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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : October 29, 2010

M:Coupons: An answer for mobile revenue?

Not necessarily, at least according to one industry expert. Jeff Weidauer, Vice President of Marketing and Strategy with Vestcom says that mobile coupons are good, but they are not the solution to revenue issues. Read on for BizReport's Q&A with Weidauer.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: "Coupons have experienced tremendous growth in the last couple of years. Given this success, why do you believe they are not the right thing to do?"

Jeff Weidauer, VP of Marketing and Strategy with Vestcom: "Putting coupons on a mobile device is missing the point, as well as the opportunity. The fact that the vast majority of adults never go anywhere without their phone--and increasingly, their smartphone--provides an opportunity for marketers to engage with them in ways they have never been able to do before."

Kristina: "But there are those in the industry who point to higher incremental sales and redemption rates. What do you say to that?"

Weidauer: "That is partly true. While coupons do theoretically drive incremental sales, there is little evidence to support their long-term affect on shopper loyalty. They really are no more effective than a TPR (temporary price reduction). Coupons--whatever form they take--are not strategic. They are tactical and transactional, by definition, and are a short-term way to buy sales that does little for the brand in terms of loyalty. [In] most cases digital coupons sent to shoppers' mobile phones present a new logistical problem: How do you redeem them at checkout? If the coupon in question is a barcode on the screen (which many are), that means the shopper must hand over her phone to the cashier. A shopper isn't really going to want to that, and the cashier isn't going to be thrilled either about having to handle all those phones all day. And how do I handle multiple coupons?

Kristina: "What is the right way to get offers to shoppers via their mobile device?"

Weidauer: "The first step is to back up a level or two; stop thinking in terms of mobile, and look at the bigger picture, the overall marketing strategy. If you're thinking about developing a mobile strategy, stop. Instead, think about the overarching marketing strategy, and then look at mobile as you would any other medium. But consider mobile as a touchpoint that offers an always-on, always-connected way to engage shoppers and provide information to influence and guide the purchase decision. That doesn't mean go develop and deploy an app--unless that app has a clearly defined role in your go-to-market strategy, enhances the engagement with the shopper, and ideally provides back-end data on shopper behavior that can be tied to transactional history."

Kristina: "Are shoppers ready for that?"

Weidauer: "Absolutely. Shoppers are already using their ability to connect anytime and anyplace to make purchase decisions. They are way ahead of retailers in their sophistication and will reward marketers who enable this behavior. And those marketers who both enable and reward mobile use will learn more about their customers, allowing them to more effectively engage them. That is the opportunity--deeper engagement with shoppers that drives beneficial behavior and which both the shopper and the retailer find value in."

Tags: ecommerce, mcoupons, mobile coupons, mobile marketing, mobile shopping, Vestcom

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