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10pc of consumers driven in-store by mobile coupons: study

September 27, 2010

Mobile coupons are an effective way to drive consumers in store

Mobile coupons are an effective way to drive consumers in store

While still nascent, mobile couponing is becoming an increasingly effective way to bring people into the store and increase sales, according to InsightExpress.

When InsightExpress asked consumers if they have made a special trip to the store after receiving a mobile coupon, 10 percent admitted that they had. The 18-34-year-old age group seems to be slightly more inclined to make special trips, with about 20 percent reporting they have done this in the past.

“Consumers say that they want mobile coupons, but it’s still not a huge driver of purchases,” said Joy Liuzzo, senior director of marketing and mobile research at InsightExpress, New York. “When it’s roughly about 20 percent of folks receiving coupons, it’s still not enough of a driver for people to say ‘I need it now.’

“Brands and retailers can turn to limited-time offers, mobile coupons that are good from, say, 6 to 8, because what you want folks to do is get into the store,” she said. “There is not one technique we need to use for mobile coupons, but do not create a CRM list and send out a blast.

“Marketers need a way to appeal to consumers that actively want to find them via an app or texting in while in store, versus thinking about it beforehand—there are a lot of impulse buys, so why not give consumers an option to text in while in store or accessing coupons via an application, rather than blasting them out randomly.”

This data was gathered as part of InsightExpress’ second quarter 2010 Digital Consumer Portrait, a quarterly study of 1,000–1,500 United States consumers conducted since July 2007.

For the second quarter 2010, a total of 1,300 surveys were completed by a sample representative of the U.S. online population.

I’ve got a mobile coupon for that
Ms. Liuzzo said that while we may not be seeing a strong line between mobile coupons and driving special trips just yet, she is encouraged by the younger demographic trend as those tend to foretell eventual mass-market acceptance.  

Delivering mobile coupons presents a challenge.

Consumers can sign up to receive them, search for coupons themselves or text in while they are in the store.

Many consumers seem to prefer having coupons sent directly to their phone, but there are segments that prefer to search for the coupons on their own or text in as well.

What can retailers take away from this?

Ms. Liuzzo suggests that they continue to build an opt-in coupon offering but do not ignore other channels of coupon distribution on the mobile phone.

Get ready for the mobile shopper
The evolution of shopping has taken some interesting turns over the years.

From heading to the bazaar to haggling over prices, to hearing the tinker coming down the road, to walking around the mall, to browsing stores on a computer while wearing pajamas, the consumer’s experience with stores and purchasing has definitely shifted.

As much as things have changed, a couple of things have remained consistent, regardless of the shopping environment, per Ms. Liuzzo:

Consumers are looking for a deal.

This may be by using a coupon, comparison shopping between stores, or waiting for a sale to finally buy.

Shopping is social.

Even if done by oneself, shoppers are influenced by what other people are buying.

Whether it is peeking into someone else cart as they walk past or asking a salesperson what they have heard about a product, consumers are never far from another opinion.

When Internet shopping appeared on the scene, consumers adapted these behaviors to the technology, leading to an increase in online coupons, review/rating sites and word-of-mouth recommendations.

It took retailers a little time to figure out the best way to engage consumers in this digital environment but stores and brands have risen to the challenge.

Fast forward to today, mobile technology is more than just communication.

Consumers are experimenting and discovering ways the device can make their lives easier and forming new patterns of interacting with their environment, including with shopping.

Retailers are poised to have a chance to take the lessons learned previously and adapt to this next evolution of shopping.


Right by my side
Of upmost importance is the mobile phone’s close proximity to consumers while they shop.

In InsightExpress’ June 2010 Digital Consumer Portrait study, four out of five people reported using their mobile phone while they were shopping.

Ms. Liuzzo said that in comparison to other places where mobile phones are used, it is apparent that shopping and mobile are a natural fit. 


Who are these people?
Over the last few years, the profile of the consumer that is using mobile has moderated from the uber-techie to a look that is more representative of the general population.

However, when we look at the people who are using their mobile phone to help them with their shopping experience, an interesting profile appears.

Males, specifically between 25-34 years old, are the people that are using their phones the most to assist them with shopping.

InsightExpress did note a correlation to smartphone ownership as well, which only further cements the finding that these folks see the mobile phone as a way to remain connected and informed.

The mobile shopper
Based on InsightExpress’s findings, males ages 25-34 are using their mobile phones to confirm/justify purchases of products—getting reviews, checking for better prices, looking for coupons and using coupons they have already received.

They also use it for practical things such as looking for a recipe or comparing nutritional information.


When InsightExpress looked at male mobile shoppers, it saw a few things that distinguish them from the general shopper population, including the fact that 53 percent have a smartphone .

Male mobile shoppers overindex in coupon usage in the past month at the following types of stores:

 • Electronics store – 30 percent (general population 10 percent)

 • Clothing store – 33 percent (general pop. 15 percent)

 • Department store – 30 percent (general pop. 15 percent)

 • Service location – 16 percent (general pop. 7 percent)

Men are more inclined to go hunting for coupons. When asked preference for receiving mobile coupons: 

 • 51 percent said they would prefer to find coupons themselves via an application (28 percent of the general pop.) 

 • 39 percent said they want to text in to receive them at the store (27 percent for general pop.)

Mobile shopping has arrived
With all of this data, it is clear that not only is mobile a strong part of shopping behavior now but it also provides brands and retailers a relevant and simple way to connect with consumers while they are in the purchasing mindset. 

“People are used to having information at their fingertips while they’re shopping online, and now that we have a device that gives us access to that information while they’re in store, it only makes sense that mobile shopping is growing quickly,” Ms. Liuzzo said.

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Commerce Daily

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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