When It Comes to Couponing, Customers Want Options


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Consumer engagement takes many forms. The lowly discount coupon has been much maligned over the years as retailers have struggled to adopt strategies that both compel consumers to take action and minimize the potential for pass-along and multiple use.

Today, though, technology is breathing new life into a consumer marketing strategy that has been employed by retailers for years. Almost gone are the days of physically clipping coupons from mailers or magazines.

Nowadays, coupons are widely delivered electronically in forms that range from email, to text message, to mobile apps and more—and with built-in security safeguards that can ensure single use by a specifically intended recipient.

With so many options available to retailers to get their coupons in the hands of consumers ready to respond to their special offers, what works best?

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers. Today’s consumers are dramatically different from each other and so are their preferences for how they like to access these offers. Recent consumer loyalty research based on responses from 1,287 consumers spanning various age groups, demographics and geographies, sheds some light on these preferences and the mobile coupon platform options retailers should consider to get the best results.

Top Turnoffs for Today’s Consumers

First, a look at what consumers don’t want to see in discount offers; the most common gripes cited by consumers include:

 Rewards that expire before they can be used (31%)
 Not knowing when rewards are available (23%)
 Needing to carry a physical card to take advantage of offers (14%)
 Finding it difficult to access their rewards information (13%)

Their comments overwhelmingly point to the complexities associated with accessing and using the special offers they’ve received. That drives down engagement—and revenue.

What matters most is easy, simple access. That makes sense. After all, if consumers aren’t able to access their coupon offers easily, they’re not very likely to use them.

Consumers Want Convenience and Choice

For retailers seeking mobile marketing solutions most likely to resonate with busy consumers, a combination of convenience and choice is critical. Convenience to provide the access that consumers demand and choice to ensure that the broad range of individual consumer preferences is addressed.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution or consensus around the preferred method for accessing rewards. While text message marketing has a commanding lead—what with 37% saying their preference is a link in a text message delivered via smartphone—plenty of consumers express other preferences for obtaining coupons:

 A mobile app accessed via smartphone (28%)
 Website access from a computer (19%)
 A digital wallet accessed via smartphone (13%)

Forego even one of these options and retailers risk missing out on sales.

Consumers Cite their Preferred Method for Accessing Rewards Programs | Source: CodeBroker

Strategies to Boost Coupon Redemption

In fact, where consumers are located and what they’re doing when attempting to use a coupon can also influence preference. For example, when engaging in some online shopping while at work, visiting a retailer’s website to access an offer may work just fine. When in-store, however, the ability to quickly access the offer via a mobile app or digital wallet would be preferable.

While some consumers and new customers may be willing to tell retailers what their preferred coupon communication channel is during a sign-up process, in many cases marketers simply don’t know the communication method preferred by individual members.

The solution? Retailers can use a mix of mobile marketing strategies designed to meet multiple consumer preferences that retain consistency in messaging across channels, and provide easy access.

Mobile coupon software solutions can provide the flexibility to vary offers and channels, and track results to fine tune strategies for the future.

The bottom line: for the broadest reach, coupon offers must be accessible to consumers through several mobile channels (i.e., the omnichannel approach) to appeal to each individual consumer’s preferred method of access.

Dan Slavin
Dan Slavin is CEO and co-founder of CodeBroker, a leading provider of mobile marketing solutions that help retailers convert shoppers into buyers. He was CEO of Framework Technologies, VP of Open Market, and CEO of International Testing Services. He earned a BSin Electrical Engineering from Yale and an MBA from Harvard. His articles have appeared in Retail Touch Points, Retail Customer Experience, CommPro.biz, and Street Fight.


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