Using coupons for online shopping

This post is courtesy of guest writer Shane.

According to researchers, more than 25 million Americans use coupon apps monthly and mobile coupons are 10 times more likely to be redeemed than traditional ones. Suffice it to say that the coupon industry isn’t dead, and neither are companies like Groupon. Despite the upward trends, there is still a lot for retailers to do if they want to get the most out of couponing.

Mobile Coupon Breakdown

Couponing, like going mobile, is a lifestyle so it stands to reason that when it comes to devices, some customers will show preferences which may be useful to merchants. According to statistics from research companies like Nielsen and Emarketer among others, smartphone users are three times more likely to use shopping lists and claim coupons than tablet owners. Over half of all mobile shoppers get their coupons directly from retail sites versus using aggregate sites like Groupon or ChameleonJohn. That means retailers have excellent opportunities to gain customer loyalty right in their own back yard.

Speaking of loyalty, less than 10 percent of customers have replaced those offline loyalty cards with a mobile app and between 50 percent and 60 percent are interested in doing the same thing. There is also opportunity for merchants to send reminders to customers about available coupons through text, email or mobile apps.

How Social Media Affects Couponing

When it comes to social media, retailers can’t afford to ignore social networks like Facebook that can offer ample opportunities. Back in 2010, nearly a quarter of consumer indicated that they were on Facebook while researching or shopping online. In 2013 there still exists a prime opportunity for retailers to leverage local targeting even more. It’s no surprise that more than two thirds of consumers are more likely to buy based on positive referrals from friends. The trick for local retailers is to really invest in understanding the niche opportunities that social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest have to offer, and that takes time and money.

What Customers Look for

When it comes to couponing, there are some basic rules that must be addressed. Usability is a term that’s often associated with web design but when it comes to mobile coupons, it’s just as valid. If customers have to jump through hoops to access or use the coupon, it’s not going to work. The rules for accessing and using any coupon need to be straightforward and easy to understand; that includes shipping rules and return policies.

There needs to be a certain amount of flexibility as well. Having a coupon rendered invalid after a certain date is the standard model but offering customers the opportunity to secure a deal when the store is less busy may also be a viable option. Trying different redeeming models is a great way to understand and address customer needs so that they will continue to come to your store and bring friends.

The mixture of mobile, online shopping, and couponing is still evolving. Recent statistics show that men are now becoming more involved in the household coupon cutting. The term “Digital Dads” will become more a part of the conversation over the next three to five years as even more opportunities present themselves.


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