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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The Dongle

Over the last two days we have highlighted how a smartphone is changing the game for people globally by providing easy access, 24x7x365 to information that is relevant to your life, your shopping, your health, interests and breaking news.

Did you know that the average shopper used 10.4 sources of information to make a decision in 2011, up from 5.3 sources in 2010?  Those 10.4 sources range from TV commercials and magazine articles, to recommendations from friends and family, to websites, ratings and blogs online.   www.zeromomentoftruth.com.

But I digress.  Today we are talking about dongles.  Technology folks have such interesting terms.  A bug for example – not good.  Some bugs are good, but not in technology.  Plus they have so many acronyms like SOAP, AJAX etc.  No, not kitchen cleaners.  And this brings us to the dongle.  What exactly is a dongle?  According to Dictionary.com a dongle is a hardware device attached to a computer without which a particular software program will not run: used to prevent unauthorized use.

Well, let’s see how a dongle is being used by an awesome new company called Squarewww.squareup.com.  Square transforms your smartphone into a mobile payment device that can be used by businesses and consumers to collect payments from a customer by swiping their credit cards through the dongle and integrating with Square’s very cool and user friendly application that of course if easily downloaded from the app stores to your mobile device.

Yes, Easy and Very Cool!

Good for business – you bet.  Sales can now be made without the high fees and long term contracts that come along with traditional credit card processing.   How about as an individual.  Having a yard sale this weekend – you can now accept credit cards as well by using the personal Square version.  Very cool.  You can visit www.entrepreneur.com for a great article on mobile payment systems.

There are a number of other companies in this space such as Pay Anywhere and Swipe.  The traditional credit card companies are working on alternative payment programs.  And of course, given the power of your smartphone, there will be a day when that is all you will need to make a payment.  We don’t need no stinking credit cards!

Let me know what you think by commenting below.

Have a great day!

Webman