Not So Mobile Coupons

The other day I was emailed a coupon from CVS for my reward dollars.  The coupon said to print it out and bring it to the store to redeem.

FrustrationWhen I went into the store I realized that I  for got to print it out but I thought why would it matter?  I turned on my iPhone and  I brought up the email that I received.  On the email was my barcode for the coupon.  I showed the check out clerk and asked her if she could use that instead.  She told me that they had to have the piece of paper to put in the draw for tracking and that the barcode scanner could not read it off the screen.  I have tried others apps that allow you to store all your loyalty cards on you iPhone and I have had very poor results with the scanning so I was somewhat understanding of that issue.  But having the coupon in the draw when it tracked against my loyalty card kind of surprised me.  Since no one else could use the promo without my card why do I need the paper? She explained that I could come back and they would refund me the money for the item if I brought the coupon back in.  While it was a nice suggestion I was angered by the additional effort I had to do to take advantage of the savings.

I went back to my apartment and printed the coupon out and later returned to the CVS. When I gave the clerk the print out she was very kind and tried to scan it over and over and it was not recognized.  So she restored to manually typing the code in to give me the credit. White this 25 digit number was being entered I looked at my phone and realized this number was also on the email so I was a little more perturbed. After the transaction was completed and I had my $5 back I thanked her and started to leave when I noticed her crumple it up and throw it away.  I said " I thought that had to go in the draw?" she responded with since I entered it manually I dont have to.  Very very frustrated I walked away thinking now I have wasted more time for something that could have been done the same way from the phone.

As I left I went next door to a Starbucks and ordered my usual Americano.  I opened my Starbucks mobile app hit the pay now button a simple bar code was created, it was scanned and I was done.  Simple, no hassle and a process that made the transaction feel better.

I think and hope that more retailers will follow a similar path in the future or risk loosing loyalty customers all together.