Forget the Plastic, Charge it to the Phone

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mobiledeals_small.jpgADOTAS – I was chatting with some friends over the weekend about the future standard in coupons, where the dude at the register scans an image on your smartphone and walah — your discount is processed. One of them just joined Foursquare — he asked me before he signed up if his inbox was going to be slammed with advertising and promotions and I replied, no, just notifications — and was unaware that retailers are increasingly using location-based mobile social networks as a coupouning resource. Check in at your favorite chain coffee shop and you might receive a free cookie with your soy latte.

My friends’ faces lit up in a combination of awe and pure delight.

But this is only the start of something huge. Months ago I chatted up edo Interactive, a couponing innovator that combines targeting with loyalty and reward credit cards — called facecards — that can be used at retail shops. They also practice “prewarding” in which consumers sample a brands’ products through prepaid debit cards. Beyond being a million times more convenient than clipping and redeeming, facecards offer marketers magnificent analytics in terms of geolocation and ROI.

One of the executives mentioned that the grand goal would be the elimination of cards — sayanora plastic. Accounts are credited and debited through the most personal multifunctional tool a person carries — his or her mobile device.

Starbucks has actually enabled iPhone users to pay with their Starbucks apps at 1,000 locations within Targets, but widespread adoption is on its way. Bloomberg reports that AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have teamed up with Discover Financial Services and Barclays to develop a payment system that allows consumers to simply swipe their smartphones in front of a “contactless” card reader. Look for the trial run in Atlanta and three other cities… Which could they be?!?

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