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Mobile Coupons Garner Interest, Bring in Younger Customers

Mobile Coupons Garner Interest, Bring in Younger Customers

Want to increase your transaction size by about 400 percent? Linda Roark can tell you how.

Thanks to a mobile coupon program she implemented at her store, Pete’s Ace Hardware in Castro Valley, Calif., last summer, Roark has done just that.

Her original goal simply was to bring younger customers into her store. She knew the key move would be to change the way she advertised.

“While we have our circulars and send out emails, we knew mobile advertising was the latest thing and the best way to attract the younger demographic,” she says. “I read a study that said people with smartphones are picking them up 200 times a day. I knew advertising in a way that consumers could see ads on their smartphones was the best way to reach out to the younger consumers.”

She thought of her own experience grocery shopping, where she could access mobile coupons through the store’s app. “I loved that experience, and I wanted to see if there was a way I could create something similar in my store.”

She got in touch with FunMobility, a California company that created a mobile coupon program for her to use at her store.

Customers can opt in to receive the coupon by texting “PETES” to the store’s account number. The program sends a text message near the beginning of each month with a link to the store’s three mobile coupons for that month.

“It seems people respond better to a text message than they do even to email, so this was the best way for us to go,” Roark says. “This allows us to advertise on the same level as businesses that have much bigger advertising budgets than what my store has.”

She advertised the opportunity to opt in through in-store signage, print advertising and the store’s Facebook page.

Within the first three months of the program, about 500 customers had opted in, and her average transaction size went from about $18 to between $75 and $85. In October, Roark had 458 transactions where customers used one of her most popular coupons, $10 off any purchase of $50 or more.

While that coupon is consistently offered, the other two coupons change monthly. For example, one of the coupons for November was for a free rake with a $40 garden purchase.

She can even build her own coupons. “If I’m having unseasonably warm or cold weather or we have an overstock on some type of merchandise, I can create a coupon and send it out to all the people who have opted to be on our list.”

The coupons can be used multiple times, too. “My thought is, if someone needs cleaning supplies, they can buy them as easily at their grocery store as they can here, so saving $10—by spending $50—may be enough reason for them to come to my store,” Roark says.

If you want to try a mobile coupon program, Roark’s advice is simple: Don’t underestimate the program’s power.

“Mobile couponing puts my little Ace store out there on the forefront of someone’s mind,” she says. “All the big businesses, like Target and Home Depot, are working on this type of advertising. This puts our name out there and helps us get new, younger customers.”

About Liz Lichtenberger

Liz Lichtenberger
Liz is the features editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and trends, visits retailers, and attends industry events. She graduated from Xavier University, where she earned a degree in English and Spanish and was a member of the swim team. Liz is a Louisville, Kentucky, native who lives in Indianapolis with her husband and daughter. She enjoys swimming, reading, doing home improvement projects around her house and cheering on her two favorite basketball teams, the Kentucky Wildcats and the Xavier Musketeers.