Mobile Coupons - How SMBs Can Take Advantage

Digital coupons present substantial opportunity for business growth helping to attract new customers and improve the loyalty of existing customers. In fact a recent white paper produced by Forrester in concert with RetailMeNot, explores the value of digital coupons and the impact they can - and will - have for a businesses bottom line. Supporting data was compiled by Forrester and included interviews with 500 digital coupon using consumers as well as in-depth interviews with eCommerce and marketing leaders at four large U.S. retailers and one large U.S. based restaurant chain.

The Benefits of Mobile Coupons and Digital Discount Codes

There are a variety of benefits to offering mobile coupons to consumers, including their ability to spur people to try a new brand and to increase spending both in stores and online. Survey results indicate that 47 percent of shoppers are likely to try a new brand if they receive a coupon on their smartphone while in a store, and 36 percent state they are likely to switch brands in the same scenario. Additionally, more than half of smartphone users who redeemed digital coupons spent more than they had planned on, with nearly 50 percent of those individuals spending between $26 to $50 extra.

Coupons are also often the tipping point in getting consumers to make a purchase and can also help reduce online shopping cart abandonment. In fact, 59 percent of people note that a digital coupon or online discount is the thing that is most likely to influence a purchasing decision. Further, since coupons and deals have expiration dates, people tend to use them immediately or as quickly as possible. About 50 percent of people who received a digital coupon used it immediately or within hours of receiving it, and approximately one-third used the coupon within days.

Another reason to offer digital discounts is because they improve brand loyalty as well as brand perception. Survey results indicate that more than two-thirds of respondents feel that coupons generate loyalty, and 68 percent believe it increases brand awareness.

Mobile Coupon Use

As the number of people who make purchases online increase, the number of individuals using coupons for discounts grows as well. In a survey of 500 consumers, more than three-quarters of participants made at least one online purchase in a three month period, and 86 percent of those individuals have used a digital coupon. Email is still the leading way that people obtain digital coupons, but an increasing number of shoppers are also turning to mobile apps, retailer and coupon sites and search engines.

Social media is at the bottom of the list, with only 19 percent of computer users citing social media as a source of digital discounts. About half of people are either neutral on getting coupons via text messages, but the other half have a negative opinion of this practice. If and when deploying a mobile coupon strategy that relies on SMS, it’s highly recommended that this be a specific opt-in as customer sentiment on receiving unwanted text messages could do more harm than good, even if there is an offer attached.

Businesses should definitely tailor offers to mobile devices because 60 percent of individuals under the age of 35 have used a smartphone to redeem a mobile coupon, indicating that the future of discount redemption will be a mobile centric one.

The Importance of In Store Redemption

Interestingly enough, even though digital coupons almost always offer people the ability to buy online, people still routinely enjoy visiting physical locations and interacting directly with merchandise. While 40 percent of people say that they prefer to do their shopping online, 50 percent say that they are more likely to visit a store after receiving a coupon. Additionally, half of those who prefer to use smartphones to receive digital coupons prefer to redeem them in stores.

This means that businesses have to ensure that discounted products are available in sufficient quantities online and in stores, and employees must be familiar with digital offers and make the redemption process at checkout smooth and easy. In spite of the fact that many smartphone and tablet users are adopters of new technology, 85 percent of users relied on assistance from a store employee to scan a or redeem a digital coupon.


Consumers appreciate value. And, in today’s increasingly competitive shopping world with more and more price conscious consumers, retailers would be wise to investigate and deploy mobile couponing strategies that work for their individual business. New technologies make it easier for the retailers and consumers are beginning to expect to be either incented or rewarded for their purchase.