LSA|14: Mobile Opening Up a New World of Deals and Coupons

Laura Rich, CEO of Street Fight, moderated a vibrant discussion about how digital offers and couponing is helping consumers and advertisers in an increasingly mobile landscape.  The panel participants included Mike Bidgoli, vice president, product, LivingSocial; Christian Gaiser, CEO, Bonial International Group, Retale; and Ben Smith, CEO, Wanderful Media.

The panelists agreed that businesses need to transition their approaches to take advantage of the power of mobile.

“Retailers were originally taking print circulars and sticking them on websites,” said Smith from Wonderful Media.  Smith said that today, one of the most exciting developments is the ability to push an ad to a consumer at the just the right place and time.

“Go into location services, click that button and it will tell you where you live and where you work … That information is getting better and better.  I might not know for sure that you walked across the threshold of Walgreen’s, but I’m pretty sure you did,” Smith said.

Gaiser of Retale agreed that a shift is needed.  “Most people we talk to think about mobile as an extension of what they’re doing in print.  The first step is to change that and embrace the mobile channel as something with fresh content and something that isn’t necessarily price sensitive.”

Smith agreed that mobile helps push retailers to look beyond price.  “Price is really important in the circular … but it’s not all driven on price.   When you have something unique … the special buy … you run it because it sucks a certain demographic into your store at the right time.  Some of it is driven off of unique availability.”

Bidgoli of LivingSocial agreed that unique products help drive action.  “No one wakes up in the morning saying, yea I’m going to go skydiving today.  Yet when we post a deal we sell hundreds of them.  There’s a huge element of impulse and discovery for us.”

Bidgoli says that LivingSocial recognizes a unique opportunity to build on the sale of a deal to help the advertiser build a long-lasting relationship with the consumer.

“Because you now have claimed a coupon, voucher or offer, the merchant has the right to know who you are.  Once you offer something and you get those rights, then continuing that relationship is something you can now plan.  We’re not going to let them spam you, but we’re going to build tools let them build this longer-lasting relationship,” Bidgoli said.

In term of the future of coupons and deals, Bidgoli said one of the biggest issues in his category is expired vouchers, and that LivingSocial would be addressing that with new voucher guarantees in the near future.

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