I’ve written about this before, but last week it resulted in me getting less food for my money – which my friends will tell you makes me very angry, so I’m bringing it up again.

I was meeting a mate after work for something to eat, the plan was to get onto Money Saving Expert and see what was on offer, print out the voucher and go munch. Giraffe had a 2 for 1 on main meals deal which fitted perfectly.

In the rush out of the office I forgot the voucher, because of this I changed my mind and we went next door to Wagamama instead. Why? Because paying full price for something when you know it’s on sale feels like a massive waste of money, you either can’t live with knowing that everyone else around you is probably eating for 50% less or you tell yourself that you’ll return another time with the voucher. Plus I like Wagamama that tiny bit more if paying full price but when it comes down to a good offer like 2-for-1, Giraffe would win every time.

If I could have sent that voucher to my phone rather than to a printer, Giraffe would have had my business. The same has happened in the past with vouchers from Gap, Urban Outfitters and plenty of others. It’s even more of a pain when you don’t have access to a printer.

How many times have you used a mobile SMS voucher compared to lets say, a printed email/pdf voucher? There is no comparison, how can the most commonly used mobile service in the world be overlooked for something you can only do if you have access to a printer? It makes no sense, ask any person who has used a printed voucher if they would rather use a text message instead, what do you think the answer would be?

The question is why hasn’t it happened yet?

Easy – there is absolutely nothing in it for agencies who advise brands by suggesting such a simple solution as it cannibalises their profits. Designing and managing online and email voucher marketing campaigns makes money, if that switches to mobile then someone loses revenue.

Setting up a standard SMS send is easy, cheap and quick, any extra costs will be made back instantly with higher conversion rates, ultimately making more money for the business overall.

All I keep hearing is “you need tracking” – No you clearly don’t, if brands were so hung up on tracking then printed vouchers wouldn’t exist simple as that. I’m not saying metrics aren’t important but why are we overlooking this opportunity based on something that no one is bothered about when it comes to the paper version? Anyway it’s not like you can’t measure uplift whilst the promotion is runnning and do smart stuff with the sales data.

The concept of vouchers on mobile is still new, the industry needs to help increase awareness and adoption by making it as simple as possible. New technologies like NFC payments will benefit immensely by preparing consumer mindset now. And what can be simpler than following the lessons learnt from paper vouchers? They are easy to use and successful. Show it, get your discount, leave happy. Done.

It seems like there are more and more  ‘solutions’ companies are creating Java, iPhone and Android applications that need to be installed before getting discounts. We’re not even at the stage where SMS vouchers are commonplace yet we suddenly expect people to start using these fragmented services , each providing different brands and offers. We should mimic existing behaviour with printed vouchers until showing your phone to staff at Gap or GBK becomes the norm. But then of course all these voucher solution companies become unable to justify using their tech if actually all you need is a bog-standard SMS.

I’m going to make it my mission to convert a large brand from using email vouchers to SMS. Rant over.