Consumer Nation

Target Takes Coupons Mobile With 2-D Technology

Hate cutting coupons? Well, take heed. Target now offers scannable coupons via your mobile device that cut the paper out of cutting prices.

Shoppers check out at a newly-opened Target store near Royersford, Pa., on Monday, Nov. 13, 2006. Discount retailer Target Corp. said Tuesday its third-quarter profit rose 16 percent, beating analyst expectations as its sales rose 11 percent. (AP Photo/George Widman)
George Widman

Target announced Wednesday it would begin sending a list of mobile coupons to consumers once a month who have opted to receive promotions. The coupons are redeemed by scanning the 2-D barcode on the mobile device at check out.

Target's move to implement mobile coupon program into their mobile marketing strategy is a step in the right direction, but hurdles still remain, said Mark Beccue, ABI Research senior mobile retail analyst.

Beccue said although mobile coupons take the hassle out of clipping, there is still the nuisance of remembering to use the coupons in digital form.

“This is all back to really the kind of the challenge of coupons in general. Are they worth using?” he said.

Currently, the company plans to send out the same offers to all of its registered customers, with no specific targeted coupons to specific groups of consumers, said Leah Guimond, a Target spokesperson. But targeting specific groups is not something the company is ruling out.

Although the coupons may seem geared for smartphone users, given that technology's screen size and mobile Internet navigation, the coupons are available on all phones that have a data plan that allows access to a browser.

Target has been promoting the mobile coupon program through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and through the retailer’s email program since the beginning of March. The company's official announcement, however, was made Wednesday.

Although registration has only been available for several days, consumers are responding favorably, Guimond said.

Consumers may start accessing the coupons by sending a text to Target or through the retailer's Web site. They will receive a link to the mobile Web site where they can opt to receive the promotions.

Although the retailer may have some kinks to work out in its mobile coupon strategy, the program's likely to give Target an advantage over its competitors, said Beccue.

“It's something you would expect from them, to be on the edge of things. It's brand reinforcement,” he said. “If they go very aggressive on mobile it really lines up with their brand image.”

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