The Mobile Revolution, Chapter Eleventy

"Sarcasm should be the salt; never the steak."  I thought for sure that was a quote I'd seen, but finding no easy attribution on teh Interwebs made me wonder if maybe it had been my dad?  Sounds like something he'd say: steak symbolized, wisdom simplified.  

The point is, sarcasm works best in small doses, and you better come correct with a larger point. (if you really want to be a comedy snob, one might argue that sarcasm is just lazy observational wit.  At least satire aims to criticize the powerful, established and corrupt - using humor as the vehicle)  And while I enjoy snarking at commentators who don't understand digital coupons (or promotions in general) - and appreciate getting the chance to do so - this CITN piece makes a couple of key points that are worth exploring in greater detail, since the drumbeat for a better mobile + in store retail experience shows no sign of stopping.  Here's the deal, folks:

  • Retailers (unless compelled to do so) won't build a cooperative mobile infrastructure. It's not in their interest to do so.  CVS doesn't want to share mobile coupons with Walgreens, and vice versa.  Retail is hardcore competitive, yo.  All in the game.  A zero-sum game.
  • Manufacturers - not retailers - built the coupon industry.  I'll spare you the history lesson (although it's totally fascinating, and WAY more complex than "did you know Coca-Cola distributed the first coupon for use at soda fountains in 1887" yadda yadda), but as our old friend Occam Deep Throat once said, "follow the money."   CPGs fund the majority of coupon offers - don't ever forget that. Retailers simply make use of those offers and budgets, because spreading around other people's money is a lot more fun than using your own.
  • Long story longer: if you, the shopper, want a more unified mobile retail experience (dare I say Omnichannel) (Must. Not. *eyeroll*), you're going to have to push manufacturers (not named P&G, who've been doing it for years; hi there eSaver!) to get it done.  It's not realistic to expect retailers to cooperate at this point; the landscape is too competitive (even if shoppers are demanding it!).  Money, honey, is the only voice that carries here.  Looking at you, CPGs.

What's on your mind in the world of digital & mobile retail?  Payments?  Wallets?  Don't ever hesitate to reach out.