Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Auto-coupons and coupon aggregation

As coupons move to the digital world, and our transactions move to being digitally linked to our digital identity, it should be possible (and desirable on the side of the consumer) to auto-apply the coupons to purchases, whether the transaction is online or in the physical domain. It should also be possible for consumers to easily see an inventory of their coupons, with retailer, expiry date, value, terms, etc, wherever they are.

The impact of these factors is likely to increase consumer coupon utilisation, to the detriment of retailers, who rely on high rates of consumers forgetting about (or physically forgetting to bring with them) the coupon when making a purchase (in addition to a high number of consumers not wanting to make the specific purchase).

There are also some interesting possibilities for digital collection of coupons. Almost all communication channels from a retailer to a consumer become a potential coupon distribution mechanism: sms; email; social networks; out-of-home advertising (via a QR code); smart TV (or old-school TV with the help of a QR code); radio (with an audio equivalent of a QR code or manual code entry); post (if that still exists) (again with QR code or manual typing); from websites.

With such a diverse set of sources for coupons, there is a need and opportunity for a coupon aggregation service, across the web/mobile space, that allows consumers to collect coupons, to view their coupon inventory and automatically communicate the coupon details to retailers at the point of sale. Offers could also be collected - the service would interface with offer scraping tools that exist. The offer aggreagation service could be location-aware (via smartphone GPS) and push-notify consumers of scraped offers relevant to the shop they are in.

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