Consumers Warm To Location-Based Coupons

Smartphone CouponIf you can help someone save money, they may not mind being pushed a contextually relevant coupon on their smartphone. In fact, many seem ready to share their location with a retailer in order to get the savings.

According to a survey of mobile users by Prosper Mobile Insights, 67% of a 348-person sample somewhat/strongly agree that location-based coupons on a mobile device are "convenient and useful." 42.2% say they have already used a mobile coupon of some kind.

There are still security worries among mobile shoppers, however, as 44.8% say they are concerned about having a retailer track their whereabouts. Still, the clear majority did not show special concern over security problems with geolocation.

Over a quarter -- 25.6% -- said they would prefer to get mobile coupons automatically when they are near the relevant store. The majority (51.1%), however, prefer coupons sent to smartphones by the most familiar route, email.

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But 31% were willing to get them by SMS and 39.9% to scan a QR code in a store in order to get their savings. The mobile check-in remains a niche activity -- only 10.3% prefer this route, and it is the least popular mode for triggering.

The promise of mobile couponing is clear when you consider that only 18.1% of respondents said they didn't want to receive these messages at all on their device.

The prospects for location-aware coupon pushes may have gotten a boost this week when Apple unveiled several features in its iOS 5 operating system that uses geography to trigger events and track people: its Find My Friends app uses geolocation to locate members in an opted-in group. A new Reminders functionality associates tasks with geography and has their device send a reminder alert as they approach the designated spot.

Alistair Goodman, CEO of Placecast, which provides geo-fenced marketing alert service to retailers and carriers, says that Apple's inclusion of the technology will encourage more third-party development.

"Developers often take cues from Apple' native apps on what types of services could be approved and supported," he states. "If the Reminders app takes off, there will be a new wave of geofence apps as developers look to differentiate from one another in the App Store."

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