Mobile coupons is a new technology created by Brent and the team at Cellfire, which allows cell phone users to access coupons via their phone. Cellfire is available for all consumers, and is available nationally.
Consumers now have the option to download free software offered by Cellfire, which allows users to receive mobile coupons from local and national retailers directly to their cell phones. Companies such as TGI Friday’s, 1-800-Flowers, Hollywood Video and other retail chains are signed on and Cellfire promises many more companies are on the way with deals not offered elsewhere.
The process to get is very simple. Cellfire has step-by-step instructions with screenshots, on how to download the application, which is the same process one uses when downloading games or ringtones.
The coupons you receive are based on your ZIP code and are stored in your handset, making it unnecessary for you to get on the Internet to obtain them. You then scroll to the coupon you want to use, press “Use Now” and show the coupon to the cashier. That’s it.
You can get this service by going to Cellfire or text to 22888 on your phone.
Can this be the future of coupons? Mobile coupons will definitely add a new leg to the coupon world. People who are reluctant to fumble around with coupons will be more prone to using them with the clean, fast coupon retrieval process. For those who have been embarrassed to present coupons at restaurants, this new technology will allow for a more subtle transaction to take place. The guy out on a first date may actually look rather tech-savvy using his mobile phone coupon instead of like an overly frugal tightwad.
Will It Replace Paper Coupons?That’s debatable. Cutting back on wasting money making and distributing paper coupons will certainly be something merchants will investigate. Such a small percentage of paper coupons actually get redeemed and the cost of handling the coupons has to factored into the equation.
The theory of ‘out of sight – out of mind’ may come into play. Even if a coupon isn’t used, seeing it in the paper, on the back of a grocery receipt and inside a package reminds the consumer that the product exists. Storing it inside a cell phone may not offer the same product awareness to the consumer.
Certain retail segments will find their target customer by using the mobile coupons. Trendy fashion outlets, music retailers, popular national restaurants will be able to target their customer with ease.
There is also a large group who will be left out of the mobile coupon loop. People who use their mobile phones selectively and own one primarily for emergencies will not be prone to use mobile coupons. There are also those who actually elect not to own a cell phone and many who cannot afford the extra expense. Retailers, such as the grocery stores, department stores and family-geared restaurants will not want to lose this group’s business.
Hopefully mobile coupons will move into our society like Internet coupons by adding more choices to consumers without limiting what is now available to all consumers. That is what paper coupons offer; everyone can use them.