Mobile coupons offer an excellent opportunity for retailers to appeal to customers on the go, and to drive them in stores with special offers and discounts. 

For example, US retailers such as Target are offering coupons which can be downloaded to their phones and scanned at the checkout, while in the UK, apps like Voucher Cloud allow users to search for local businesses offering coupons which can be redeemed in store. 

Here are ten reasons why retailers should consider the use of mobile coupons in their marketing strategies... 

Drive sales in store

Mobile coupons can be downloaded by customers on the move, and the lure of a discount or some other offer can be enough to tempt more customers into stores, where they may buy more than just what's offered on the coupon. 

Saves printing

I've eaten at Pizza Express several times in the knowledge that I could have saved myself money if I'd printed a voucher out beforehand. Downloading and printing out vouchers requires customers to plan ahead, but mobile couponing means that restaurants and retailers can appeal to customers' impulses more easily. 

Mobile coupons remove all the fiddly work and the advance planning involved, and thus appeal to more customers. 

Also, anything that saves people from printing more paper is to be welcomed. 


Coupons can be an effective add-on to any multichannel marketing campaign, and can allow retailers to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. Using bar-coded coupons, marketers can capture the identity of the customer making the purchase, the promotional code and the amount of the transaction. 

Proximity marketing

Mobile coupons allow stores to appeal to customers who might be in the area, looking for something to buy. Having a coupon accessible via mobiles means that customers can find offers and act upon them immediately. 

Apps such as Voucher Cloud allow customers to search for businesses offering discounts in their local area, and this provides an opportunity for retailers to attract more custom. These apps also allow smaller retailers to have some kind of presence on mobile without the need for extra investment. 

Improve success of mobile marketing 

Mobile coupons can provide a measurable outcome for any marketing campaigns that involve mobile, and can be a persuasive tool to drive sales. 

Allows retailers to test mobile commerce

While some retailers in the UK are yet to launch a mobile commerce website or app, issuing coupons via mobile is one way to test the water, and see how their target audience responds to mobile offers, what kinds of phones they are using, and so on. 

Broad appeal

Let's face it, just about everyone has a mobile phone, and more and more have phones with internet access. This means that the potential target market for mobile coupons is massive, and growing all the time. 

Recent Deloitte research suggests that US shoppers were actively looking to receive coupons via their mobiles, while another Compete survey found that smartphone users want to use coupons. 

Customers want coupons

Coupons and voucher codes are already very popular online, thanks in part to the recession, but also the fact that people love a bargain. For this reason alone, mobile coupons will become very popular with customers, and they will actively seek them more and more. 

It is cost-effective

Unlike the alternatives of offering coupons in newspapers or by direct mail, with mobile coupons, retailers only pay for engagement. 

Gain an advantage over competitors

If customers are using apps like Voucher Cloud to search for discounts while they are out and about, then retailers offering mobile coupons can provide a more compelling offer to customers than their high street competitors. 

Graham Charlton

Published 19 May, 2010 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (4)


Rob Woodbridge

This is SO topical these days!

I've interviewed a few of the key companies in this space -- mobile coupons and location-based mobile marketing folks -- for my video podcast and the insight they give is amazing! One of the interviews is with Greg Grunberg (Matt Parkman from the TV show Heroes) from YOWZA! who have 15,000+ merchants signed up to their mobile coupon service.

This isn't just about coupons, it really is about maluable or just in time pricing!

Here's a page with all my interviews about this topic including YOWZA!, Get Mobile, ShopSavvy and VaynerMedia:

about 8 years ago

Geoff Andrews

Geoff Andrews, Lead Generation Manager at Kumon Educational UK

Good stuff. This is an arena I knew nothing about until I came across this post (from both a marketeer and consumer angle). I think you just changed my life - definitely in the wife's good book this weekend and I got food for thought. Thanks!

about 8 years ago


Ken Cheung

the issue with mobile coupons though is really at the client end. lets take a restaurant as an example, you first need to have the technology to quickly and easily record the use of the coupons, if that's a scanner of some sort, you may need to by that and roll it out across multiple stores...a potentially massive cost. if that's a manual process how do you prevent staff from giving discounts to their own friends (for example?), whilst these are specific to the mobile voucher code, it also throws up the wider question of offering discounts in general - would you have got that customer with out the incentive being in place? ultimately all I'm suggesting is 1. the technology (at the client end) isn't quite caught up yet, and 2. the wider marketing implications mean that again, there's a lag between what we're capable of doing (i.e. mobile voucher codes) and what clients feel confident implementing.

about 8 years ago

Samantha Noble

Samantha Noble, Marketing Director at Koozai

This is definitely an area that now needs to be considered by all businesses with a brick and mortar location.

Voucher Cloud are also starting to send targeted text messages to users informing them of the latest deals within their local proximity. Great if you are out shopping around lunch time and then receive a text saying a nearby restaurant is offering you a cheap lunch deal. How can you refuse!

about 8 years ago

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