Kmart (NASDAQ:SHLD) is using its database of mobile phone numbers to push out mobile coupons and offers via text message—and not only to drive sales directly, but also to encourage app downloads, according to Mobile Commerce Daily.
In late June, the chain sent out a text message to customers who had opted in, offering them a $5-off-$50-purchase coupon in exchange for clicking a link. That link took the customer to a landing page containing a half-dozen different offers and coupons for grocery, apparel, household and other departments when shopping in-store. Customers can also rate the offers and share them by Facebook, Twitter and e-mail.
On Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhones, customers can also store the time-sensitive coupons in Passbook and see more information about the offers, as well as be prompted to download Kmart's iPhone app.
But it's the use of the much more lowbrow text messages to push out the coupons that's most interesting here. Kmart and its corporate stablemate Sears have never had a reputation for having the most sophisticated or elegant omnichannel strategies—the Sears culture tends more toward "try anything and see what works," with projects often cobbled together as inexpensively as possible.
But that's something of a virtue here. SMS text messages are as near to universal as anything in mobile (short of an actual phone call). Any smartphone with a web browser can use a texted link to see a coupon, while many feature phones can forward the link to a conventional e-mail account on a PC with web access. That lowest-common-denominator approach gives Kmart the biggest potential bang for its M-Commerce effort.
- See this Mobile Commerce Daily story
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