If you’re a fan of TLC’s lineup of TV shows like I am, you’re probably already familiar with the messy homes of those who refuse to throw away anything, as well as the adorable and quirky southern pageant girl and her family – and the abilities of one Long Island woman to put people in touch with those who have “crossed over.”
But among all these popular shows, one that had a lasting impression on a number of fans, including me, was “Extreme Couponers.” This show detailed how shoppers could take carriages overflowing with products from a bill totaling several hundred down to just dollars and cents, and spawned a giant wave of “copycat” moms and budget conscious shoppers, in such great numbers in fact, that stores and manufacturers began to rethink and reword their entire coupon policies.
The show hit especially close to home for the many families struggling to keep up financially in today’s economic hard times. And while not everyone can have a knack for walking out of the store with most of their items for free, saving a few bucks here and there can be a no brainer for just about anyone.
In my personal experience, the time spent and paper wasted to clip, print, find and match-up coupons with sales proved to be just too much. But even if I can’t get the giant savings they depicted on the show, using coupons when it’s simple and easy is something I am now almost always doing.
If I’m out and about, I don’t always know where I’ll be shopping for the day – or if I’ll see something I like. But rather than walk around with a notebook full of paper clippings that I have to leaf through just to get the discount, I’ve found being able to pull coupons up right on my smartphone is really beneficial.
In some stores that are already keeping up with the latest technologies, I can literally be in line waiting to pay for items and simply pull up the stores website to check for an available coupon and have the cashier hold the scanner to my phone to process the coupon.
At Mobile World Congress last week, a number of announcements focused on mobile commerce and the use of coupons. One announcement and demonstration that was done at the show takes extreme couponing to the next level, by making any stores laser scanner able to read smartphone barcodes.
The partnership between ams and Mobeam removes the barrier between today’s smartphones which use emissive displays that common point of sale barcode readers are not able to read barcodes with.
Now, ams’ TMD3990 digital light sensor optical module and Mobeam’s light-based beaming technology simplify the approach and give handset makers the ability to use barcode content that utilizes the same type of proximity IR LED that is already used in smart phones today to disable the touch-screen display so it is readable by all POS laser scanners.
If you’ve ever had to wait months for redemptions to be sent to you or reimbursements to be made, this advancement can cancel that wait time entirely.
Mobile commerce solutions provider Celltick also announced during MWC a new Real Time Coupon Server to offer operators an easy way to provide coupons that merchants and brands will have full visibility of throughout the entire lifecycle. Imagine using a coupon sent to your mobile phone from your favorite dog food brand, and once it scans, the company is able to see your usage, and send you another for a related product or service based on your specific purchasing needs.
Beyond just the popularity stemming from this TV show, mobile commerce solutions that are making it easier for people to buy and pay for products and services is on the rise across the globe.
One recent report found that more and more U.K. businesses are implementing mobile commerce capabilities. According to the findings, 22 percent of e-commerce businesses are building more mobile apps – with 73 percent choosing to optimize sites specifically for mobile commerce.
Also, the research uncovered that a quarter of the businesses that already have been focusing on mobile apps have seen almost 20 percent of their sales now coming in with use of mobile devices.
This year alone, Juniper is predicting over 500 million people around the world will receive mobile coupons – a 30-percent increase from 2012.
If Juniper’s predictions hold true, many of us will be using our social networks for more than keeping in touch with family and friends. Growth is expected to be fuelled by integration of couponing platforms into social networks.
And brands will be looking to use these mobile coupons to develop stronger and longer relationships with consumers. I’m on board – bring on the savings!
Edited by Braden Becker
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