Target shoppers can now receive coupons directly sent to their mobile phones via an opt-in service. Smartphones have been able to provide this service for quite some time, but the first national chain to exploit them has announced
To receive the service from Target, savings-enthusiasts can either go to http://m.target.com or text COUPONS to 827438. Once a member, the shopper receives a text message consisting of a link to a mobile web page that contains multiple offers, all accessible from a single barcode. This barcode is single-use and expires on an indicated date.
The strategy takes advantage of two trends - coupon use is on the rise since our economy took a dive, and the uses of mobile phones is expanding into more categories than ever. But this is the first time that a national chain store has committed to such a program, and is currently the only one that can scan these codes at the register.
Every month, new coupons will be made available on Target's mobile site as old ones expire. The savings can be used at any Target retail store, but CNET reports that they cannot be used at Target.com. While there is no explanation for this service omission on the press release, the general intention of the program is to make mobile coupons a seamless experience. “At Target, we know that mobile phones are an integral part of our guests’ lives, and mobile coupons are just another way we’re providing convenient, on-the-go shopping solutions,” said Steve Eastman, president of Target.com.
CNET mentions also that J.C. Penny is currently testing a similar program.
Brad Gilligan of NPR's blog sighs with relief at the idea of no longer having to clip magazines to get savings. In addition to the mobile coupons, Target is expanding its mobile support to include gift card access, product viewing and availability, gift registry and other functions.