#retail loves paper vouchers, here’s why.

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You may have seen one of these vouchers, basically the big three supermarkets daily check their prices against the other two.  If your shopping could have been lower from either of them then you are given a voucher against the amount you would have saved.  It’s a nice feel good voucher….

…question is, have you ever redeemed it?

I’m going to take a huge punt here and say that, at a guess, 70% of these vouchers go out of date, get thrown away or are still pinned to the fridge and that’s how exactly the supermarkets want it.

The psychology of the shopper….

I think there’s something we have to remember here, this is not about the “power of the consumer” that the press, online and ecommerce sites want us to believe, shareholder value is key and that’s really the end of it.   Supermarkets are the masters of customer psychology from the very second we walk in and right up to the second we leave.

Impulse purchases are much easier in store and not online, you have way too much time to think online and less distraction.

So what about these mobile coupons?

With uVoucher the aim was to effectively get the message out about distressed stock, time limited deals within a very tight timeframe.  I’ve watched the rise, rise, rise, plummet of Groupon. I’ve watched the rise, rise, can’t raise finance of Foursquare. I’ve watched Facebook make a mess of coupons too.

Do you know the one thing a retailer hates to do, discount. It’s the last resort.  Regardless of what medium.

It’s all in the barcode.

In the picture above you’ll see a 1D barcode, no 2D or QR codes here. They scan well the good old 1D’s and the tie in legacy point of sale systems perfectly too. Passbook for iPhone was good but that’s just the phone side of things sorted out. Retails still haven’t caught up on the scanning side of things or the back office process of all these coupon codes. Lest we forget the binders of A4 sheets of paper that retailer had to send back to Groupon as evidence of redemptions.

So all in all…..

Retailers want you to forget about vouchers, mobile couponing has an awfully long way to go (yeah I learned a lot).  I, like many others, gave it a go and it didn’t work out. I tried, can’t say more than that.  Retailers really want you in store, so they can sell to you properly.

Voucher startups, it’s as simple as this. If you don’t own a POS company then it’s going to be very hard.

Me and my Moleskin are off for another think….. 🙂



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