Target Launches Mobile Couponing

With many retailers hit technology barriers with mobile coupons and their POS scanner limitations, its nice to see a retailer that has been able to cash in on mobile scanning
technology at checkout? Basic, intuitive, and almost a no brainer in the
era of wireless and touch screens. Recognizing this huge opportunity,
recently has become the first national chain retailer offering mobile coupons

to consumers that can be redeemed at checkout by allowing the cashier to scan a
barcode via cell phone. If you’re anything like me, you can’t leave Target
without spending money, usually more than you planned, and this is a great
motivator to increase check without the hassle of sifting through all the
different coupons ripped from a direct mailer—assuming I had the time to search
and pull coupons.

Target states you can choose several different offers, or
mobile coupons, and use only one “master” bar code that is scanned at
checkout.However, the coupons are
not yet personalized for consumers.

To test out this new Target offering, I just used my phone
to sign up and I was taken to a page showing me a set of baby pacifiers. This
wasn’t exactly what I had anticipated, or was of interest seeing as I’m not a
mother. I had trouble easily
finding the coupon sign up portion of the mobile site. In my opinion it should have taken me
directly to the sign up page. Once I finally was able to sign up, it failed to
direct me to a page including offers. It told me I wouldn’t receive my first
mobile coupon for 2 weeks and I would only receive one text a month with these
offers.If these coupons aren’t
personalized, why does it take two weeks to send me a mass coupon? What happened to instant
gratification? Waiting this long
will certainly lower my anticipation.

Great idea in theory, but it seems Target has a few glitches
to figure out before this program can reach its full potential. What if Target turned this into
application that offers real-time coupons (via I.B.M.’s technology called
Presence), sending offers instantaneously to you as you stroll the
aisles—relevant to what you are looking at on the shelves? The technology also
is capable of tracking spending habits, which would allow Target to customize
future coupon offers for their consumers, engaging shoppers on through Postail.

According to USA Today’s
t of Target’s mobile couponing, Cellfire, a mobile coupon company
serving grocery chains, say that mobile coupons are redeemed at a 5% to 20%
rate in comparison to 1% for print coupons. The article also mentions that U.K.-based
Juniper Research predicts that more than 1-in-10 mobile subscribers in
developed regions around the world will use mobile coupons by 2014, which could
generate nearly $6 billion in redemption value.

With this much market share to be had, Target is leading the
pack for large national retailers, and if they iron out the kinks during this
test phase, they have a good chance of making this a very successful

Contributed by Jennine Friess