Cutting Coupons: Now a Frivolous Pastime

By BKV in Mobile on May 19th, 2010

Whether we like it — or even admit it — we have all become victim to the need for instant gratification and instantaneous results.  Real-time information can be easily obtained, and this changes the playing field.  How people consume information, how people learn things about each other, how people stay current, and most of all, how immediately we demand all of the above has changed. You know what I'm talking about—maybe it is the frustration you feel when using an older relative's computer where a page takes over 30 seconds to load!  Then there is the frustration when an e-mail is not responded to within the hour (and that is being generous).  Technology has made it so that when we see what we want, we get what we want; at that exact moment.  Patience is very much a thing of the past.  We see a movie on TV that we want, a song or a book we like, and instantly we download it. That being said, it is surprising that coupons took so long to hop on this "instantaneous internet/mobile bandwagon."  But they have — and are becoming a huge success.  Here is how these new coupons work.  They involve zero commitment, and they differ every day.  You receive an e-mail or a text message telling you the deal of the day, and then have a certain time to purchase that deal. Only one product is available for sale at any given time and each product is only available for 24 hours. At midnight (US Central time), the product is replaced by a different product. If a product sells out before then, a "Sold Out" message is displayed until the next day's product goes up.  The coupon is then on your cell phone for up to three months, ready to be used the instant you purchase it. Woot.com pioneered the "one deal per day" business model that is now used by several sites across the internet, but now there are a ton of companies like ScoutMob, HalfoffDepot, and Ideeli which are using the same framework. Now let's take that one step further... Companies are beginning to send people ads tailored to their location, like a coupon for a cappuccino when passing a coffee shop.  The North Face's new campaign, which starts this month, is the first to single out customers depending on where they are physically. The campaign was designed by a company called Placecast, a location-based mobile ad company in San Francisco. Utilizing a technology called geo-fencing, a virtual perimeter is drawn around a particular location. When someone steps into the geo-fenced area, a text message is sent to both smartphones and non- smart-phones, but only if consumers have opted in to receive messages.   And, consumers can opt-in to receiving text messages in multiple ways-at the store, online, via text-message, mobile website or on Facebook. It seems the days of coupon clipping as we know it are over…