacting with a customer. You can send out a quick 1-question SMS dialog with multiple choice answers to figure out which coupon the customer wants the most. Then you’re delivering a highly targeted offer to your customer AND learning about his/her preferences and behaviors. If you integrate SMS into your POS and learn when he or she used the coupon, then you can even follow-up with the customer to see how things went with the purchase. BOOM! That is true customer relationship management.


Mobile Website Coupons can be a little tougher to grab attention, but like SMS mobile coupons can be highly effective. With SMS, you have a contact database so you’re pushing out a message to your customers and driving them to make a purchase. Without the SMS piece, you’ll need to find other ways to drive customers to your website / mobile website to find coupons.

You can use social media and email to drive contacts to a specific landing page on your mobile website where the coupon code is gated, after the prospect fills in contact information a dedicated code is provided. Yes, this does create a barrier to entry, but in the long-run you’ll want to know who is using coupons from your mobile website and gating the code is a great way to find that out. You can leave it open to the public, but then you’re depending upon your POS system to capture that data.


Mobile Coupons in Apps can also be a powerful tool, but the audience size is limited. If your business participates in a mobile app such as Yelp, Groupon, RetailMeNot, or ShopKick, then you are reaching a broader audience – which is great and highly useful. The limitations of mobile apps are technology, pricing and reach. While 92% of Americans own a cell phone, only 68% of those people have a smartphone (Pew Internet Research). That means that your mobile coupons are missing 32% of the population simply due to a technology barrier.

The technology barrier created by smartphone ownership also limits your audience. If you are seeking to reach an older population (over 65) or a less tech-savvy community with limited budgets, then your mobile coupons inside of an app will never be seen.

Depending upon your audience, needs, and technology, any of these tools can help your business. Consider each option and how you want to connect with your customers.


Mobile Coupons, mobile CRM, Restaurant Industry, Retail

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