It was only last week that I was standing third in the queue in my local grocery store, large, heavy shopping basket in hand, waiting for the small elderly lady at the front of the line to dig out all 30 of her paper coupons. Pockets, hidden bag compartments and purses were rifled through, 11 minutes were lost, and blood pressure rose to a dangerous level.
As I stood there, with my “10% off when you spend £40 or more in store” voucher code in email form, I wondered if the future of mobile couponing could swallow up this little lady, digest all her paper coupons and produce a lovely user-friendly app to save us all from insanity.
As with other mobile based commerce - such as ticketing, banking, and payments - mobile couponing is venturing into the big bad digital world. This is the type of app that people need. Not like the unusable Apple Passbook feature, but more like a place where we can gather all of our coupons, and search through them by store name in order to find the perfect 23 offers.
Not only would this app save future shoppers from the torture I had to endure, but it would also bring big benefits to participating stores: improved efficiency through having less paper to handle and account for, the settlement process will be faster, customer acquisition costs lower, and no more fits of coupon rage.
There are also the environmental advantages, especially considering the sheer volume of paper coupons used. Mobile coupons can also increase customer engagement, drive retail footfall, and facilitate targeted offerings.
We are currently teetering on the edge of digital couponing, but the multitude of benefits to businesses means that many brands and retailers will facilitate mobile coupon delivery and redemption within the next few years.
In the near future, the elderly lady should be able to unsheathe her shiny underused smartphone, and hold her digital Sainsbury’s voucher high with pride and understanding. In the near future, we will all be able to pass queues without acquiring serious blood pressure problems. You win, technology!