Mobile for Retail: Going Mobile
Will 2010 finally be the year of mobile commerce? While mobile has been the "next big thing" for at least the last five years, 2010 may actually be a banner year for the platform. Smartphone and iPhone usage has soared, and even older adults use phones to check the stock market, find the best deals at the grocery store and price insurance policies.
Smart retailers are taking notice and creating mobile applications and websites to meet the needs of increasingly savvy consumers. J.C. Penney, Domino's and Starbucks, for example, are in the thick of it, testing programs such as mobile coupons, messaging, purchasing and payment.
A recent Deloitte survey found that 57 percent of consumers are interested in receiving coupons on their phones. What's more, redemption rates are 10 percent to 20 percent and higher. That's a far cry from traditional paper coupons, which average less than 1 percent.
J.C. Penney is one retailer interested in mobile coupons. Last fall, in an effort to retain existing customers, build brand awareness and acquire new customers, the cross-channel retailer began testing a service whereby consumers could download and carry coupons on their mobile phones to be scanned directly from the phones' screens at registers. Scanners able to read these 2-D barcode coupons were deployed at point-of-sale registers in 16 J.C. Penney stores in the Houston metro area.
Domino's and Caribou Coffee also added mobile coupons to their marketing mix last year, and direct mailer Valpak is bringing its brand of local offers to the iPhone.
Location-aware coupons, which allow retailers to deliver targeted mobile coupons or advertising based on customers' current locations, are starting to take off for retailers as well, but they're in the early stages. Diners, for example, can sign up at restaurant directory Restaurant Zoom to receive exclusive coupons and offers keyed to their geographic locations.