Although it will come as no surprise to most of us, mobile usage finally surpassed online browsing from desktop platforms back in February of 2014. This is a monumental development, and one that means we all need to get our websites optimized for mobile immediately (for those of us who have been putting it off). Logic suggests that mobile couponing and location-based marketing efforts are now poised to explode moving forward.
Geolocation and Mobile Couponing
We’ve seen a variety of mobile and geolocation based offerings come and go over the past few years. Some of the bigger players, like Foursquare, have undergone multiple business models in search of the one that will best pay the bills. All-in-all, no one company has jumped out very far ahead of the pack.
In recent years, a range of couponing models have also come onto the scene. From Groupon to Tippr to several others in market, we’ve seen some great experiments and hits. All of these couponing companies do a decent job of logging your location via IP address or manual submission. With that location data, they can best tailor which coupons you might want to consider. The model works great, so long as the customers don’t mind using a desktop platform to find the coupons in advance.
To my knowledge, the same holds true for the smart phone apps. The offerings are primarily based on metro area or other provided information. But what if I am 50 miles away from home and want to find a great deal on a car wash nearby? That’s not an easy question to answer. But it might be soon.
In-Market Test of Location-Based Mobile Couponing
Austin-based RetailMeNot brands itself as the world’s largest digital coupon marketplace. They claim to have contributed to over $3B in retail sales as a result of their mobile couponing offering, which illustrates just how massive this industry has become.
Always looking ahead, RetailMeNot recently announced that they plan to test location based mobile coupons at the upcoming spring game for the University of Texas Longhorns men’s football team. If this test goes well, they may scale out the model to a much wider range of mobile couponing clients.
The concept is pretty simple, and surely one that will require some specialized logic to execute in the real world. Since the experiment will happen at a single location, this isn’t a true dynamic geolocation test. But on a smaller scale, as you would expect for a live market test, they should get a good idea of how much incremental business they are able to drive for the businesses involved based on targeting this precise location.
While this is a smaller use case, the potential to flesh this out into a large scale offering is rather exciting. I can envision a day where a range of coupons are available, and the user can choose to have any good deals in certain product or service categories pushed to them based on proximity. This is the long term dream of mobile marketers worldwide, so I’ll be watching to see how it turns out.
It seems some Austin company is out there doing something amazing nearly every week. We’ll look to chronicle the most interesting activities on here as we build out the site. Keep a watch on RetailMeNot and the upcoming test. Who knows; this could be the start of a huge push for mobile marketing nationwide before too long.
If you want to take part in the test, be sure to download the RetailMeNot app to your smartphone first. You can find more information about the Longhorns’ spring game at http://texassports.com/news/2014/4/14/FB_0414145724.aspx.