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Mobile wallet coupons

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You can do everything on your smartphone these days, including just about everything it takes to go grocery shopping – making a list, searching for items in the store, even scanning your items and paying for them with your phone. But when it comes to redeeming coupons, there’s still usually an extra step. You have to pull out your loyalty card and swipe it, type in your phone number – or even pull out some little scraps of paper and watch as the cashier scans them.

Paper coupons? What’s a smartphone-loving, digital-generation shopper to do?

Of course, paper coupons remain plenty popular. But a new study suggests that many smartphone users want their favorite stores and brands to make couponing easy and seamless – and if they don’t, these shoppers may switch to stores and brands that do.

That insight comes courtesy of mobile marketing firm Vibes, and its newly-released 2016 Mobile Consumer Report. Vibes’ survey of more than a thousand smartphone users across the country found that 59% said they would have a more positive opinion about a retailer, if they were provided with coupons and offers that could be saved on their smartphone. And 82% agreed that digital coupons are more convenient than bringing physical coupons to a store.

“The popularity of coupons and loyalty programs remains very strong, but the most effective delivery mechanisms for these marketing tactics has changed with the growth in mobile,” Vibes CEO Jack Philbin said in a statement.

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Most grocery stores offer digital coupons these days, but the variety and value of the offers is typically less plentiful than you can find on paper. Survey respondents seem to want the same coupons they can get on paper – in mobile form.

The creators of the SnipSnap app built a business around trying to drag retailers into the digital age whether they wanted to or not, encouraging shoppers to snap photos of store coupons and see if retailers would accept them. Since then, several stores have begun offering more sophisticated paper-to-digital platforms of their own, with Bed Bath & Beyond currently piloting a program called “My Offers”. The retailer describes the program as a “virtual coupon wallet that organizes and stores print and digital coupons, and includes the ability to scan and upload paper coupons so customers can access and redeem them conveniently,” all within the Bed Bath & Beyond app.

It’s just the kind of all-in-one convenience that Vibes survey respondents say they want. A third of those surveyed say they use a mobile wallet, like Apple Wallet or Android Pay, to make in-store purchases using their phone. Two-thirds say they would like to be able to save their loyalty program information to a mobile wallet app. And an overwhelming 94% of mobile wallet users say they are likely to save and use personalized mobile wallet offers and coupons.

That’s if they can find any personalized mobile wallet offers and coupons at all. You can find them at some retailers, but typically not in the grocery store. Just last year, however, Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) announced that its CurrentC payment platform will become the first mobile wallet to integrate digital manufacturer’s coupons. You’ll be able to load your preferred payment method, your store loyalty program information and a selection of digital grocery coupons directly to your mobile wallet, so you won’t have to swipe a card, type in your phone number or watch and wait as your paper coupons are scanned – you can just scan your phone and go.

“It’s a win-win,” Philbin said. “Not only do consumers enjoy the convenience these mobile wallets provide, but the ability to personalize and update coupons and loyalty programs helps marketers increase their programs’ effectiveness as well.”

Digital coupons may represent the future, we’re often told. But as long as redeeming those coupons isn’t as seamless a process as tech-savvy shoppers would like, the future isn’t here just yet. But if Vibes, MCX and others have their way – the future may be here before you know it.

Image source: Vibes

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