Everyone loves a bargain. That's why the coupon industry thrives in good times and bad. There is a core constituency of bargain-hunters no matter what the economic climate, but coupon use tends to skyrocket during downturns as consumers seek new ways to stretch their budgets. The current economic doldrums are no exception. Recent surveys indicate that coupon redemption rates are up 16 percent.
In the midst of the latest surge in coupon usage, the couponing industry is undergoing a fundamental shift that is changing the way consumers access discounts in profound ways. The change began with a shift away from printed coupons and toward mobile coupons. The shift is continuing with the rise of proximity advertising, which enables coupon and marketing-message delivery within sight of the point of sale.
The evolution from paper to mobile coupons is a good thing for consumers, marketers, and the environment. And new developments in mobile coupons delivered with proximity marketing technology promise additional benefits for both consumers and merchants.
Coupons You Don’t Clip, Sent to Your Cellphone
Mobile coupons -- discounts delivered online and accessible via mobile devices for point-of-sale redemption -- are experiencing explosive growth across all demographic sectors. Daily deal mobile coupon services like Groupon and LivingSocial are leading the charge, allowing consumers to sign up to receive offers for discounts on goods and services in their local area. According to Juniper Research, total mobile coupon redemption value -- which topped $5 billion in 2003 -- will grow to $43 billion in 2016.
Unlike paper coupons, mobile coupons are distributed electronically, so the production and distribution process consumes far few resources and has negligible environmental impact. Mobile couponing also more efficiently targets consumers since it is generally permission-based, meaning consumers opt-in to receive offers and services that are relevant to their interests.
The demographic for mobile couponing also tends to skew younger and more affluent, making mobile-coupon users an attractive target audience for brands of all types. In addition to the demographic allure of mobile couponing, the digital nature of the medium increases the coupons' potential to generate new business since users can easily share coupons with family and friends.
Permission-based mobile couponing is far more efficient than traditional couponing since it virtually eliminates production and distribution costs. It also more effectively targets consumers, reaching audiences who have already expressed their interest by signing up to receive offers. However, mobile coupons delivered via proximity advertising are poised to take mobile couponing to a whole new level.
The shift from traditional print coupons toward mobile coupons is well underway, and proximity advertising is a growing sector that holds great promise. The transition toward mobile messaging is a win-win-win situation:
Mobile couponing and proximity advertising deliver a win to consumers by providing savings opportunities and relevant offers at no charge, and in close proximity to the point of sale. Proximity advertising delivers an additional advantage by providing interactive tools that allow consumers to give feedback, get directions to locate merchants, view product details, and gain instant access to loyalty program rewards.