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Business - Written by on Thursday, March 11, 2010 8:56 - 1 Comment

Laura M.  Carrillo
Will you use Target’s mobile coupons?

As we all know, mobile phones offer much more than talking and texting these days. As anyone with an iPhone or any smart phone knows, there are thousands of applications available to conduct transactions on your phone. Yesterday, Target announced that anyone with a web-enabled mobile phone can access and use their coupons in the store.  Target claims to be the first major retailer to offer these digital bar-coded coupons at stores nationwide. Per Target, the coupons:

allow guests to receive exclusive offers directly on their mobile phones. Coupons are redeemed by scanning a barcode on the phone at checkout.

Customers are able to opt-in to the program three ways: via PC at Target.com/mobile, on their phone at m.target.com or by texting COUPONS to 827438. The coupons are for one use only and expire on the date listed, similar to paper coupons.

The technology to make offers and bar codes available on a phone is not the issue, it’s the infrastructure required in each store to be able to scan and record the data. This is where the major investment is, and why things like mobile coupons have not been introduced sooner. In other parts of the World people can use their “mobile wallets” to get food from a vending machine or to scan and gain entry to a public transit system. North America still has a lot of infrastructure to put in place in order for this level of mobile use to be more widely available.

A couple questions about the mobile coupons:
1. How will Target deal with stores that have “dead spots.” If your web-browser isn’t working how can you access the coupons for checkout? Can you download and save the coupons/barcodes on your phone directly or is a connection required?
2. Why isn’t anyone talking about the green benefits here? This option should cut down on paper use and if other stores transition coupons and things like loyalty cards to a mobile platform there could be a huge cost savings for them as well as a great environmental benefit for the rest of us.
3. Will people use them? I would think that having them more easily accessible on your phone would mean that more coupons get redeemed. I am curious to see if there is an uptick in use or any research that suggests better sales from this program.
4. What do you think? Do you currently use mobile coupons? Would you use mobile coupons? I just signed up and look forward to testing it out.

1 Comment

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Mar 16, 2010 16:25

Great list of questions, Laura. Check out this post by someone who signed up for the coupons then wrote about his experience: http://lunchpail.knotice.com/2010/03/15/target%E2%80%99s-rocky-mobile-start/

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