Penney Testing Mobile Coupons
Paper coupons may soon be a thing of the past for at least some of J.C. Penney’s customers in the Houston metro area.
The department store announced it is running a mobile coupon pilot that allows consumers to download discounts to their cell phones that can be scanned by a special reader at the checkout.
"We’ve always made it easy for our customers to save money," said Mike Boylson, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for J.C. Penney, in a press release. "These mobile coupons are the ultimate in customer convenience, because there’s no need to clip or carry around a printed coupon, and they can be instantly scanned from a cell phone. It’s another way we’re innovating to enhance the customer’s shopping experience."
To automatically receive coupons, Penney shoppers register with Cellfire, which continually updates offers specific to their geographic area.
Penney plans to promote the coupon program with mobile and online advertising as well as an email campaign to JCP Rewards’ members. If successful, Penney may rollout its digital coupon program to its roughly 1,100 stores nationwide.
According to a study earlier in the year by Information Resources and Platform-A, roughly 40 percent of consumers go online to download coupons. That’s roughly half the number of consumers getting their coupons from FSIs and other print sources.
An article in The New York Times, citing Inmar, reports digital coupon redemption is up 25 percent in the first half of this year versus last. The roughly 10 million digital coupons redeemed for the first six months represented less than half a percent of all coupons in circulation, according to the company.
Discussion Questions: Do you expect J.C. Penney’s mobile coupon test program to be a success? Are there obstacles in the way of more rapid adoption of mobile couponing technology? What must merchants like Penney and others do to realize the full potential of mobile coupon programs?
- JCPenney and Cellfire Launch U.S. Retail’s First Mobile Coupon Scanning Program – J.C. Penney Company, Inc./PRNewswire-FirstCall
- Platform-A and IRI Release New Research on Couponing Trends – Information Resources, Inc./Platform-A
- A Clip-and-Save Renaissance – The New York Times