Aug 3 2010
I am firmly convinced that what you currently call your cell phone will soon be the preferred method for paying and saving at the “cash” register and mobile coupons are going to play a big part in that.
A mobile coupon is like any other coupon you’d use at a store except that it resides on the screen of your cell phone or mobile device. It uses no paper and costs nothing to print or share. It’s potentially viral savings for the consumer and viral marketing for the merchant. You can get mobile coupons a number of way such as through merchant’s email newsletters, Facebook promotions or as a reward for filling out online surveys.
The next stage up from mobile coupons is location-based mobile coupons. This is where Yowza!! Mobile Coupons comes in and where I have to give full disclosure: I helped co-create Yowza!! and still own an ever-so-small share in its success.
Yowza!! is a FREE app for the iPhone and iPod touch and via WHERE, its deals are also accessible from other devices (Android, Blackberry and Palm at the moment). The app uses the GPS in the phone to find US merchants in the Yowza!! database who are offering deals, sales and announcements in your area right now… anywhere from 1 to 50 miles on a dial you can set.
Redeeming the deals is dead easy—3 steps:
- Search for deals being offered in your area and go to the Yowza!! merchant of your choice
- Choose the deal you want to use and select the items off the store shelves
- Redeem the deal. Bring your Yowza!! phone to the register with your purchases and the cashier with enter in the coupon code or scan the barcode right off the screen.
After you’ve used a coupon you can track your savings and taunt your friends or followers on Facebook or Twitter right from the app. You can even “save” your favorite stores and Yowza!! Mobile Coupons will use the iPhone’s optional push notifications to let you know when they have added a new deal.
Yowza!! Mobile Coupons is also a great way to find stores, restaurants and services you never knew where in your area—and if you hold your phone sideways, it will even show you a map!
Save money, yes, but you can also make money too.
The savings Yowza!! offers is obvious, but did you know that Yowza!! Mobile Coupons can make you money? Yes, they have an affiliate program. So, for anyone who says there aren’t enough stores around them offering deals, not only can you do something about that—you can profit by it!
Do you own a store? Sign up!!
If you run a brick-and-mortar store, restaurant or service1 and would like to offer deals on Yowza!! Mobile Coupons, you can sign yourself up and be posting deals and reaching thousands of Yowza!! users within minutes. Using Yowza!! as a merchant is dead easy too and offers great usage statistics to help you better meet your customer’s needs and make sales.
It’s been a long time since technology has actually offered something that brought people in to brick-and-mortar stores to spend money. Since Amazon started, there has been the constant threat of online competitors—they offer better prices and better selection and deliver to your door…but you do have to wait. With mobile coupons, and specifically location-based ones like Yowza!!, a store can gain the edge of convenience that is acquired by letting the consumer know that if you want that pair of shoes, you can get them 1 mile away from where you’re standing right now, get a discount and walk home in them today…or you can order online, wait for them to ship and see if they fit when they arrive.
Coupons vs. announcements and the element of surprise
By monitoring the conversation online via Twitter and other social media, I have noticed a common complaint with Yowza!! is that there aren’t enough coupons and that the offers don’t change as much as we consumers would like. It isn’t widely known, but Yowza!! doesn’t create the coupons or even negotiate them with the stores—the coupons are composed and entered by the stores themselves. So to solve this problem, the change has to come in the way merchants and restauranteurs think of coupons. Mobile coupons are like little tweets with savings attached—they’ve got to be interesting and they have to keep being updated.
One shift that needs to take place in the mobile coupon marketplace is for stores to actually offer coupons—saving redeemable only through the use of the app. Too many stores use Yowza!! and other coupon apps to broadcast sales and events, but they don’t seem to ever post coupons. Some even say “We don’t do coupons.” They join coupon app services because they are extremely inexpensive exposure but it has been their store’s long standing policy that they don’t offer coupons of any kind—they never have. I think this is something that stores and restaurants need to seriously reconsider with the introduction and consumer adoption of mobile coupons.
Also it’s important for merchants to be aware that, though some offers are the type we are going to want to be available all the time—the classic 10% off any item in the store coupon—we also crave variety and surprise. Give us a reason to come back to your Yowza!! listing by changing things up every so often.
This is something we, as consumers want—we want to use this app—and we will quickly go to a competing merchant to take advantage of their offer if we’re not given something compelling to bring us to your register.2
The economy sucks and it’s time to change your strategy. The customer is king, they will wield their power with their wallet and use mobile coupons as their trusty financial advisor. Get on their good side.
What really makes Yowza!! Mobile Coupons and, indeed, all mobile coupon apps awesome, is that it does away with the costly printing of flyers and the need to run newspaper advertisements. More than that, it does away with the need for us to clip, organize and remember to bring these coupons with us because now they are all automatically organized according to where the we are and they are already on the one device that we feel absolutely naked without—our cell phone. For merchants, it affords them an inexpensive way to bring people into their stores and customize and adjust advertising campaigns in mid-flight.
This is the way business is going, I know it, but it’s not there yet and it is mostly on the shoulders of the merchants to step up to the plate and really play this game. I have no doubt that, just as there are a horde of of social media gurus out there selling strategies to make sales through Twitter and Facebook, there will soon be Mobile Coupon Mavens who will show stores how to really make the most of these apps and offer us consumers some really compelling ways to save money.
What are your thoughts on Yowza!! and mobile coupons on the iPhone? Awesome or not?