Mobile Matters


Can Location-based Mobile Coupons Overcome Privacy Concerns?

by: | October 12, 2011

Giving the people what they want is a lot easier said than done. As often as not, the people don’t even know what they want—or, at the very least, they don’t understand what it takes to get it. Case in point: Location-based mobile coupons. Two-thirds of U.S. smartphone and tablet owners say location-targeted mobile offers and discounts are very convenient and useful, according to a survey conducted in late September by Prosper Mobile Insights—only about 10 percent of consumers see little or no value in mobile promotions, and the remainder of respondents are neutral on the subject. But here’s the catch: Almost half of customers express strong reservations about giving up the location-specific data necessary to receive targeted offers. You can’t have it both ways, of course—either you allow location tracking or you don’t. It’s like expecting your favorite pizzeria to deliver dinner to your door but refusing to supply your street address.

There’s no need for merchants to panic, however. It seems inevitable that consumers will wrap their heads around location-based mobile marketing sooner or later. These things simply take time. After all, the Prosper Mobile Insights survey suggests subscribers are growing more reliant on mobile commerce solutions with each passing day, with 76.4 percent of respondents indicating they use their smartphone or tablet to search for products or services and 73 percent accessing their device to locate a store or determine its hours of business. In addition, 48.9 percent research specific products, and 45.7 percent browse customer reviews. Perhaps most significant, 42.2 percent have used their smartphone or tablet to redeem a coupon (e.g., scanning a barcode or showing a text promotion to a cashier), 39.7 percent have made a purchase directly on their device, and 36.2 percent have scanned a QR code.

Needless to say, these are the tech-savvy customers small businesses should begin targeting now—they understand mobile, they’re comfortable using it, and it’s clear they want at least some offers sent their way.

But how?

Prosper Mobile Insights reveals that traditional email remains consumers’ preferred means of interacting with retailers: 51.1 percent of respondents said they welcome mobile coupons emailed to their mobile device, far ahead of text or instant messaging at 31 percent. While 31.9 percent of consumers express an interest in scanning QR codes inside a store, only 10.3 percent stated a desire to receive offers by checking in to a social media site. A full 25.6 percent would sign up to receive automatic sale alerts when they’re in the vicinity of a store, 32.2 percent would rather manually search for coupons, and 18.1 percent don’t want to receive any mobile coupons at all.

Those are compelling statistics, and they reaffirm that for many Americans, mobile is already an essential component of the shopping experience. That wasn’t true even a few years ago, of course: Consumer behaviors change, and they change quickly. Subscribers want location-targeted coupons. They just don’t necessarily know it yet.Marketing Zeus

Posted in: B2C, Campaign Development, Content, E-Commerce, Email, Geolocation, Lead Generation, Local, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Matters, SMS, Social Coupons

About the Writer:

Jason Ankeny is the executive editor of the FierceMobileContent and FierceDeveloper e-newsletters as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine and the website All Music Guide. Additional credits include efforts for publications including Rolling Stone, Wax Poetics and No Depression, along with liner notes for a number of album releases. He lives in Chicago.

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