Sainsbury Cells Coupons

Discussion
Sep 09, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Customers at select Sainsbury’s in the U.K. can now download product discount coupons directly from their cell phone, reports The Wise Marketer.


The coupon program called “M-Bar-Go” allows shoppers to sign up through a registration phone number. After being accepted, the customers receive back a bar code via text messaging, which can be scanned at a store’s checkout directly from the screen on their phone.


If consumers prefer not to receive the bar code through their cell phone, they also have the option of having it sent via email or downloading it from the service’s Web site.


Once a shopper is enrolled, they receive weekly offers (no charge for calls or the service) from brand manufacturers. Unilever, Masterfoods, P&G are among the companies participating in the test program.


In addition to receiving pre-set coupons, consumers also have the ability to request discounts by product category.


Moderator’s Comment: How will cell phone and related technologies change how consumers shop? What impact will it have on how retailers communicate with
their customers?

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7 Comments on "Sainsbury Cells Coupons"


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Rick Moss
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

I think we just experienced a sighting of a rare Warrenosaurus. Believe me, Warren…younger consumers will feel very comfortable with using text messaging functions on their cell phones. (My daughter’s cell phone bill is testament enough for me.) And cell phones have been around long enough that the original 20-somethings users are now 30-somethings… the typical time-starved consumers looking for convenient options. I believe it could be readily adopted, especially if it works as a push-through to their phones so they get constant reminders. (Now if they could only engage a GPS in the phones so the couponers know when the customer is walking down the right aisle…)

Jeff Weitzman
Guest
Jeff Weitzman
15 years 5 months ago
As you can imagine, being in the internet coupon business, we’re talking to companies all the time about these types of programs. One thing to keep in mind is that coupons are far more prevalent here than elsewhere in the world. That is a factor when considering how many people are already getting coupons, and how their coupon habits have already been established. But a far greater factor, I think, is the checkout line. US retailers are obsessed with keeping that line moving. If a regular coupon doesn’t scan, the manufacturer is charged an extra fee. Anything that slows down the checkout clerk is not going to fly. Imagine 78% of the shoppers (the percentage of people who use coupons at least sometimes when they shop) having to find the coupons on their cell phones, hand over the phone to the clerk, and wait while the clerk tries to get a good scan off their reflective screens. Then flipping to the next coupon and starting again. Chaos. Finally, most of these systems require a scanner… Read more »
Karen Kingsley
Guest
Karen Kingsley
15 years 5 months ago

I don’t think this will change the way people shop. It’s just a different delivery mechanism. The thing that might change the way people shop is the use of RFID and GPS; however, consumer resistance make these more problematic.

I was wishing for this technology yesterday when I found myself in Manhattan trying to locate the nearest Web Cafe. It would have been convenient to call in and ask the phone to locate my whereabouts and tell me where to go. That will change shopping. Coupon delivery is coupon delivery – this just makes it more convenient.

Warren Thayer
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

As I write this, 89% of you, in that little poll above, think this system will be in widespread use in five years. Well, I may be in the nursing home by then anyway. I learn a lot from this site but, boy, does it make me feel like a dinosaur sometimes. I’m one of the folks who can’t program the VCR, and whose cell phone once took it upon itself to call my boss 11 times in a half hour without my knowing it. This sounds like a helluva lot of hassle to save a half a buck.

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

If the “cost per click” is kept reasonable, and the results are trackable, consumer product manufacturers will pay for almost any kind of promotion. Most lucrative: encouraging trials of new products and expanding market share by offering deals to consumers who buy competitive brands. If you are the brand manager for Majewski Cat Food and can prove that 10,000 Iams buyers tried your product and 2,000 converted to using Majewski afterward, why not participate? But if the cost per click (including related advertising) is $14 and the lifetime value of a new customer is $9, forget it.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

Are mobile phone companies in cahoots with every retailer and manufacturer on the planet? I may be the last person standing still resisting the siren call of the mobile phone but apart from using it for keeping in touch with husband and children when I’m out and about, or handy in case of emergency, I never use mine. I can just barely cope with receiving a text message and have not yet learned how to send one. Nor do I anticipate changing this pattern for reasons of personal communication let alone sales and marketing communication.

However I do understand the attraction and can see how people would love to be offered bargains whenever and wherever they happen to be. Presumably someone has to pay for these messages and calls, though, so it seems to be a bottomless goldmine for the phone companies. I can’t see anything to stop them trying to encourage more and more similar usage.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 5 months ago
Interesting (or at least I think so) potential for looking at the generations here. My mother, nearly 80, has always been an inveterate coupon clipper. Early on, because she needed every savings she could achieve; more recently out of habit and because it’s a challenge to walk out of the grocery store, laden with stuff she may or may not need, without having spent anything (and she has done it more than once). Although her kids have insisted she has a mobile phone, we have yet to convince her it should ever be switched on, ready to use should she ever need it. On the other hand, my kids couldn’t survive without their mobiles and are constantly sending or receiving messages whether verbal or text. But I can’t imagine any of them caring less about coupons and can even less imagine any of them going the least bit out of their way or spending an extra penny to access them (heaven help any company that tried to charge them for a call or message just… Read more »
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