The majority of the population doesn’t leave the house without a smartphone. Companies are taking advantage of this fact and putting more and more content on their smart companions. This includes coupons, which have been used for years in various industries. Mobile couponing is the magic word and means nothing other than the well-known coupon principle transferred to the smartphone. Although this also includes coupons sent out by e-mail, the focus is on discounts that reach customers via touchpoints such as messenger, SMS or apps.
Smartphones have become an indispensable part of our everyday lives. True to the motto “I won’t leave home without my smartphone,” we take it with us wherever we go. It is therefore understandable that companies are increasingly relying on mobile devices to communicate with customers. A true classic in customer loyalty is also beginning to feel the effects of this smart trend: the coupon. What used to reach customers by mail has now been replaced by e-mail. With mobile couponing, the successor to email couponing is now in the starting blocks. A study conducted by Valassis in 2018 showed that 36% of customers already prefer to receive coupons via SMS and Messenger on their smartphones. Both channels promise great potential here.
Sending coupons via SMS and Messenger: The advantages of mobile coupons
There are many good reasons to distribute coupons via SMS or Messenger, such as WhatsApp.
1. Addressing customers in a contemporary way
Messenger is not only contemporary, it has also become the most popular communication channel for users. Yes, there are people who don’t know what to do with chats, messengers or apps. But the generations that know this very well will account for the greatest purchasing power in the long term: 95% of 12- to 19-year-olds or even 85% of 45- to 55-year-olds use messenger services every day or several times a week. With these generations, direct mail and e-mail will not win them any pots of flowers in the future. A switch to channels other than e-mail and postal mail will therefore inevitably have to be made at some point in order to stay in touch with customers.
2. Higher attention on the customer side
Especially in the battle for the attention of end customers, the fact that this time everything is happening on a mobile device but outside the standard inbox can be a decisive factor for success. After all, we all experience how we are exposed to more and more advertising messages day after day. With the flood of newsletters, notifications, and spam that regularly land in German email accounts, it’s no surprise that the redemption rate of email coupons is only in the low single digits on average.
If a company does not send coupons by e-mail but uses the mobile number, it competes with significantly fewer competitors. For an SMS, the probability that the customer will read it is almost 100 percent. For a newsletter, if it survives the spam filter, the probability is just under 29 percent, according to a survey by one provider.
3. Increase in sales through higher redemption rate and return on investment
Anything that receives little attention is not remembered. Accordingly, vouchers are often simply forgotten instead of being redeemed. When coupons are sent via a channel other than e-mail, the chances of redemption increase significantly. The operator of a shopping center in Sweden, for example, increased the redemption rate of its issued coupons from less than 1% to 13.5% by switching to SMS.
Targeting potential customers reduces the size of the campaign, the total costs and the costs per conversion (= successfully redeemed coupon), because instead of sending out 10,000 coupons and hoping to persuade perhaps 0.5% of the recipients to make a purchase, 3,000 coupons are sent out, of which significantly more are redeemed.
4. Short-term sales promotion
A major advantage of coupon campaigns via smartphone over conventional campaigns is the simple and, above all, fast creation of the entire campaign. For SMS coupons, for example, some providers offer an online portal in which the mobile website can be branded, and the entire campaign set up with just a few clicks. All that’s left to do is upload the mobile numbers of the recipients and the voucher can be sent via SMS. The whole thing is no magic trick and can be done in less than 30 minutes – including shipping. There is no dependence on printers or suppliers, which makes mobile coupons particularly interesting for short-term campaigns.
5. Measurable successes
The link to be sent is usually generated individually for each user. This has the advantage that an accurate evaluation of the campaign can be made. Who received the message? Who clicked on the link, or who redeemed the coupon? With some systems, it is also possible to query this data in real time and thus directly check the success of the campaign. It becomes even more practical when the data is directly prepared in a dashboard.
6. Stronger customer loyalty
It’s no secret: If you offer your customers added value, you’ve already done a lot for customer loyalty. This has advantages for both sides. Loyal customers benefit from special offers, companies maintain their customer base, are recommended to others at best, and learn more about consumers.
The costs invested in campaigns are therefore money well spent – provided the campaign is well done and customers can benefit from it. A coupon that reaches a customer and cannot be used properly – because it comes through the wrong channel, because it is not well done, or because it is not understandable – creates costs and missed sales on the company side, while giving the customer a negative experience.
7. Reduced wastage
Especially in comparison to the still widespread direct mailings with entire coupon packages, there is a huge advantage: The addressed customers have so much interest in a company that they willingly provide their data (e-mail address or mobile number). This means that potential customers are actually within reach, in contrast to the scattergun approach used in postal mailings.
8. Resource and environmentally friendly
Switching from paper and plastic to digital means less energy is needed for production, less resources are consumed, and the overall impact on the environment is reduced. A topic that is also quite rightly gaining in importance for many end consumers in terms of customer loyalty.