Using QR Codes as an Alternative to Location-Based Mobile Coupons

Nov 22, 2011

Vya Staff

11-22-11_thumbLocation-based mobile coupons, those which are automatically delivered to a consumer’s smartphone based on their location, give marketers the opportunity to target consumers with highly relevant offers that they can act upon immediately. However, along with this benefit comes the risk of alienating consumers who feel uncomfortable with the technology. For some people, the thought of receiving location-based mobile coupons makes them feel like they are being watched – creepy. On-site QR codes linked to coupons are an alternative to consider. Instead of a coupon automatically being delivered, the consumer accesses the coupon by scanning the code. This blog is designed to help you sift through your coupon options as you develop your mobile marketing strategy.

What Are Location-Based Mobile Coupons?

Location-based mobile coupons are coupons that are automatically delivered via text message, mobile ads, email, etc to consumers’ smartphones when they near a participating business. Their location is detected through their phone using GPS technology. Consumers opt-into the service by downloading an app to their smartphone or signing up online through their carrier.

Coupon Delivery Options – Advantages and Disadvantages

Although automatically providing coupons for nearby business to a consumer’s smartphone seems like a convenience everyone would want, the data suggests otherwise. According to an October, 2011 survey by Prosper Mobile Insights, (and reported by eMarketer)nearly 45% of those surveyed, when asked about location-based mobile coupons, strongly agreed or somewhat agreed with the statement, “I am concerned about security issues and my location being tracked.”

One way to combat the security issue is to distribute coupons via email. Although this eliminates the location-based security concerns, there are obvious drawbacks. First, with email, you no longer have the on-site, point-of-sale functionality that you get with location-based mobile coupons. In addition, your reach is limited with email. You can only access those consumers whose email you have collected.

QR Codes to the Rescue

QR codes are the happy medium between the two, reducing the security issues of location-based mobile coupons and the logistics of sending email-based coupons. While at the same time, QR codes ensure on-site functionality and allow you to reach a broad base of highly targeted consumers. By posting QR codes at a store, restaurant, or other business, you enable consumers to download coupons to their smartphone, allowing them to get the coupon on-site, right when they need them. QR codes also give you the potential to reach all smartphone-equipped consumers at your location - even if you don’t have their email, even if they haven’t signed-up for location-based services.

Although you are dependent on the consumer to take the action of scanning the QR code at your site, you are providing an option they likely will feel comfortable with. With mobile coupons delivered via QR codes, the consumer can choose on a case-by-case basis whether or not to receive an offer versus automatically getting all offers whenever “big brother” detects they are nearing participating businesses.

In the end

When looking for ways to take advantage of location-based mobile coupons, weigh the advantages against the disadvantages. If consumers are concerned about the security of an automatic delivery, they may not opt-in. But, by simply creating QR codes linked to coupons and placing them strategically on-site, you let consumers have the advantage of choosing to access your coupon without the reservations about their security. QR codes have an unlimited potential of uses, and, with approximately 100 million smartphones being used in the United States alone, the potential is growing. Now is the time to get your offers into the hands of these smartphone users. Why not provide them in a form they feel comfortable with? What’s your opinion on location-based mobile coupons?

* For more information on how to use QR codes effectively, sign-up for QR Code Tips and Tricks.

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Tags: QR Codes, Quick Response Codes

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