Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mobile Coupons- good for buyers, good for sellers

Article: Mobile coupons help retailers track customers from the Washington Post.

Mobile coupons- "ads" you get on your cell phone or PDA- are growing in popularity. There are some critics who feel that these coupons take too much of the buyer's personal information and give it to the retailers. Supporters claim that these new, very personalized, ads help retailers give buyers more of what they want, and less of what they don't. (As a single, childless woman, why do I need to get coupons for diapers, baby formula, or men's anti-persperant?)

A growing number of retailers are marrying this data with information discovered online and off, such as guesses about your age, sex and income, your buying history, what Web sites you've visited, and your current location or geographic routine -- creating profiles of customers that are more detailed than ever, according to marketing companies.
The department stores, grocery stores and fast-food outlets that have begun to use mobile marketing say this information will allow them to provide customers with truly useful, personalized offers in a world where they are constantly bombarded with advertisements.
Can digital ads take advantage of buyers? The potential is there. Watchdog groups and regulations will need to be put into place to make sure eager companies don't take the new and growing opportunities too far. But it will also be up to the individual buyers to make sure they read the fine print when they sign up for such services, and protect their own personal information. What is important to block and protect for one person, will not hold true for the next.

In my opinion, at this point in the game, retailers are not yet taking full advantage of the customized options. They don't go far enough! It is my belief that it is still a cost-effectiveness point. It is not yet to the seller's advantage to spend the money to truly personalize ads to me. I'd like to see (under a watchdog) mobile ads grow further! I would love to walk into a store, and my gps alert the store that I am there, and the store let me know [on my phone] what sales or products may be of interest specifically to me!
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