Macy’s is currently upgrading its mobile wallet app so that users can upload coupons and redeem them in-store — a feature that will soon become table stakes for Big Box retailers as they leverage the advantages of digital vs. paper coupons and as mobile gets ingrained in consumer habits. As noted in L2’s new Insight report on Big Box: Mobile, the number of Americans who redeem coupons for online or offline shopping via mobile device is forecast to increase from 78.7 million in 2014 to 104.1 million by 2016, representing 82% of all digital couponers. The percentage of marketers offering mobile coupons is expected to rise to 44.5 percent by 2016, from an estimated 36.5 percent in 2014.
Two best-in-class mobile couponing apps come from Target and Walgreens. Target’s Cartwheel app, introduced in mid-2013, has proved a hit: as of August 2014, it had accumulated 8.5 million users. The Cartwheel site says users have saved a total of $239 million. Walgreens’ mobile app effectively integrates its Balance Rewards loyalty program, automatically applying any clipped coupons once customers scan their mobile card (housed within the app) at the register — a major convenience for members.
As with Walgreens’ app, couponing is generally tied in with loyalty. While several of the biggest brands in Big Box retail have made great strides in using mobile to enhance loyalty, only 45% of brands with a loyalty program in the L2 Index had a supporting mobile app as of November 2014. One standout example is the Shop Your Way app from the Sears Holding Company. Sears and Kmart shoppers can complete purchases with points and coupons, and discover nearby deals and events, which can be sent as “Surprise Points” via push notification.