It's called a Bean. An electronic coupon, texted to your cell phone, redeemable for everything from tune-ups to cocktails. With Green Bean, you create a short profile, select retailer and the deal, and they send the coupon to your phone through SMS text.
Simply show the text at the store, and receive the discount. Intriguing. Paperless. And with just enough novelty to have early adopters and tech-friendlies changing their underpants.
If the stats on the site are right, it could make pretty good sense:
-There are more mobile phones in the US than there are Internet connected computers
-Over 50% of all mobile phone users use SMS text (82% of people under 24 use SMS!)
-Over 40% of people who recalled receiving a mobile ad remembered the brand
-eCoupons regularly have a higher redemption rate than traditional paper coupons
Advertisers include Precision Tune, Florida-based food chain Hurricane Grill & Wings, and a handful of regional retailers up and down the east coast.
Of course, there are still some challenges. Last year, a survey in a New York Times article showed mixed results when it came to the public's interest in receiving mobile coupons. About 70% of folks surveyed balked at the idea. But I'm not so sure those statistics apply here. Only a small portion of the total surveyed would be early adopters, and even fewer would fit the mobile-savvy demo: the sweet spot for a service like this.
Regardless, having easy opt-in (and opt-out) functionality knocks down some of the barriers. If people are curious, it's easy enough to try. If they don't like it, it's easy enough to leave.
Personally, I'll base my opinion on just how thoroughly soused I can get redeeming free drink coupons with my flip phone.