Long after Groupon’s heyday, the number of digital coupons being issued is higher than you might think – and it keeps going up.

In fact, thanks to retailers’ commitment to providing a personalized experience, the number of digital coupons released every year is likely to grow by 60 per cent over the next five years, from nearly 225 billion in 2016 to more than 360 billion by 2021, according to a new report by Hampshire, U.K.-based tech research firm Juniper Research Ltd.

“As retail becomes an ever more connected experience, brands and retailers are increasingly seeking to extend their engagement with consumers, moving beyond creating awareness and facilitating payment, to a deeper and richer integration of loyalty programs,” author Lauren Foye writes in the report, which was released on Oct. 24.

“This in turn has seen digital coupons evolve from being [a] means of driving consumers to storefronts to being a core element of promoting and reinforcing brand loyalty,” she writes.

Simply put, thanks to a mix of social media, loyalty programs, beacons, and chatbots, retailers can – and do – provide customers with a greater volume of coupons than ever before, Foye writes, citing examples such as Apple Inc., which uses its iBeacon platform to regularly transmit packets of data that can be picked up by smartphones, and ride sharing giant Uber, which through its Local Offers program gives customers one loyalty point for every dollar spent on merchandise at participating stores.

Though each channel is powerful on its own, they’re best used in tandem, she writes. After all, certain customers prefer receiving SMS messages over email, while others favour in-app delivery.

“Juniper believes that the key is not to only provide coupons via the most popular channel, but instead to offer consumers choice, as needs and desires vary,” Foye writes.

This proliferation of multi-platform content then contributes to retailers’ personalization efforts. For example, as each consumer brings their loyalty cards from one retailer to another, marketers can quickly build a profile of their habits and preferences, making it easier for companies to ensure their latest offering is tailored to that user’s needs.

Such technology can also help companies target users while they’re in the vicinity of their favourite brands, Foye writes, helping drive impulse purchases. For example, Major League Baseball (MLB) uses in-stadium beacons to share game highlights, team information, and deals on merchandise and refreshments with fans.

Readers interested in learning more can download the report, after creating a user profile, from Juniper’s website.

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