Are Mobile Coupons Finally Ready for Prime Time?

Smartphone owners are more interested in receiving coupons on their handsets than getting other kinds of mobile come-ons, according to figures released today by It’s just the latest evidence that while mobile advertising as a whole is slowly gaining traction, mobile coupons may be about to take off in a big way.
Compete found that grocery coupons were the most attractive of 10 types of mobile marketing ploys, with 36 percent of U.S. smartphone owners saying there were interested in receiving the discount offers on their handsets. Twenty-nine percent said they wanted to scan barcodes with their phones, while only 15 percent were interested in receiving text message ads.
Interestingly, Compete’s findings come just days after the launch of what may be the nation’s biggest mobile-coupon campaign: Target (s tgt) this week began delivering mobile coupons that can be scanned at the retail counter. Consumers can visit the retailer’s mobile web site or text the word COUPONS to the short code 827438 (TARGET) to opt in and receive a link to a mobile web page containing multiple offers accessible through a single barcode.
Mobile coupons have been around for the better part of a decade but have failed to really take off thanks to a lack of widespread retail support and a user experience that is often intolerable. The market is positioned to pick up some serious momentum in the next few years, though, according to a recent report from Juniper Research, which expects it to exceed 300 million people worldwide by 2014. That forecast might look modest if Target’s campaign gets legs and other nationwide retailers follow suit.
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Image courtesy Flickr user Joe Pemberton.