It’s always good to lift our eyes to the horizon and check out what is coming over it. For enterprise mobile app developers, this is it and it’s moving fast: Mobile coupon support. A recent study by Juniper Research forecasts that mobile coupon redemptions will top $43 billion within five years, which amounts to something like an eight fold increase over today’s numbers. This is a key development for brick-and-mortar retailers, and is the lifeline that may help drag them back across some of the ground they’ve lost to online competitors.
The simple fact of the matter is that people like to shop. They like to see and feel the things they buy before they make purchasing decisions. They like to do the ‘passeggiatta’ in the mall on a cold windy day. The intelligent use of mobile coupons is turning out to be a solid, reliable way of getting them back, particularly when coupled with advances in data science that make it possible to target specific tailored incentives and for merchants, restaurants and service providers to partner in deal making. In a way, retailers are coming a little late to this party. The travel industry figured it out a decade ago: People who buy airline tickets also book hotel rooms and rent cars. Likewise, people who shop on Saturday will probably eat lunch around noon, and by five may be entirely susceptible to a nice offer on a pedicure or a late matinee.
Given the documented success of location aware mobile couponing, enterprise mobile developers can expect to see it take up a strong position on executive wish lists soon. Here are a few talking points to have in hand when working to develop a strategy for using this marketing tool to best advantage:
• Juniper and analysts have found that it is very important to treat your mobile customers to coupons only on an opt-in basis. Sending unwanted promotional material to a customer’s mobile device can be very alienating and destructive to brand reputation.
• Make early evaluations of how data science can help target promotions, based on purchase history, demographics, behavior patterns and the like.
• Start small, but don’t postpone getting started. This is a real phenomenon and may well eclipse many other forms of customer engagement.
• Don’t forget the social media piece. Location aware coupons’ effectiveness can multiply when customers broadcast your deal to their social networks