Put Down Your Scissors and Pick Up Your Phone
More than 42 million people in the United States own a smartphone, which means that they have the capability to receive media-rich information from companies and organizations. Some marketers have been wary to send information about their products or services to current and potential customers’ mobile devices, even though smartphone owners are requesting information about their favorite brands.
We don’t expect that hesitancy to last long. Mobile media company JiWire concluded that more than 50 percent of surveyed mobile users would like to receive location-specific advertising on their phones. Mobile users see this as a convenient way to find out about discounts and interesting offers on which they can easily act upon.
As location-based social networks like Foursquare continue to grow in popularity, more brands are offering discounts and incentives through the service. Gap, the worldwide clothes retailer, recently offered a 25 percent discount of a total bill if the shopper had “checked-in” to the store through Foursquare during his or her visit. Other national businesses like Starbucks are offering incentives for multiple, frequent “check-ins”.
Because of Foursquare’s natural tie to more popular networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, people have been adopting the service and also expecting to receive something in return for their brand interactions. In fact, Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley said the service has been rapidly spreading because users have requested that their favorite stores and organizations offer rewards and incentives.
Social media services are becoming more integrated with mobile device use, like Facebook creating their new Places offering. Platforms that integrate GPS technology advocate deals and rewards. Thus, the mobile coupon is something more users are being accustomed to.
The potential of mobile couponing is endless. Mobile couponing could grow through “geofencing,” which creates a signal that responds when a mobile user enters or exits a specific area. Going back to the Gap example, shoppers could receive a discount coupon on their phones by going through the “fence” at the store’s front door. The coupon could be sent at random or to every customer.
Mobile devices are also an excellent information source for expiring items. Imagine you own the local pizzeria and you want to get rid of a few extra slices leftover from the lunch rush. Sending a coupon to people within a few blocks of the restaurant for discounted pie may attract customers in to purchase the food, rather than throwing it out.
As smartphones become more widely used in varied demographics, reaching those customers on their handheld devices will become even more important. You competitors are thinking of ways to attract these mobile customers — so be the first and the most innovative.
(Thanks to MariSheibley for the photo.)
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