“Cellfire says its redemption rate for mobile coupons is 15 to 20 percent. Paper coupons, by comparison, have redemption rates lower than 1 percent.”
The article alludes to a couple reasons for this disparity. First, mobile coupon services are “opt-in” programs and are thus sent to self-selecting coupon-seekers who can customize the offerings they receive. In contrast, print coupons are mass distributed to readers who may or may not be interested.
Second, using print coupons can be perceived as embarrassing for certain demographics. It is difficult to imagine younger consumers cashing in 20-cent coupons for groceries (an example used by the Times reporter). Scanning your IPhone, on the other hand, may let the under-40 demographic save a few cents while preserving their dignity.
The success of mobile coupon providers will put more pressure on the late-adopter automotive services industry, which still relies on physical mailers for coupons and does not provide basic online service offerings. Given that regular-old online coupons are just gaining in popularity on dealership web sites, the use of mobile coupons is probably a ways off. But as other retail sectors continue to advance their offerings, pressure will continue to mount on dealerships and other repair facilities.