Couponing: More Mobile, More Gratifying

January 27, 2010

When the Apple Tablet is unveiled today, the future of couponing could become clearer.

When the Apple Tablet is unveiled today, the future of couponing could become clearer. Already, people who used to hate coupons when they could only clip them from newspapers and magazines now love them in digital form.  

Coupons from websites and coupons sent to cellular phones and PDAs are already the rage of a growing tech-savvy population. ‘Help me save through my mobile phone’ is the mantra of many in 2010. E-coupons might account for only 1%-2% of all coupons distributed, but their redemption rates (and consumer purchase intent) are far higher among their users.

Just as food marketers (Kraft, for one) have flocked to build iPhone apps in support of their brands, they’ll be looking closely for opportunities to tie in with the Tablet. We believe they could find ways to make coupons more accessible, secure, interactive, dynamic or intelligent – perhaps even sending data back to companies about the redeemers.

If all of this happens, in our view at, it will serve as a bridge to even cooler couponing techniques in 2010 and beyond. One possible example: a TV watcher sees an appealing commercial for a brand. An icon pops onto the screen during the commercial, and the viewer punches that icon number onto his or her cell phone, PDA, iPhone, Droid or Tablet (or maybe even the laptop or PC). This instantly downloads a cents-off coupon onto the mobile device of choice that can be scanned at the store checkout. Immediate gratification!

This could happen pretty soon. Brands are tiring of old media. In this economy, even Super Bowl stalwarts like Pepsi have backed out of the big game. They’re looking for more direct ways to influence consumer purchase and heighten ROI. Mobile looks increasingly like an inviting path to purchase.