Unilever to Test Mobile Coupons

by Deepak Sharma on Friday, May 29, 2009

Unilever is beginning a trial to test a new technology that lets consumers redeem digital coupons by having a supermarket cashier scan their mobile phones. Interest in Mobile coupons is growing day by day and these tests will allow Unilever to understand the use of them.

Unilever to Test Mobile Coupons - WSJ.com

The test, being conducted at a ShopRite store in Hillsborough, N.J., will include discount offers for some of the Anglo-Dutch packaged-goods company's most popular brands, including Breyers ice cream, Dove soap, Hellmann's mayonnaise and Lipton tea. Samplesaint, a Chicago mobile-technology firm, developed the system.

"This has been a Holy Grail thing that people have been trying to figure out," says Marc Shaw, director of integrated marketing at Unilever, the first major marketer to test such a service in the U.S. "I think this is on target for where consumers' heads are at right now."

To get the coupons, customers must visit the Web site Samplesaint.com, from which they can transmit the Unilever discount offers to an Internet-enabled cellphone. At checkout, the cashier scans the bar code on the phone's screen, redeeming the coupon and deleting it from the phone. The test will run for four weeks, and Mr. Shaw says he hopes to see it extended to other stores after that.


I had heard rumors about this kind of digital coupons before, but its pretty cool to see this kind of testing taking place. Mobile coupons seem more realistic on smartphones, but depending on the ease to download them they seem like great ideas for the every day mom.

Nice post.

by Ben Cunningham on 8:46 AM. #

With the pricepoints on phones always decreasing, I think time is on the side of the folks who are planning for most phones to have the screen capabilities and connectivity to handle having barcoded coupons emailed or texted to the phones. I can imagine there will be some backlash from consumers if their coupon doesn't 'work', but as long as the store associate is willing to type in the code if it can't be scanned, then it should work fine.

(Deepak - could you provide your email address so I could contact you directly?)


by Anonymous on 9:39 AM. #

This is already happening elsewhere - yowza is probably the best example so far.

by Anonymous on 8:33 AM. #

This technology has been around for some time. Now it is a matter of usability. A question to think about is what type of product your selling and who is your target audience. For example more than 50% of shopping decisions are done at the retail store, so would the consumer even think to look for a coupon while at the store.

by Shah Karim on 12:46 PM. #