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How to Implement Mobile Coupons

How to Implement Mobile Coupons

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The marketer’s dream of a consumer walking by favorite retailer location and receiving a mobile coupon is upon us, but it’s still not that easy to implement. When building a mobile coupon campaign, there are several key considerations before you start pushing offers.

Coupon Management
Will the coupon that’s shown be an individual redemption unique per consumer or is there one universal coupon barcode for the entire campaign? For example, do you serve 100,000 total possible coupons or limit to the campaign redemptions to honor at max 100,000 coupons? When budgeting for your coupon campaign, it’s important to understand the distinctions. Using individual trackable coupon codes requires working with a coupon management vendor, but can keep your campaign budget from going viral from over-redemption. Once a manufactured coupon is out in the wild, limiting the number of redemptions or stopping the coupon from being posted around the web is not an easy dilemma. Coupon management vendors also offer additional security tolls such as geo verifying coupon redemptions by location.

Coupon Settlement
Who funds the discount? Having a coupon discount at the point of sale without properly drawing up an allotted budget, exposes your brand to lower total sales figures from the retailer perspective. It’s important to ask if you have to fund the coupon through your shopper marketing relationship at a specific retailer or if your coupon management vendor can also handle settlements. Manufacture clearing houses for mobile coupons don’t yet fully exist in the digital space as it does for print coupons.

Retailer Permission
Setting up a mobile coupon campaign that will work across retailers at the point-of-sale level is still a stretch. Mobile campaigns require the retailer to setup the discount within their individual POS whereas manufacturer coupons are accepted across all national chains. If you want to boost your sales numbers at a specific retailer such as Walgreens, as a brand you’re required to confirm the campaign first at Walgreens and then ask Walgreens to generate the unique barcodes that will work with their point-of-sale systems.

What the Funnel Looks Like
You can expect to see a 1-2% mobile click through rate (CTR) from mobile banner ads to a landing page with a coupon option. From on-site coupon views to in-store sales, the average redemption rate is around 20%. This is still 10x higher than print, mainly because of the proximity of displaying the coupon to the location of redemption. Coupons can also be distributed across all channels from mobile social media, emails viewed on mobile devices, mobile advertising, or saved in-app to Passbook.


The era of possibilities of mobile coupons is finally here, well beyond SMS offers of years past, but without the standardization required to make setup at point-of-sale redemption a painless process.