Mobile Couponing: The next step towards customer loyalty in the stationary retail trade

Coupons – end consumers value them as a bargain guarantee, for the retailer they are an important instrument for customer loyalty. More than 18 billion of these shopping vouchers were last distributed in Germany. In times of smartphones and the like, especially the digital version has great potential: Mobile Couponing. According to experts, manufacturers use these coupon offers to reach younger target groups, particularly those who are keen to consume, including families. 

Diapers three euros cheaper, three shampoos at the price of two or 20 percent on baby food: Many manufacturers and dealers use coupons to attract customers with promotions like these. You use this marketing method to target new customers or to increase the repurchase rate of existing customers. Coupons have the advantage that the exact shelf or online shop price remains unchanged and the actual additional sales are measurable. This means that the brand manufacturer has transparent and calculable additional revenues and additional purchases. Dealers can also benefit from such promotions: “The retail trade profits significantly from the free sales promotion of the industry. In Germany, a total of more than 120 million euros was distributed by the clearing houses,” explains Christoph Thye, CEO of the Coupon Clearing House acardo group AG.

According to acardo, all major German retail chains such as Edeka, Kaufland, real, REWE, dm, Rossmann, including the discounters LIDL, Netto and Penny participated in coupon campaigns of the brand manufacturers in 2016. An average of 1.52 euros was thus discounted per redeemed coupon. Check-out coupons, shelf-coupons and print-at-home coupons have the highest redemption rates. Least vouchers are redeemed that were issued via newspaper advertisement or flyers.  The most frequent user groups include smart shoppers, younger target groups and families.

Mobile couponing still has a lot of potential

As online shopping is becoming more and more popular, it makes sense to use online vouchers – so-called mobile couponing. The retailer or manufacturer issues the coupons via an app – either his own or a coupon slot. The customer then redeems them at the store via smartphone or tablet. Especially for offers around baby and children’s equipment it is a logical thought because after all almost all parents have smartphones and belong to the class of the online-affine buyers. But: “At present, manufacturers are not yet using online couponing in the way that would be suggested by the media use of the target groups that can best be activated with coupon campaigns,” says Sahi Rahman, CMO at acardo group AG. There are numerous advantages here, such as data-based individualisation, low leakage loss modulation as well as consistent and maximum measurability and transparency from coupon issuance to redemption.

Above all, the technical implementation is a challenge

The main reason why there is still a lot of potential here is technology – especially at the POS.  The EHI Retail Institute has asked dealers about the main obstacles to the implementation of mobile couponing. For 47 percent of them it is insufficiently equipped cash registers, 33 percent complain that there is no uniform procedure for coupon redemption. 19 percent would like to see more widespread use of uniform coupon identifiers, such as the Global Coupon Number GCN which would simplify traceability and the targeted use of vouchers.  For companies that want to offer digital vouchers, the question arises as to which provider and appropriate technical approach to choose. Numerous service providers now offer solutions in this area and point to high redemption rates and the business success associated with them.

Rossmann bought 8,000 handheld scanners for Mobile Couponing

Companies in the field of baby and children’s equipment used these services at an early stage. As early as 2012, mytoys offered vouchers via the coupon platform Coupies that could be redeemed in all its German branches.  Baby Walz and ToysRUs followed a year later.  Dealers who rely on a completely independent solution for mobile couponing often need a high degree of initiative. This is illustrated by Rossmann’s example: two years ago, the company introduced digital vouchers. In the in-house app, customers are shown the latest offers from manufacturers whose products are available in the Rossmann range. Parents will find what they are looking for in the “Baby & Child” section. The vouchers can be redeemed at the store via a smartphone. In order to ensure that the reading process runs smoothly, an additional handheld scanner has been installed at 8,000 registers that recognizes coupons from the mobile phone. “The digitilisation at the POS is in full swing.  Smartphones not only change customer behaviour, but also classic processes in the stationary business,” says Raoul Roßmann, managing director and responsible for marketing and purchasing. “We are aware of this and have created a solution with the app that offers our customers and partners a high added value. “

And the customers appreciate it. After all, they are already used to online coupons from Internet shopping. And also the Cashback-coupons, where they take pictures of their receipt and get discounts from manufacturers, are well known. Pampers, for example, grants three euros discount on the next purchase. So it’s time to take the next step and set mobile couponing in stationary retail. But even some of the big names in the industry have only now recognized the signs of the times. Since the beginning of 2018, McDonalds has been offering an app that gives customers exclusive coupons to redeem in participating restaurants. Here, the Group focuses on the highest possible personalized marketing: In the future, offers are to be played out individually for individual user groups on the basis of the order history.



Image: pixabay


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