Getting the Deal – Part 2

The convergence of the coupon and your smartphone is about to happen…….

In part 1, we reviewed many of the “terrestrial” based coupons that are available today through traditional print mediums (Newspapers, FSI‘s, direct mail, in-store, etc.).  Those where we must clip or cut a physical coupon and present it at the point of purchase.  We also discussed the plethora of digital/on-line coupons available; yes they are on-line but most of these still require a printer and are redeemed at the point of purchase in the traditional way.

With nearly 50% of the US enabled with smartphones we are on the precipice of an incredible transformation through the range of applications and capabilities on your smartphone, both domestically and globally.  Innovative companies such as Starbucks have now connected your point of purchase behavior and the capabilities of your smartphone.  Their smartphone application was only one part of this connective tissue.  In order to enable this coupon/purchase card capability at the point of sale, they needed to replace their scanning technology to make sure that these capabilities worked right every time.

For coupon redemption via smartphones in grocery and other retail outlets to become a reality, it is critical that the process and the technology is aligned at the point of sale.  Most scanners in grocery stores cannot read a bar code displayed on the screen of a cellphone.

“Couponing has been one of the tried and tested tools to incentivize consumers to try our products,” said P&G’s VP of Global Business Development Jeff Weedman. “Ads around the world have moved digital but there was a hole in the system. You can deliver coupons digitally, but frankly our customers weren’t happy about it. It doesn’t scan at most grocery scanners and it slowed the system down because the check-out person would have to plug-in the numbers manually.”

One company that is working on this specific opportunity is Mobeam.  www.mobeam.com – In October, Cupertino, Calif.-based Mobeam raised $4.9 million in capital to solve this exact problem, by converting the bar code data into a beam of light that can be read by most scanners found at the check-out counters.  They are still early in the process, but it is apparent that our point of purchase behavior around using coupons is about to change radically.

Enjoy the ride and the savings!

Let me know what you think about this blog by commenting below.

Have a great weekend.

Webman

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Getting the Deal – Part 1

Ah, the coupon.

As consumers we are always looking for a deal.  When the economy was better, many of us were not as diligent as we could have been and might not have been actively seeking coupons as a part of our everyday lives.  Given the downturn and the hardships faced by many of us today, a growing number of folks have made couponing an integral part of stretching our budgets and making ends meet.

Managing Your Budget

On TLC, there is a show called Extreme Couponing where people have made this their full time job.  They really take this seriously and some folks are saving hundreds and even thousands of dollars a month.  Can you believe it?  A televised show on extreme couponing as well as the supporting web-site http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/tv/extreme-couponing, tips, social communities and other advice on how to maximize our savings through the use of coupons.

We are all very serious about saving  money. The days of paying bust out retail are past.  Regardless of how much money we make, our society has been transformed by the economic conditions, our lack of confidence in leadership and the ever changing global political landscape that impacts our daily lives at the gas pump, grocery store and overall cost of living.

Coupons can be found everywhere.  Coupons have been distributed through newspapers forever and can be found everyday in the printed paper as well as the traditional FSI‘s (free standing inserts) found in your Sunday newspaper from companies such as Valassis and NewsAmerica.  Many of us receive a weekly package in our mail box from Valassis/Red Plum, Val-Pak and other companies that provide us with grocery and neighborhood coupons.  When you check out at a grocery store, you are often presented with a receipt that is loaded with additional coupons from the retailer, the product manufacturer or local businesses.  These coupons are provided to you by Catalina in many cases.

Upon entering a grocery store we are bombarded with ways to access coupons or use new technologies to save money or be presented with deals on products we may or may not be interested in purchasing.  We can join a loyalty club, swipe our card and get money off automatically without showing any coupons.  We can use in-store scanners to be presented with coupon alternatives on products we have purchased or on related products somewhere else in the store. When we choose an item from the shelf, many times we are presented with an option to grab a coupon right there for that or other products.  There are also many other kiosks that can be used to access in-store coupons.

Digital coupons are also very prevalent.  We can  go up to any number of sites to download coupons.  Some of these sites are www.coupons.com, www.savingstar.com, www.savings.com, www.couponcabin.com and many, many others.  All of our favorite retailers provide coupons on their sites. We can access deals from companies like GroupOn and LivingSocial that provide smoking hot deals, provided the minimum number of participants are met.

When we purchase on a web-site today, we are always presented with the option of entering a promotional code.  If e do not have one, we can quickly search for one on-line, plug it in and get a discount on that purchase.  This has become just a standard part of our purchase process on-line.

Most of the in-store retail coupons still require a paper coupon for scanning.  The reason for this is that most scanners cannot yet effectively read the bar code from your smartphone.  One retailer, Starbucks, has created an application that enables you to use your smartphone to pay for your coffee.  In order to make this work in-store however, they needed to replace all of their scanner technology.  It is a great app and demonstrates where we are going with mobile payments and convenience.

Tomorrow I will give you a peak at what is happening with couponing on your smartphones.

Let me know what you think about this blog by providing your feedback below.

Have a great day.

Webman