Mobile gift vouchers via SMS

Mobile coupons or vouchers always sound great in principle but the perceived cost of investing in the back-end EPoS infrastructure has often deterred most retailers.  But that’s all about to change.

Instead of investing in new hardware and software to authenticate mobile coupons it’s now possible to integrate redemptions within a retailer’s existing Chip and Pin system. And at a fraction of the cost I believe.  If that’s the case, we can expect to see a lot more retailers experiment with this emerging channel.

I was particularly impressed by this recent initiative for the fashion retailer Oasis.  Eagle Eye Solutions (a specialists in mobile voucher redemptions) have created what is believed to be the world’s first peer-to-peer SMS gift voucher.

How it works?

Oasis customers can now buy vouchers online at and then have them sent direct to a friend’s  mobile phone who can then redeem them in-store.  It’s a bit like ordering Amazon vouchers online but instead of emailing them to a friend you can have them sent direct to their mobile phone.

As Steve Rothwell, CEO Eagle Eye Solutions puts it: “Nearly everyone in the UK can receive a text and hence a coupon or voucher on their phone, but what makes this such a breakthrough is that we’ve solved the key barrier to entry i.e. the real-time authentication of the voucher at the Point of Sale.”

What are the benefits?

From a brand perspective:

  • Opens up a new channel for gifting or sales activation/promotions
  • Because Eagle Eye’s mobile vouchers uses the retailer’s existing EPoS and Chip & PIN systems, there’s no new investment or changes to their existing infrastructure required
  • Mobile vouchers are more environmentally friendly than paper/plastic with less wastage and a far smaller carbon footprint from creation to delivery
  • The system radically reduces the potential for fraud, as it is sent directly to the recipient’s phone and must be shown in-store
  • The data captured offers retailers unprecedented levels of insight into consumer behaviour

From a consumer perspective:

  • Simple, fast, no nonsense way to organise gift vouchers
  • Perfect for distress purchases (like when you’ve forgotten someone’s birthday!)
  • Consumers already understand existing electronic transaction and Chip & PIN systems, so education and adoption should be fairly rapid
  • Trials have shown that on average customers are ten times more likely to redeem mobile vouchers than their paper, plastic or emailed equivalent


Considering Gartner is predicting mobile to surpass PCs as the most common device to access the internet in the next 3 years, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that brands have to seriously consider where mobile fits into their overall marketing strategy.  You’ve only got to look at the significant number of mobile donations in the wake of the Haiti crisis, the appetite for mobile apps or the arrival of mobile voucher startups like VoucherCloud or twtQpon to see that mobile has finally come of age.


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