Retail in Asia

In Trends

Taking Stock: Mobile marketing: Retail’s next frontier

This article, Mobile marketing: Retail’s next frontier, is a write paper provided by Honeywell. The article discusses the latest trend and solutions of mobile marketing,  mobile couponing and bar code scanners.

Retailers are constantly trying to attract new consumers. Through the use of traditional marketing methods (e.g, direct mailings, print coupons, advertisements, billboards, television and radio), information and promotions can be disseminated in the hopes of enticing the consumer to buy. The proliferation of personal computers and the internet has allowed for new types of marketing. Through promotional emails or website advertisements, a casual user can be immediately turned into a customer making an online purchase. Now, as mobile phones and mobile devices have become ubiquitous, they are also rapidly becoming a new platform through which retailers can increase their reach and interaction with consumers.

Advancements in bar code scanning technology, such as the emergence of area-imaging scanners that can read bar codes off of mobile phone displays, are now making it possible for consumers to receive and redeem coupons on their mobile phones via email or SMS/MMS messages. Retailers scan the coupon directly from the digital display of the consumer’s mobile device at the point-of-sale, which eliminates the need to carry paper print outs and ultimately increase customer satisfaction. These advancements provide retailer with new opportunities to engage with their customer base in real time, while saving costs and waste associated with paper coupons.

This new use of the mobile device is much more than just a "neat trick". Coupons are a time-tested and effective marketing tool. In the "Mobile Couponing Survey" conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Honeywell (December 2009), 86 percent of adults polled have redeemed traditional paper coupons from a newspaper or magazine and 65 percent of adults have redeemed electronic coupons from the internet or through email. The same survey showed that 46 percent of adults polled who own a mobile phone are at least somewhat likely to try receiving and redeeming bar coded coupons via their mobile phone. Jupiter Research estimates that by 2011, over USD7 billion dollars in sales will be generated by there billion mobile coupon.

Additionally, there is a significant increase in mobile coupon redemption rate when compared to their printed counterparts. While printed coupons are redeemed at a rate of 1 percent (according to CMS Inc, a coupon processing agent and promotions logistics service), Jupiter Research finds a 5 percent redemption rate for mobile coupons. In addition to the 500 percent increase in redemption rate, mobile coupons save on printing cost, and gives the retailer a positive image, of one who provides "green" marketing promotions to their customers. Attempting to take advantage of this phenomenon, Target made news in March 2010 as the first major retailer to deploy a nationwide bar-coded mobile couponing solution in all of its stores.

Customers interested in getting mobile coupons from Target must "opt in" by registering on their website or texting a keyword to the designated short code. Enrolled consumers will receive exclusive coupon offers once a month from the retailer.

To download the full article, click on the PDF attachment.

Taking Stock is Retail in Asia’s fortnightly column dedicated to showcasing opinions from experts in the retail industry.