Ever since smartphones made their entry in the market, the entire retail shopping experience has undergone a massive facelift. Customers demand instant access to product and pricing information and expect to redeem offer coupons through their smart devices. Digital coupons are fast becoming a customer expectation and retailers who haven’t yet deployed a system of mobile redemption risk losing a large chunk of their business.
The Statistics Speak For Themselves
Couponing was first introduced by Coca-Cola in the US in 1887 as an innovative advertising strategy. With the advent of the Internet in the 90s, digital coupons came to the fore and consumers moved away from traditional paper coupons to smart digital couponing. Today, this has become a burgeoning phenomenon witnessing exponential increase in user adoption.
The days of print coupons are passé (a 2013 NCH Marketing Services survey reported a 17% decline in redemption rates of print coupons between 2011 and 2012) and by taking advantage of social and mobile technologies, you can implement strong digital couponing strategies and stay ahead of competition.
Digital Couponing – A Blessing For The Retail Industry
Digital coupons are fast gaining prominence among millennials mainly due to the proliferation of smartphones and the underpinning retail technology – almost every retail brand today has a mobile app to reach out to customers through their smartphones.
Current Trends Driving Digital Couponing Present Myriad Opportunities For Retailers
With mobile technologies bound to see advancements in the near future, digital couponing is slated to scale newer and far more innovative heights in the coming years. The introduction of smart apps like iPhone’s Passbook, NFC enabled payments, and loyalty gift coupon apps have made it convenient for retailers to push targeted offers directly into customers’ smartphones. Digital coupons can help give your business more market visibility and increase in-store footfalls and website conversions.
The current trends driving digital couponing hinge on the rapid mushrooming via social media. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter offer rich opportunities for retailers to cash in on the popularity of digital coupons through social-mobile marketing.
Leading retailers like Kroger, Safeway, and Target have been successful in launching significant digital coupon programs. Future-ready retailers are deploying advanced tools and technologies to integrate digital couponing into their in-store merchandising and marketing programs.
Promoting Customer Engagement Through Digital Couponing
Customer engagement is the core of retail marketing. Digital couponing strategies integrated with loyalty marketing initiatives can help brands build successful relationships with customers. Enabling customers to load their coupons into their loyalty cards will ensure heightened customer retention by adding more value to your current loyalty program. Another important strategy you can adopt is to reach your customers where they spend most of their time – online and on social channels. Location-based services can be a great boon in creating offers relevant to customers’ current location and facilitating instant redemption of mobile coupons.
The Future Of Digital Couponing Is SoLoMo
An integration of Social-Local-Mobile – popularly known as SoLoMo – is what will drive digital couponing going forward. Retailers are mobilizing marketing strategies to integrate their physical, online, and social platforms to attract and retain an active customer base which is increasingly going mobile. SoLoMo digital couponing strategies are getting more innovative and diverse by the day and are driven by:
- Fundamental social behavior like “liking” and “sharing”
- Smartphone adoption to search for location-based deals and offers
- Points redemption and availing shopping cart discounts either in-store or through social-mobile apps
Personalized Couponing Is There To Stay
At the core of any retail strategy is an unending effort to integrate personalization into product offerings. Digital couponing is not alien to this phenomenon. Rretailers are extensively utilizing data analytics to provide personalized, relevant coupons which factor in customer preferences of products, price, and redemptions, thereby targeting the right customer with the right offer at the right time. Leading supermarket chain Safeway has updated its ‘Safeway Just 4 U’ loyalty program by offering personalized digital coupons based on customers’ purchase history and buying patterns.
Digital couponing has witnessed a remarkable shift in strategy and execution over the years and given the fact that we are swiftly moving towards a paperless world, the future of retail businesses will lie in the palms of end consumers. Literally!