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Retailers are seeing boom in mobile coupons now that they are integrated into loyalty schemes, study finds…

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More retailers are integrating coupons into their loyalty programmes and dealing direct with consumers through mobile, rather than using aggregator sites, and seeing huge growth in their use, according to the latest report from Juniper Research.

The report – Mobile Coupons: Consumer Engagement, Loyalty & Redemption Strategies 2014-2019 – finds that there will be 1.05 billion mobile coupon users by 2019, up from just under 560 million this year. The analyst claims that this surge in user numbers is in large part driven by increased retailer engagement with the various mobile channels. It stated that retailers were now integrating coupons into loyalty programmes to a far greater extent, while focusing on delivering coupons direct to consumers rather than relying on aggregator sites.

At the same time, the report observed that mobile coupon deployments were benefitting from retailers restructuring their businesses to reflect the wider transition to the utilisation of online engagement channels. It noted those businesses are becoming more agile, more efficient and able to implement change more rapidly than would have previously been the case.

Meanwhile, the report argued that while the use of MMS for couponing was expected to cease, disruptive technologies such as NFC (Near Field Communications) and Beacon had the potential to boost in-store engagement in the medium term.

According to report author Dr Windsor Holden: “While NFC has failed to achieve traction thus far, the emergence of a cloud-based secure element through HCE (Host Card Emulation) is likely to stimulate greater integration into wallets. We believe that this in turn will provide the visibility that should encourage brands to run campaigns using the technology.”

Steve Rothwell, Founder of Eagle Eye Solutions which pioneered mobile coupons in the UK and which has signed numerous deals with retailers to roll out mobile coupon schemes, says “Research illustrates the enormous growth in demand for mobile coupons and rewards. These are patterns and trends we have seen in our data and we predict that demand will continue.”

In the past year alone, the number of retailers that use the Eagle Eye Air platform has doubled and the surge in demand for mobile coupons looks set to continue. But Rothwell still beleives that a full, digital strategy isn’t always necessary.

“Even if you issue paper coupons you can count it digitally and that saves money,” he says. “Added to this, when you have coupons that are distributed and redeemed digitally via the phone you find out what your customers are doing, adding value to the customer and in turn bringing loyalty.”

Eagle Eye Solutions, which created the UKs first entirely digital loyalty scheme with Greggs, this week, announced that its revenue has surged 157 per cent to £1.8 million in the past year, along with its client base doubling in size.

Rothwell continues: “Brands we work with are seeing a significant return on their investment. For example, Pets at Home recently announced that their like-for-likes have grown by 4.1% in its first quarter following increased customer participation and engagement in their VIP loyalty programme, supported by our Eagle Eye AIR platform.”

The report also finds that Geotargeting has provided SMS-delivered coupons with a new lease of life, with retailers seeing high redemption rates from coupons pushed to consumers near their stores.

Brands are increasingly leveraging the retail database to deliver targeted coupons. Lack of adequate POS redemption technology remains the key hurdle to greater deployment and adoption.

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