Most of us are used to cutting coupons to make our money stretch a little bit farther, but now we can use our cell phones in addition to our scissors! Yep, there's an app for that. A couple of weeks ago I got a free bag of popcorn at my local theater just for showing a special bar code at the concession stand. Don't you just love technology?
“Smartphone use is on the rise and more consumers are expecting instant access to everyday shopping needs," said Cailyn Aanonson, spokeswoman for CouponSherpa.com. She continues “It only makes sense, as it’s instant, accessible and doesn’t require printing out a coupon from home beforehand – thus, you can decide what coupons to use as you shop, rather than before you leave home.” Coupon Sherpa is a terrific online couponing web site that now lets shoppers load grocery coupons to their existing store loyalty card via their iPhone devices. The coupons and the app are free.
Consumers can input their ZIP code, using the app, to see what offers are available locally. Then, shoppers can select the coupons, which are automatically added to their grocery store loyalty card to use during checkout. More and more retailers, restaurants, and grocery stores are using mobile money to draw in customers.
“Aside from already offering scannable and exclusive coupons for restaurants and retailers, the CouponSherpa app has now expanded into offering grocery coupons,” Ms. Aanonson said. Consumers can also email coupons to friends and family and create their own favorites list of stores.
Another terrific web site to check out is www.mobilecoupon.com Merchants add their deals to the site and shoppers simply load the geo-targeted coupons on their phones. Apps are available for free on the iPhone App Store.
Customers who love shopping at Target will be happy to learn that they can get exclusive offers up to five times a month on your web-enabled cell phone via text message, when you sign up for their program at www.target.com Purchase with your Target credit card to save an additional 5 percent!
If you've discovered www.FourSquare.com then you know that you can become a "Mayor" of a particular restaurant or retailer and receive their special offers, simply by checking into their location on your cell phone every time you shop there. You can also earn silly badges and see where your friends are hanging. Kinda silly, but worth checking out if you're a frequent customer of a certain vendor.
Remember, all of these mobile money programs remind consumers that "message and data rates may apply", so be sure you know what your mobile plan includes or charges to receive such messages. Mobile marketing is HUGE these days and getting bigger, as merchants are learning more about it.