Seasoned bargain hunters, especially holiday shoppers, have long been adept at using scissors to clip coupons, but they are just now getting used to the concept of redeeming coupons via their mobile gadgets. What is clear though, is that increasingly people like doing so – and are even coming to expect that a retailer will be willing and able to offer coupons to them. Therefore it is in a small retailer’s best interests to make sure that they are ready to do so and have the ability to convert them easily at the point of sale.
One big advantage is that there is no need to invest in mounds of new technology in order to make your coupons easy to distribute and easy for your customers to use. The process is in fact rather simple, and can be broken into the following, easy to follow steps.
Step 1 – Creating Your Mobile Coupon
There are three types of most commonly used mobile coupon to choose from, with each coming along with its own set of pros and cons.
Text only coupons are easily created by utilizing the services of an SMS marketing company and a handful of email service providers are now offering the capability to create them as well.
Text only messages like these are best for reaching as many devices as possible. Not everyone has a smartphone yet (although it is coming close) but any phone can receive a simple text. On the downside, you will be limited to 160 characters to convey your message (think the length of a tweet).
Image coupons are advantageous as you can create them yourself with simple graphic design software, offering you far more control over the content. The disadvantage here is that although such coupons will display well over almost any mobile device (as long as you stick to a jpg or gif format) there will be no clickable links.
Web and App Based Coupons
Although these are harder to create as they are html based this type of coupon statistically performs best of all. They can contain clickable links, they can be embedded in a website (standard or mobile) and they can be utilized on other sites (Craigslist, eBay etc.) easily. Sites like Foursquare, Yelp and Google Places all offer the capability to craete such coupons if you so not want to use a dedicated service.
Step 2 – Make Your Coupon Easy to Redeem
In order to make using your coupons as convenient and straightforward as possible you should really offer at least one of the following redemption options:
- If you have a physical storefront offer customers the option of simply showing the coupon to a cashier at the point of sale.
- Offer direct links to products from within the coupon that include tracking code so that you can monitor how often the coupons are being used. You will also need to ensure that these links lead to a mobile friendly version of your site to ensure proper conversion.
- Offer a clickable, dialable link to phone based ordering within a web based mobile coupon.
- Include a coupon code unique to the mobile campaign that users can simply input at checkout.
- Include a social sharing feature in a web based coupon which will allow users to ‘pass the savings on’ to their social connections.
Step 3 – Maximize Distribution
Whatever type of mobile coupon you choose to use you need to try to ensure it gets into as many hands as possible:
- Mention the coupon on your social media accounts as well as on your own website.
- Build up a sense of exclusivity around the coupon (‘for mobile users only’) to encourage more downloads and opt ins.
- Contact ‘freebie’ and coupon sites and post your coupon there.
- Actively ask that your coupons be shared. You could even offer a little extra incentive for doing so.