6 Expectations Customers Have Now That Mobile is Part of the Game
Smartphone adoption has really grown in leaps and bounds over the past year. In fact, more smartphones have been shipped out versus PCs in the fourth quarter of 2010. Mobile apps are also booming as a result, with users downloading something between 14 to 40 apps per device. That might not mean much at first glance but multiply it by several hundred million devices out in the wild and you get a truly staggering number.
Mobile device usage has become second nature to a lot of people and coupon publishers and advertisers need to take a closer look as to how it will be affecting them in the future. Here are a few things to expect as mobile phones and other devices become more common:
1. Customers want ads and coupons, as long as it’s relevant to where they are. A study from Jiwire found that around half of the respondents aged 25 to 44 are more likely to engage with mobile ads if these were relevant to their location. Furthermore, they found that around 40% of the respondents said that coupons for nearby stores are the most appealing form of location-based advertising for them. That means that deal sites need to start partnering with location-aware mobile apps and offer discounts that cater to where users are. People are becoming more accustomed to using smartphones to find deals where they are. After all, coupons are most useful if those using them just need to turn a corner to redeem them.
2. Customers are okay with sharing stuff about themselves as long as there’s something in return. Credit card companies have long tracked individual user behaviors but it seems that what once was a creepy, behind-the-scenes activity has now burst out in the open. The same study mentioned above states that half of the respondents aged between 25 and 44 were willing to share their location provided it meant more relevant ads. People are now more comfortable sharing personal information like favorite activities, brands and products but they will be expecting you to put up your end of the deal by delivering deals that are relevant to their interests.
3. Customers will soon be paying not by card or cash, but by phone. This is already being implemented in the Android Market where users can charge app purchases against their carrier bill instead of their credit card. Soon, this will also extend to other digital media and even physical goods. Mobile payments will certainly drive coupon use since a buyer just needs a mobile phone to both find and redeem coupons as well as to complete payments. Gone are the days of signing receipt copies, inputting passwords and scanning barcodes.
4. Customers expect you to have a web presence on mobile. Yes, you might have a website but to truly be part of the mobile revolution, you need at the very least a version of your site optimized for smaller screens. The mobile site should still have all the basic functions of your main site, like coupon search and access to stored coupons.
5. Customers expect you to have an app. While a mobile site might do for some sites, to truly become a player in the couponing arena a site is expected to have an app available. There are a few ways to go about this: you can build your own couponing app from scratch or alternatively, you can partner with apps that have a huge following and use them to deliver deals and offers. This is exactly what Old Navy did when it partnered with Shazam’s music service. Another solution is to create an app that offers some useful functionality, like a grocery list app, and bundle in coupons that way, which is how GroceryIQ from Coupons.com works. For a custom-made app, you can work with companies like OneBigPlanet to create a homegrown mobile app for iPhone and/or Android.
6. Customers still want great service. Whether you’re a coupon site or a brick-and-mortar who offers discounts, customers will still want to be treated well. Mobility not only means easier discovery of deals, it also means easier access to social networks by users. Disgruntled buyers can complain to the community at large and sometimes this sparks the same sentiments from others, leading to some very damaging PR. On the other hand, it also encourages immediate feedback for satisfied customers, which translates to free advertising all over the internet.
OneBigPlanet is keen on helping its partners discover how mobile will be affecting their businesses. This is why we have been hard at work developing an iPhone app for one of our partners that will help merchants better reach their customers. It puts the convenience of finding deals at your user’s fingertips, giving them the ability to find coupons near them and locate the nearest store to redeem them and add even add deals to their favorites to access them later. It will also feature coupon alerts so your users can stay up to date on a merchant’s latest promos.
With this upcoming iPhone application, we hope to help merchants acquire new customers by offering a fun and easy way for their customers to find and redeem coupons. Check the App store in the coming weeks for our first release of the RadarFrog iPhone App.