Mobile couponing: the next step for Europe?

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phone scanning barcodeThe concept of mobile couponing is increasing in popularity in the US, especially among the younger generation. A recent study by Honeywell found that two thirds of 18-34 year olds in the US would be receptive to receiving and redeeming bar-coded coupons via their mobile phones.
Barcode scanning technology is advancing globally, providing retailers with increasingly new and exciting ways to target their audience. Area-imaging scanners, for example, that can read barcodes from mobile phone displays, are now enabling consumers to receive and redeem coupons on their mobile phones via email or text message. Retailers scan the coupon directly from the digital display of the consumers mobile device at the point of sale, which eliminates the need to carry paper print outs.
The million dollar question is: to what extent is mobile couponing likely to see the same enthusiastic response in Europe? Andrew Donn, Regional Sales Director Northern Europe at Honeywell Scanning & Mobility, comments, Mobile couponing is highly suited to the US market, and there are a number of reasons for that. He continues, The US retail scene has a more advanced coupon culture than Europe does, in terms of special offers and promotions. This side of the Atlantic, were not so used to seeing special offers on paper tickets, we prefer to get our offers online.
Having said that, were seeing growing interest in mobile couponing in Europe. Mobile commerce is taking off more as a whole, and were working with airlines such as Lufthansa on mobile tickets. A lot of people who fly now dont bother with paper tickets; its easier to just take their mobiles. This is a phenomenon thats easy to apply to couponing. Whether or not Europe already had a coupon culture, by sending offers to mobiles, retailers give their customers an effortless way to cash in on special offers, so theyre more likely to spend their money with them, added Donn.
Honeywell has recently started to work with fast food chains on mobile couponing solutions. Scanners equipped with 2D imaging to read barcodes from mobile phones will mean that outlets will be able to send special offers to customers using mobile phones, which will be redeemable via scanning at the till.
Donn concludes, It makes sense for mobile couponing to take off in Europe. Everyone has a mobile phone, so passing up opportunities to target people this way is wasting a valuable resource. In fact, a wide spectrum of diverse businesses and retailers are now investigating mobile-based solutions to target consumers. And why not use technology to reach out to them?

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