retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Advertising Age reports that “Procter & Gamble, Clorox, Del Monte, General Mills and Kimberly-Clark are teaming with retail giant Kroger for what will almost certainly be the biggest test of wireless coupons to date and perhaps even one of the most significant ventures into mobile marketing in the U.S. The aim is to reach the generation between 25 and 34 who are likely to have growing families in need of baby, home-cleaning and household products, but who don't read a lot of newspapers.”

According to the story, “Under the test, consumers download Cellfire, a mobile marketing application similar to a ringtone or mobile game, to their cellphones. That allows them to peruse Cellfire's mobile shopping mall to see which discounts are being offered. If the shopper finds one of interest, he or she ‘checks it off’ on the phone, creating a mobile shopping list.

“The choices are automatically sent to the computers at Kroger, which identifies the consumer by his or her loyalty-card number at checkout, and the discount is automatically applied there.”

KC's View:
It was just last week that we reported on a new Nielsen survey showing that “about 23 percent of US mobile phone users have seen advertising on their cell phones in the last 30 days and about half of them responded to the ads.”

In addition, the study said that “the number of phone users who recalled seeing mobile ads rose by 38 percent to 58 million in the fourth quarter compared with 42 million in the second quarter.”

The new Kroger test will be an important test of whether mobile phone marketing can move the needle significantly in terms of sales, and can measure whether the young people who use their cell phones incessantly will also use the technology to facilitate the shopping trip. No reason why they wouldn’t…but it needs to be proven.