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Mobile drives significant changes in coupon-related behaviors

(Posted on Sep 3, 2014 at 11:43AM )
The number of ecoupons redeemed by consumers is expected to double over the next three years, driven in large part by mobile, which is impacting how consumers search for, store and redeem offers, according to new research from Juniper Research.

Consumer behavior is evolving to incorporate online or mobile coupon search, resulting in a sharp rise in traffic to coupon sites and an increase in coupons being stored on mobile devices, per the report. However, food brands have, for the most part, failed to capitalize on the opportunity in digital coupons, according to separate research from L2.

“More and more, consumers lives are becoming interconnected with their smartphone device,” said Brian Hoyt, vice president of communications at mobile couponing app RetailMeNot. “Millions of consumers are walking around in their day-to-day activities with a computer in their pocket and use location-enabled mobile devices to quickly find more relevant, often personalized information to help them make better decisions.” 

Seamless redemption

Mobile coupons have been gaining steam for a several years but now seem poised to really take off thanks to the growing adoption of mobile and the way that consumers are increasingly integrating mobile into their everyday lives.

The number of ecoupons redeemed will top 31 billion in 2017, up from 16 billion this year, per Juniper Research.

Additionally, the merchants and third-party app developers involved with mobile coupons continue to make more coupons available on mobile while also fine-tuning how the coupons are delivered, stored and redeemed to make the process as seamless as possible.

Brands lag behind
However, many brands continue to lag behind when it comes to addressing the opportunity in digital coupons.

According to a recent report from L2, the majority of food brands have not realigned their coupon programs to meet the quickly shifting online and mobile needs of their customers.

 For example, while nearly 61 percent of the brands reviewed by L2 offered coupons on Amazon, only one out of three offered coupons on Walmart or Target. Even less distribute digital coupons on Peapod or FreshDirect and 25 percent of brands do not distribute digital coupons at all. 

A growing number of retailers, such as CVS and Walgreens, offer the ability for loyalty members to download coupons onto a loyalty card, but only 18 percent of brands push coupons to the CVS site and only 9 percent to the Walgreens site, per L2.

The food brands with the highest number of commerce partners for coupon distribution include Hormel, M&Ms and Dole.  

Mobile coupon search

Juniper predicts that while there will be some growth in print-at-home digital coupons, the increase in redemptions for digital coupons will be primarily driven through in-store, bar code-based redemptions and online redemptions.

Supporting the forecasted growth in digital coupon redemptions is an evolution in consumer behavior, with shoppers increasingly incorporating online or mobile coupon search prior to either remote or in-store purchases.

As a result, there has been a sharp rise in visits to the couponing section of retailer sites as well as to aggregator sites.
Consumers are also increasingly storing coupons on their mobile devices in a wallet such as Passbook, Samsung Wallet or Google Wallet and redeeming them at a later date.

One potential development that could boost digital coupons is if couponing platforms are integrated with leading social media platforms, providing an opportunity for targeted offers, per Juniper Research.

However, digital coupons face some hurdles, including a lack of scanning infrastructure at retailer point-of-sale.

Vibrant in-store experiences
The opportunities in mobile couponing are not going unnoticed.

The RetailMeNot coupon application this week unveiled an updated and redesigned app, with a more personalized savings experience on deals that are relevant to a user’s retailer or brand preferences. On the app’s home page, users can now access the top offers for their favorite stores, see what other offers are trending among the app’s users and find the best new deals of the day.

Other couponing apps continue to grow while new ones continue to hit the market.

One of the newest is BluePromoCode for iPhone, which provides a daily feed of coupons from users’ favorite stores. The app enables users to claim coupon codes, shop sales and download in-store coupons.

“Retailers and brands are in the early innings of this ball game when it comes to taking advantage of the mobile opportunity to drive traffic, brand awareness and sales through mobile marketing channels like the RetailMeNot app,” RetailMeNot’s Mr. Hoyt said. “There is a bigger opportunity than just serving retailers' e-commerce channels.  “Mobile offers also are making the in-store environment a more vibrant, relevant experience for consumers,” he said. “What was once a test and explore mentality with a small group of retailers wading into mobile offers is becoming an increasingly sophisticated omni-channel tactic within a retailer’s marketing toolkit to use services like RetailMeNot to drive sales.

  “Ultimately, retailers and brands want that sale to happen, and the mobile app helps increase the chance of a transaction with higher ROI both online and in-store.” 

Final Take

Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Marketer, New York

Reposted from Mobile Marketer