Commentary

The Mobile Bargain?

  • by , September 10, 2007
"Do you have any coupons?" This is a common retail question that has recently been undergoing a facelift. With the introduction of clip-free coupons and store specific cards, customers fumbling through wallets or frantically searching key chains for their 'extra care' or 'fresh idea' card is an all too familiar retail scenario. As someone who works part time at local drug store, I frequently notice that loyalty card searches, teamed with even more wallet digging in search of Sunday paper coupons, turn a simple transaction into a shopping nightmare accompanied with long lines and quick tempers. But wait, it gets better with the introduction of mobile coupons. . . or does it? A new concept that may be hitting cell phones near you sooner than you think. Yes, coupons sent directly to consumer cell phones via text messaging or uploaded from company Web sites. (link) With this "convenient" addition to everyday purchasing, what exactly would it mean for your retail experience? From my perspective as a clerk, it could mean longer lines for customers (and thereby grumpier customers) and more headaches. Of course, you may save a few quarters or get a free sample of the new flavored water, but is it really worth it? I have to wonder if the experience it creates in the store will outweigh the benefits for consumers. In a fast-paced and security conscious society this will be an interesting concept to follow as its popularity spreads or quickly flops

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