By Chuck Martin
More routine shopping activity is migrating to mobile.
As consumers continuously shop throughout The Mobile Shopping Life Cycle, various actions that have been done one way for a long time are gradually being transformed and automated, thanks to mobile technology.
Rather than checking product prices in a newspaper or desktop search, shoppers are doing it on the spot while in stores.
Rather than clipping paper coupons at home before heading to the store, consumers are moving to mobile coupons, as I wrote about here yesterday (More Coupons Finding Mobile Shoppers).
Retailers and brands are starting to use beaconing to reach customers with more relevant messaging as they roam the aisles.
Earlier this week, the newly named CurrentC, a massive merchant network, announced its intent to launch a service among its members to facilitate mobile payments with coupons automatically applied to purchases.
Next week, Apple will announce some form of mobile payments, according to countless reports.
Mobile capabilities in the form of numerous new apps from both new and established companies reinvent how something can be done
In many cases, the initial habit is very ingrained and can take years to evolve. Paper coupons still dominate and most people still pay with cash or credit card, as just two examples.
However, the pattern of all things commerce moving to mobile is clear.
And now comes the loyalty card, which magically contains various offers and coupons cashed in at checkout.
Catalina, the company that long ago pioneered in-store, mobile scanning at supermarkets like Stop & Shop, is buying Cellfire, a large, digital coupons company whose heritage is in getting those digital coupons onto cards used in more than 20,000 stores.
The key is that there’s a wealth of information linked to loyalty cards, and the idea is to provide CPG companies with a way to get coupons and offers that really matter to the right grocery shopper in real time.
Like clipping paper coupons and paying with credit cards or cash, most loyalty members still use plastic cards.
“Most consumers are using their loyalty card when they shop,” Todd Morris, president of Catalina U.S., told me yesterday.
Rather than simply utilizing location information, Catalina taps into its knowledge about household specific buying behaviors.
“We track buying history on scale,” says Morris, noting that Catalina gathers data on 280 million shoppers a month. “The card is really just an identifier.”
That’s the key.
With the now larger Catalina, grocery shoppers in many more stores will be able to identify themselves and receive coupons digitally, which will likely further reduce clipping those paper coupons at home.
On any given shopping trip, a consumer may forget or misplace that plastic card, but will most certainly have their phone.
And that will be the new identifier.
Chuck Martin is Editor of the mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk column. He is the author of “Mobile Influence,” “The Third Screen,” and “The Smartphone Handbook.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute. Chuck Martin is a frequent Mobile Keynote Speaker and Mobile Marketing Speaker internationally. He also addresses Social Media in Mobile.