Not too long ago, I stood in a long line at Bed Bath and Beyond to purchase a wedding present. I was in a hurry. When I finally got to the check out counter, I realized that I left my 20% off coupon in the car. I mentally debated whether the little bit of savings I would get from using the coupon was worth the hassle of running out to my car and then standing in the long line again. I decided it wasn’t so I bought my item without using the coupon. I saved time but not money.
My experience is similar to Greg Grunberg’s experience. After the 100th time of forgetting his 20 percent off coupon for Bed Bath and Beyond, Grunberg realized that while he didn’t have a paper coupon in his pocket what he did have was a cell phone. He had a brainstorm about creating a mobile app for coupons and that was how the Yowza iPhone application came to be.
According to Retail Gazzette, 58% of consumers now shop with coupons and coupon use has grown by 40% in the last four years. A Juniper Research report estimates that more than 500 million consumers will receive mobile coupons in 2013.
Is the increase in usage of mobile coupons because of the poor economy? Could be. Or, is it because coupons on mobile devices are gaining in popularity? I think it’s probably a combination of both.
Nobody likes carrying a wallet overflowing with paper coupons. However, redeeming coupons via a smartphone is very appealing to customers. Cell phones are becoming ubiquitous. Since almost everybody has one, consumers are more likely to redeem coupons from their phone than carry around paper ones snipped from the newspaper.
In the past, people would search their local newspaper for coupons and special deals. Not so in today’s world. Tech-savvy customers can quickly compare prices with their cell phones to find the best deals. They can even make a purchase online using their phone.
What does this have to do with the self storage industry? Plenty. Coupons are a good way to get customers in the door to rent a unit. People like a good deal and will especially use coupons when it is for something that they were going to purchase anyway.
Many businesses are rather slow at offering mobile coupons. By being the first in the industry to offer mobile coupons, you will be ahead of your competition.
The easiest way to start offering mobile coupons is to have your customers sign up for text messaging with you. Then, simply send them a text message that says they get a discount on their rate when they show you the text message.
Another easy way is to have a coupon on your website. When customers come in and show you the coupon on your website on their cell phone, they can redeem the coupon.
A step up from this easy version of couponing would be to have your current customers sign up to be on an e-mailing list. Then, periodically send an e-mail with a coupon in it. Again, when they come in to your office, they show you the coupon on their phone and get the discount.
The Cadillac version of offering mobile coupons would be to make your coupon available through companies like Yowza, Coupon Sherpa, Groupon, or RivePoint. Your tech savvy customers will see your coupon when they use those apps and will come flocking in to rent units at your storage facility – and not at your competition’s business.
Try offering mobile coupons. Your customers just might like it.
“Mobile coupons in demand; Businesses slow to react.” KSL.com; 28 November 2012.
“What the mobile payment craze is really about: Coupons!” C/Net; 4 September 2012.
“Dialing cell phone for store coupons.” Bankrate.com; 22 December 2009.