It would appear that there is a universal method available that retailers can use in conjunction with existing point-of-sale systems after all to accept mobile coupons, as I outlined the issues with smartphones and barcode scanners earlier this week. The California-based company mobeam is credited with the breakthrough. It has a patented light based communications technology that beams barcoded content such as coupons, gift cards, and loyalty cards directly into existing traditional barcode scanners.
The May 2011 Bensimon Byrne consumerology report suggests that 36% of Canadians use coupons all of the time or often. 28% of women said that the Internet (ranked second highest behind flyers) was their primary source for coupons versus 21% of men. If the Internet is a somewhat attractive place for coupons, you can bet mobile will be as well. Also, 79% of respondents strongly or somewhat agreed that using coupons or group discount/deal-of-the-day sites were a smart way to shop.
Not only that, half of Canadian consumers report using coupons now more than before the recession- a figure that’s increased substantially among women, younger and low income consumers as the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen.
Currently, Toronto-based Clip Mobile offers a location-based solution to find coupons in your area that are redeemed using a code where one shows their phone to the cashier but it appears mobeam is a more integrated and versatile solution.
Mobeam says there is some “Canadian business” in the pipeline, but nothing they can discuss right away. The company did receive 4.9 million dollars in funding from yet2Ventures, Samsung Ventures and Mitsui among others on October 3rd.
The company’s CEO, Chris Sellers says: “mobeam’s technology addresses virtually every POS environment. Not only is mobeam the only way to use light to interact with a laser scanner, our technology can also simultaneously display 2D images and initiate NFC transmission, making it possible for retailers, brands and device manufacturers to rethink mobile commerce. Mobeam is solving a significant problem for consumers, brands, retailers and every other player along the retail value chain. The potential for mobeam’s light based communications technology- from mobile couponing to ticketing to mobile content promises to be a tremendous industry game changer”.
They are seeking partnerships with mobile handset manufacturers, consumer packaged goods companies, retailers and POS infrastructure providers.