Many of you have likely seen that Target recently announced the launch of their mobile coupon program, enabling consumers to view and redeem coupons using their mobile phone. While it will take some time to determine the relative success of this initiative, one thing is certain - the roll-out of mobile coupons by a large retailer such as Target will help to push Mobile Coupons into a mainstream adoption phase for consumers. Hopefully, the user experience is positive since it will no doubt influence consumer perceptions of mobile coupons in general. Other retailers will no doubt follow suit and roll out their own mobile coupon solutions in the coming months. Not all though will be as extensive as what Target has rolled out. Target has in essence created their own coupon 'site', whereby their customers will browse a specific mobile site for Target coupons. The customer will select a specific coupon and redeem it by allowing the cashier to scan the barcode from their phone. This type of solution may make sense for a large retailer such as Target since they carry a large variety of products and brands. Therefore, there can be a large number of coupons available to choose from.
Most merchants however, will likely put out only a few coupons each month, and therefore do not need such an elaborate mobile coupon solution. These retailers should consider mobile coupon aggregators such as Coupious, or Clip (in Canada). These are mobile coupon applications that allow you to search for coupons across a variety of merchants. The application will allow you to search for offers within the vicinity of a specific location, and also allow you to apply filters on the type of merchants you are looking for. The coupon can be saved for future use, or redeemed, in which case a certain code will be produced for presentment to the merchant. For most retailers or merchants, these types of aggregators present a great opportunity to offer mobile coupons that are managed completely by the merchant (in terms of timing, the offer itself, and validity) through an online interface. Furthermore, the merchants are given access to reports that allow them to determine if they are achieving their objectives in terms of number of impressions etc. - an important aspect of mobile marketing.
I recently downloaded the Clip application on my iPhone and was quite impressed by its ease of use. There aren't a ton of merchants within the Toronto area at this point, but I can see myself making use of the application and the coupons as more merchants are brought on.