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Coupons.com app

If you’ve ever visited Coupons.com on a mobile device, you’ve likely ended up disappointed when you tried to print. In the place where you’d expect to see a “print coupons” button, there’s an “email to print” button instead. “Enter the email address where you would like your coupons delivered,” a notice reads. “Then you can print from a computer that’s connected to a printer.”

Well, that kind of defeats the purpose of visiting Coupons.com on a mobile device, doesn’t it?

Now, Coupons.com is working on a better solution – coupons that you can print directly from its mobile website, with no email or desktop computer required.

“We recently began piloting a new, enhanced printing solution that we believe makes printing from mobile devices a seamless experience,” Coupons.com CEO Steven Boal told investors last week. “So visitors on mobile phones that visit our platform will be able to print directly from mobile web, without having to install anything special and not having to run any specific new application.”

That’s a reference to the Coupons.com app, which does allow you to print from a mobile device, if you have a compatible wireless printer. But many potential coupon clippers aren’t interested in downloading or launching an app every time they want to print a coupon. And that means fewer coupon prints, fewer redemptions and ultimately, fewer dollars for Coupons.com.

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Coupons.com declined requests for comment about the pilot program, how widely it’s available, when it will launch permanently, and how exactly it works.

But News America Marketing recently launched something similar. Its SmartSource website now features a PDF-based print solution, which doesn’t require any coupon-printing downloads. The ability to print directly from iOS mobile devices (not Android, for now) was a “happy coincidence” of the new printing technology, a company representative told Coupons in the News.

For Coupons.com, however, a print solution that works on mobile is no coincidence. It’s the goal. That’s because printable coupons are a small part of News America’s business – but a huge part of Coupons.com’s. And print-at-home coupons appear to be on a long, slow decline. A recent Inmar study found that printable coupon redemption is already down 28% so far this year.

“Our print business has been impacted, we believe primarily due to an increase in mobile usage,” Boal said. So giving more mobile users the ability to print, will help preserve that portion of the business – at least for a while. “We believe that digital print has plenty of room to grow,” Boal said.

That’s even though Coupons.com believes a shift from print-at-home coupons, to digital paperless offers, is an inevitability. “Over time, we expect that digital paperless volume will be greater than digital print volume,” Boal said. And eventually, he said earlier this year, “we’d love to see consumers go completely paperless.”

So using a mobile device to print coupons onto paper, may already seem like something of an anachronism. But if making it easier to do so helps keep revenues and redemption rates up, it’s something Coupons.com is willing to accommodate. For couponers’ sake – and, ultimately, its own.

Image source: Coupons.com

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