Recently, CodeBroker, developer of mobile marketing solutions for retailers, announced that it was awarded its fourth patent (US PAT 9,015,277). The patent is related to the Codebroker mobile coupon platform and helps retailers minimize coupon fraud. The mobile coupon software enables retailers to deliver multiple copies of the same offer to a consumer via different delivery channels (e.g., SMS, Passbook, email, mobile web, etc.) that are associated with a consumer’s user profile. After one copy of the offer has been redeemed – presented during checkout either online or in person, the offer is marked as used in all of the channels.
CodeBroker offers a variety of solutions for keeping in contact with customers - these include SMS messaging, mobile app couponing, and QR code support and more. The technology is slick, and I’ve found it to work seamlessly in the real world.
CodeBroker has been in business for 8 years and counts Target, Advance Auto Parts, Capital One, Bed Bath and Beyond among its clients, according to the company website.
Dan Slavin is the CEO and founder, and has an degree in EE from Yale, and an MBA from Harvard. The Bar Code News spoke with Slavin about the company.
Q: Is this technology only suitable for large companies?
A: (Slavin) We’ve had experience with companies of a lot of different sizes, and have seen positive results across all size companies, but we choose to start at the top of the market and work our way down. When we began, CodeBroker was looking at the leading edge retailers who were exploring new technologies. We actually started off thinking we were going to serve small retailers, but found it took the same energy to serve the larger retailers and stuck with that.
Q: Where should a retailer start with respect to developing a mobile campaign to stay in touch with its customers?
A: “Typically clients start with one of two channels - either a smartphone app, or with SMS (text messaging). If they are delivering with SMS, you need to build a list (spamming is illegal). CodeBrokerS has good tools for building lists and we've been able to help clients sign up over 20,000 users a day."
Q: How long to roll out a launch?
A: “It depends on complexity, but generally a couple months for a large retailer, but it could be as quick as a few hours for a smaller retailer.
Q: Is CB or the retailer handling the technology?
A: “100% of the interactions are done by us. The retailer does not have to operate the system. The retailer does the setup, but the system is managed and operated by CodeBroker."
Slavin said that it works for clients both big and small, and cited one of CodeBroker’s clients who stated that "it is best way to create urgency among their most engaged customers.”
I have personally used the system for one of the above chain stores, not knowing it was driven by CodeBroker. It appeared to be handled by the retailer itself. An SMS coupon got me 15% off discount on the purchase of an item. I have to say, it felt very good to use the discount offer, and saved me a little over $10, and it was easy, just showing the code to the clerk at the register.
While SMS is certainly a form of “interruption marketing,” and I don’t always use the text messages I get, I don’t mind getting a few a month. Happily, the vendor does not text or email me every single day. I’ve had that relationship and I always end up stopping those - they’re just too intrusive. Slavin said that businesses have to be very, very careful about using SMS. “Once a week is a lot”, and he recommended sending a maximum of about 6 SMS messages a month.
On redemption rates: on demand coupons can pull 30 to 50% (even when sent to hundreds of thousands of customers), smartphone apps can generate 8 to 10%, and then the next level below is an SMS push, often yielding 3% to 8% response. Reminders have been effective too.
Some of the other patents that the company has relate to customizing bar code images for particular displays and techniques for providing electronic representation cards.
What was the original inspiration to launch the company? "I thought it’d be interesting to have consumers walk up to a cashier and scan coupons on their cellphone."
Those of us at the Point of Sale News totally agree!
Images courtesy of CodeBroker
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