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Sheri Hebbeln
 
August 21, 2014 | Demand Generation , eCommerce | Sheri Hebbeln

Will mobile coupons help your online wine store?

As smartphones and tablets take over a good portion of people's lives, a wine merchant can stand to benefit under the right circumstances. Given that mobile devices are commandeering many functions that were previously held to print or other media, there are other aspects of retail that have the potential of being useful to an online wine store as a way to drive in customers. A great way to do this is to look into coupons. Previously limited to print until fairly recently, coupons are starting to make an impact on mobile devices in various ways and can yield effective results, especially on vintages that aren't selling particularly well.

The rise of the coupons
According to the Mobile Marketing Association, mobile coupons function the same way as their print predecessors, with the key difference being the means of distribution. Mobile coupons are often received either through SMS, MMS, Bluetooth, email and mobile ads. They can then be redeemed the same way as online coupons by punching in a code at checkout or simply running a link through to the site checkout and adding it automatically.

Mobile coupons, much like the devices they are found on, have begun to see massive growth as marketers and retailers start harnessing them. In a recent report by telecommunications research firm Juniper Research, around 560 million people around the world use mobile coupons for everyday use. However, they expect it to grow to more than 1 billion by the year 2019. In the U.S., at least 47.1 million smartphone users will redeem these coupons in 2014, as reported by Business Insider. This correlates with an increase in mobile commerce's market share from 3 percent in 2010 to 11 percent in 2013, contributing to $18.6 billion in consumer spending.

How to better hold your inventory
There are many ways to make mobile coupons useful when you sell wine online. The most basic form of this can be through a discount. If you have a bottle of chemin blanc that you wish to sell, any coupon that reduces the cost of a bottle or case or creating a buy-one-get-one free deal can be a great way of going about doing that. You can also create a deduction when a person buys a few bottles of different varieties after reaching a certain threshold. The most useful strategy, however, is making coupons related to shipping: While you may not be able to offer free shipping, you can have a deal where buying a certain amount or variety of wine will include shipping into the cost.

There are multiple benefits to using coupons, even mobile ones, as a general rule. For one, they drive consumers to your store, which can inspire them to purchase more than what they expected to. That alone can greatly improve overall sales, especially when combined with a well-designed ecommerce site. They also add value to a purchase, which incites the consumer to purchase more than what they would usually, especially when he or she tries to load up his or her wine cellar with new wines. They can also allow you to test out new vintages to the market.

More importantly, though, mobile coupons have distinct advantages over their print pioneers. The main benefit is that they are far easier to store and redeem. That has allowed a redemption rate of approximately 10 percent, trumping the typical print redemption rate of 1 percent. More importantly, you can store customer data through these coupon purchases. Building this database can be incredibly effective in managing your business over the long term, including developing plans for what to plant and what to bottle.

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