IMMS Support for Mobile Coupons: A win, win Mobile Service Providers make money, while consumers save

Gone are the days of hand cramps and paper cuts from clipping coupons out of the Sunday paper.  And although some may miss having ink-stained fingertips, most consumers are opting to click their way to savings using mobile coupons, the fast, no-hassle path to modern-day penny pinching.

The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) defines a mobile coupon as “an electronic ticket solicited and/or delivered by mobile phone that can be exchanged for a financial discount or rebate when purchasing a product or service.” There is just one not-so-little piece missing from a general definition that can make mobile couponing mean so much more to the mobile operator.

According to recent data, only one or two percent of consumers redeem paper coupons. The mobile coupon redemption rate on the other hand is 10 times that rate, closer to the 15 percent range. But while consumers bask in the savings and manufacturers roll in the revenue, today’s mobile coupon service providers typically use a data connection to a handset application for the service to work, leaving the mobile operators practically empty handed in the overall revenue stream. Now don’t feel too sorry for them, because rather than supporting an outside mobile coupon middle-man, mobile operators now have another option. Enter the missing piece, Radisys’ Integrated Mobile Media Server (IMMS).

IMMS allows mobile operators to offer and scale mobile coupon services in a way which position the mobile operator as the financial broker for this growing ecosystem. By taking out the middle man, IMMS expands the mobile operator’s revenue opportunity and makes them the key hub between the consumers, retailers and manufacturers. And with researchers projecting that 300 million people will be accessing mobile coupon services by 2014, generating a redemption value close to $6 billion, this is a business opportunity worth keeping in the family.

It’s a truly win, win situation. But how will this work?

Although many smart-phone users have lofty data-plans and tend to hoard apps, there is a much wider consumer mobile phone base with only SMS and MMS support. IMMS allows mobile operators to create mobile coupon applications based on Interactive Voice and Video Response (IVR/IVVR) services, hosted by the mobile operators, positioning the mobile operator as the financial broker rather than giving away the business to a third-party offering an “over the top” model such as a downloadable app. IMMS allows a mobile operator to deliver the coupon via SMS or MMS, rather than as data across a data plan.

Texting a coupon directly to the consumer means distribution revenues from product manufacturers, SMS/MMS messaging revenue, and much more. Why not offer 1-800 call services or an integrated call center?

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