Commentary

The Mobile Nudge: Gently Edging the Customer On

Woman-punping-gas-BIt may be the small incentives via mobile that drive consumers to spend more at retail.

There are the big deals, like a half-off-the-price sale, that can drive a consumer to a location and cause a sale.

But there also are small deals that, with a little customer push, can drive shoppers on site to buy more.

For example, a gas station and convenience store chain in Canada found that by sending a mobile offer of 10 cents off per gallon to customers on site, it could drive up to almost a third of motorists at its pumps into the stores.

Another chain, U.S. National Oil and Gas Inc., has been sending mobile coupons to customers as they pull up to a store. If their Wi-Fi is on, motorists receive a mobile offer when they come within a 300-foot radius.

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These offers generally involve small incentives, like cents off on gas, but they cause customers to go into the store, where they can be sent additional offers, driving incremental sales.

As mobile commerce evolves, the sophistication level of targeted marketing is increasing.

The power is the context and relevance of the small consumer push.

A supermarket shopper could be sent an on-the-spot coupon based on what they just scanned.

When a shopper is looking at their shopping list or recipe on their phone, they can see which items have associated coupons, a feature recently introduced by Coupons.com.

The point is, these are very small but highly relevant incentives for consumers based on their exact location and current activity.

Rather than a grand scheme to conceive of ways to drive more sales, it may just take a little mobile nudge.

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2 comments about "The Mobile Nudge: Gently Edging the Customer On".
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  1. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, April 1, 2013 at 9:58 a.m.

    My research leads me to be very suspicious of this type of untargeted incentive. A lot of the coupons will be going to repeat buyers and so the offer increasingly resembles a standard price cut. But there's more hassle for customers than with a price cut, making it less effective in ROI.

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, April 1, 2013 at 10:02 a.m.

    Good point Pete, though over time one would expect the targeting technology would take into account previous behaviors/purchases and maybe use different offers based on the person. Seems the incentive at the moment is more to get the consumer into the store from the gas pump.

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