STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 38
Savings On the Go
Shoe Carnival sees unexpected success with mobile coupons
by LAURI GIESEN
ike a lot of retailers, executives at Shoe
Carnival weren't sure how many of its
customers wanted to use digital wallets
to pay for goods. More importantly, they
didn't know how many customers wanted
to store and redeem digital coupons from
their mobile phones.
Then Thrive Commerce, a technology
company Shoe Carnival had been
working with to develop proprietary
coupons on its website, suggested trying
a system that would allow customers to
receive, open, store and redeem coupons
"We didn't really have a lot of
expectations going into this pilot," says
Kent Zimmerman, Shoe Carnival's vice
president of digital. "We weren't sure if
customers were ready yet to use their cell
phones to redeem coupons."
Unsure what to expect, executives
were pleasantly surprised when many
STORES September 2017
customers who had downloaded coupons
on their phones redeemed them at Shoe
In a pilot that began in the first quarter
of this year, Shoe Carnival sent emails
to customers who had opted into the
chain's online promotion program. The
emails contained links customers could
use to download discount coupons to
their phones. Customers could then use
their phones to redeem the coupons at the
chain's 411 stores.
The results were shocking: Of the 2,245
customers who saved the coupons to their
Apple Wallets, 38 percent redeemed them
in stores. More than 75 percent of the
chain's stores had coupons redeemed at
"That is an amazing percentage,"
Zimmerman says; Shoe Carnival is so
impressed that it is turning the pilot
into a full-blown program that will run
"When we saw the first results, we
knew we wanted to continue," he
says. "The first month's results were
compelling enough for us to continue.
Even now there is no reason not to
continue with the offering."
With traditional paper coupons,
customers may clip one out and store it in
a wallet or pocket and forget they have it
- or throw it away.
"If you download a coupon to your
phone, you have a constant reminder
that you have a coupon for our stores,"
While customers can open the
coupons from computers, most open the
emails and access the coupons directly
from mobile phones, he says. Customers
often remember they have a coupon