Interview • 02.05.2011

Will traditional coupons soon become obsolete?

Interview with André Reif, CEO of MyMobai in Leipzig, Germany

Andre Reif: “Generally, mobile coupons are suited for retail and food...
Andre Reif: “Generally, mobile coupons are suited for retail and food service. The size of the business plays no special role in this. “ © MyMobai

André Reif, born in 1978, founded MyMobai in 2008 together with his schoolmate André Richter. The company with locations in Leipzig and Dresden develops business models and applications for mobile devices. By now, MyMobai sees itself as the German market leader in Mobile Couponing. Richter says, his network currently has a range of 1.86 million users. MyMobai distributes discount coupons by Europcar, Hertz, O2, Subway and ImmobilienScout24 for instance. Mobile coupons are distributed based on the user’s location. Reif therefore also addresses small retailers or the hair salon at the corner.


How is the market for mobile coupons shaping up in Germany?

Basically, it is a growing market. Media-, advertising- and marketing agencies also interpret it that way. Surveys and studies support a high acceptance with mobile end-user devices – and this is also our impression. Even though mobile couponing is still not a direct competitor for conventional couponing, the market shares are increasing rapidly. This goes along with the generally increasing spread of modern smartphones – currently about every fourth mobile end-user device is a smartphone – and the ever increasing spread of M-Commerce offers.


Where does couponing in Germany rank compared for instance to the trailblazers in the USA?

Yes, the U.S. is already farther ahead. Aside from a larger spread of smartphones, this is mainly due to a higher acceptance of online services and a more carefree handling of personal data in general: Almost a third of adults with mobile phones in the USA are willing to share their phone number with a retailer to receive mobile coupons. For young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 it is actually every second person. In Germany people are much more sensitive with their own information. That’s why we offer a solution where the user doesn’t have to provide any personal information, not even a mail-address, which increases acceptance of course.


Why has Germany been dragging behind the USA for decades in terms of coupons?

In the U.S. couponing has been around since the end of the 19th century, the first provider was probably the one well-known soft drink manufacturer. Since that time, coupons have been a fixture in the US-American consumer reality – virtually every package has a coupon printed on it and at almost every purchase you receive a coupon section at the end of your receipt. Not since August 2001 with the abolition of the German law governing discounts from 1933 (“Rabattgesetz”), couponing has become possible in Germany. That’s why not for a long time yet does it have the same significance as in the USA. It still is not as strongly fixed in consumer perception. A multitude of legal regulations which restrict the range of coupon applications, for instance the German Act Against Unfair Competition (UWG), the German Act Against Restraints of Competition (GWB) and the German ban on discounts and rebates for newspapers, books and tobacco products are adding to this.


Will printed coupons in advertisements or sales flyers soon become obsolete?

Obviously nobody can determine an exact time frame for this, but the growth rates for smartphones and apps and the acceptance of location-based services by users speak for themselves. A survey on the acceptance of mobile couponing revealed that 68 percent are interested in location-based services. This is also due to the ever increasing intuitive user guidance. And to add to it, mobile couponing campaigns are significantly more cost-effective and more quickly implemented and provide higher redemption rates.


What benefits do mobile coupons provide compared to web coupons and printable coupons?

Mobile coupons are always at your fingertips, always current, don’t get tattered, don’t use up any space in your wallet, and since they are not individually distributed, but usually along with other coupons via an app, a large range of products are available at any time. The constant availability on-the-go makes it possible to also carry out spontaneous decisions, for instance booking a hotel, which provides the user with a high degree of freedom and independence. The truly original unique selling point of mobile applications – and this is also true for mobile couponing – are the location-based services. Based on the location, consumers are reached exactly where they are at that point in time and only those offers that are also accessible are being presented, which in turn makes impulse purchases possible. Other reasons for growth are advancements in scan technology for barcodes, like for instance the introduction of area-imaging scanners that can also read two-dimensional barcodes – which enables the direct digital entry at the store’s cash register and increases the convenience for the customer. Or the immense cost savings due to the digital coupon distribution.


How big is the willingness of mobile phone users to receive coupons? What kind of target group do you reach this way?

Nearly 70 percent of all consumers that own a cell phone are interested in mobile couponing. As a target group, primarily digital natives and young adults are the focus, and through the latter no doubt also multi-person households are being addressed because there is also a significantly larger interest in mobile couponing offers.


How does the process chain work in mobile couponing? Who takes over clearing between industry and retail?

The couponing provider is the central location. He delivers the backend through which the coupon campaigns are being applied and administrated. He takes care of the integration of coupons into many different distributive channels and brings cellular service providers together in one network. Currently for certain redemption types, clearing houses still need to take over the processing between manufacturer and retailer, since only they come with banking licenses. Starting April 30, 2011 however, the legal situation will change. Now other companies can also enter this market segment and via the BaFin (The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority) apply for specially adapted licenses for E-commerce.


Who is presently particularly active in distributing mobile coupons?

Mobile coupons are interesting for nearly all industry sectors. According to a current survey, at the moment admittedly most coupons are distributed in food retailing and drugstores, this meaning industry sectors with quick turnaround products.


Which coupon types are especially sought after in mobile couponing?

The focus is on discount coupons with price reductions and bundle coupons, this being coupons with a free product or service give-away – according to the principle of ”buy one, get one free“. Dialog- and loyalty coupons can also be turned around very well. More of a fringe phenomenon are consulting vouchers, membership cards and sweepstakes. Functionally, they actually belong to other areas of mobile marketing. Yet in essence this is also conceivable. Sweepstakes for instance could be used to increase the attractiveness of discount coupons.


What perks do you have to offer and what response rate is possible with it?

In mobile couponing we calculate response- or redemption rates of 10 percent on average – compared to 0.5 percent in conventional couponing. Mind you: that’s an average of 10 percent. The rates are in part actually a lot higher. This is certainly also dependent on the kind of offer and the environment of the couponing campaign – a 50 percent discount for a purchase of a hundred Euros or more during the pre-Christmas season is almost off the charts, and for a discount value of 10 to 15 percent at least every fifth person would still feel enticed.


A cell phone location can be found and location-based coupons can be sent to it. Are coupons also beneficial for the pastry shop at the corner? What kinds of response rates are realistic for small retailers?

Generally, mobile coupons are suited for retail and food service. The size of the business plays no special role in this. What’s really relevant is first of all whether the coupon can be easily redeemed – and for this a checkout needs to have the appropriate technical options. And secondly it is relevant whether the corresponding target group of the customer is also reachable via mobile end-user devices. Modern bakeries or chain stores definitely belong to those for whom mobile couponing is a very attractive marketing tool.


What kinds of information about the person that redeems the coupon does a retailer get?

Retail does not get any personal data from us whatsoever – no cell phone number, no name, address or anything of that nature. At MyMobai the user or person who redeems the coupon also does not have to register when he/she downloads our app. The only thing we use for targeted marketing are profiles that anonymously display user behavior. Currently we are the only ones that can offer something like that.


How can retailers in the future directly address the coupon redeemer?

The retailer already does this now by using our hyper-location-based services. Through our patented anonymous tracking procedure we offer our customers the possibility of us filtering out specific target groups to once again address them very specifically with our coupons. The use of personal data for a direct approach without the prior consent of the consumer would be a breach of the UWG (German Act Against Unfair Competition). For direct marketing this is going to be a challenge – but it’s not for MyMobai.


At the EuroShop you were a sub-exhibitor of NCR. Why NCR and how is this partnership developing?

NCR is an internationally active, US-American company and the global market leader in financial self-service solutions and POS scanner systems. Especially the latest scanner technologies like area imager scanners make the use of mobile couponing applications on smartphones easier. An integration of mobile coupons directly into cash registers could likewise be very interesting in this case.We were very delighted to be able to present our solution in the NCR environment.


Were you pleased with the EuroShop?

Very much so actually. Visitor interest was enormous.Especially the subject of clearing was in the spotlight. The best feedback we got was for our implementation concepts for the complete integration of our mobile couponing solution into different POS systems.


What are your next steps going to be?

We adapt to the customers and the demands of the market and try to design it ourselves as well. To do this we certainly need a little more manpower. The next step on our agenda will therefore be a personnel and spatial expansion.


Interview by René Schellbach,

Logo: MyMobai GmbH

MyMobai GmbH

Brühl 52
04109 Leipzig
Logo: NCR GmbH


Steinerne Furt 67
86176 Augsburg

related articles:

popular articles:

Thumbnail-Photo: FedEx strengthens e-commerce offering
09.06.2021   #e-commerce #customer satisfaction

FedEx strengthens e-commerce offering

Expansion of international day-definite delivery service FedEx International Connect Plus across Europe

Following the successful launch of FedEx International Connect Plus (FICP) in January 2021, FedEx has expanded access to its day-definite e-commerce delivery service. The service is now available in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, ...

Thumbnail-Photo: PSI 2022 - The leading European trade show for the promotional products...
27.09.2021   #retail #event

PSI 2022 - The leading European trade show for the promotional products industry

11.01. - 13.01.2022 | Messegelände Düsseldorf

PSI in Düsseldorf will be the central meeting place for the European promotional products industry on January 11 - 13, 2022. Promotional products retailers, (textile) finishers, advertising technicians, agencies and industrial customers meet ...

Thumbnail-Photo: CLAIM 5: New growth strategy
20.08.2021   #e-commerce #brick and mortar retail

CLAIM 5: New growth strategy

HUGO BOSS presents plan to increase sales

HUGO BOSS has introduced its new 2025 growth strategy ‘CLAIM 5’ and provides its mid-term financial ambition. Over the next five years, the Company is fully committed to strongly accelerate top-line growth, claim its position in the ...

Thumbnail-Photo: LODATA-WEBINAR: New HP Engage POS systems
28.09.2021   #e-commerce #retail

LODATA-WEBINAR: New HP Engage POS systems

20.10.2021 - 9 a.m. | Online

A new model strengthens the HP Engage lineup: HP launches the HP Engage One Essential fanless all-in-one system, which is protected against dust and external elements, making it ideal for use in harsh environments such as restaurants, bars and ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Product information management systems in furniture retailing...
27.09.2021   #online trading #e-commerce

Product information management systems in furniture retailing

Why investing in the quality of product information is worthwhile

“The wooden table with a square table top and four table legs.” Customers as well as furniture retailers and manufacturers know that it is not that simple. But it is precisely this specific product information that is important for all ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Reusable pop-up store
07.07.2021   #brick and mortar retail #sustainability

Reusable pop-up store

PANGAIA showcases high-tech naturalism at The Selfridges Corner Shop

In spring of this year PANGAIA offered its customers an extraordinary shopping experience. For the first time, customers were able to visit the PANGAIA pop-up store in The Selfridges Corner Shop, which was designed to literally guide them through ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Benefits of investing in physical stores
28.06.2021   #e-commerce #brick and mortar retail

Benefits of investing in physical stores

The role of physical stores for selling "deep" products

Researchers from Colorado State University, Amazon, and Dartmouth College published a new paper in the Journal of Marketing that examines the role of physical stores for selling "deep" products.The study, forthcoming in the Journal of ...

Thumbnail-Photo: The change exchange: Helping women find networks of support...
09.09.2021   #online marketing #social media

"The change exchange": Helping women find networks of support

T.J.Maxx and Mindy Kaling launch pen pal program

With change occurring at a fundamental level this past year, T.J.Maxx sought to understand how women were navigating unexpected changes, both big and small. A recent survey* by the brand's purpose-driven initiative -The Maxx You Project - ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Shein is the leading shopping app
21.09.2021   #online trading #e-commerce

Shein is the leading shopping app

More than double of Amazon shopping’s total downloads

Since October 2020, the Chinese fast-fashion app Shein was considered the world’s largest online-only retailer and has claimed the top spot of shopping charts from retail giants such as Amazon, H&M and Inditex. According to data presented ...

Thumbnail-Photo: The cool way to make more sales
04.10.2021   #POS marketing #shop equipment

The cool way to make more sales

POS TUNING offers the perfect presentation for the freezer cabinet AND chest

Did you know that, statistically speaking, every shopper visits the freezer department?The shopper reach of frozen products is 98%*. This means that almost every household in Germany buys frozen products. This impressive figure is a strong argument ...


Navori Labs
Navori Labs
Rue du lion d'or 4
1003 Lausanne
APG Cash Drawer
APG Cash Drawer
4 The Drove
BN9 0LA Newhaven
Delfi Technologies GmbH
Delfi Technologies GmbH
Landgraben 75
24232 Schönkirchen
POS TUNING Udo Voßhenrich GmbH & Co KG
POS TUNING Udo Voßhenrich GmbH & Co KG
Am Zubringer 8
32107 Bad Salzuflen