United Airlines and Target last week both introduced new mobile features for smartphones, becoming the latest national brands to try and increase customer loyalty with time and money saving mobile features.
With United Mobile Check-in you can have your boarding pass sent to your mobile device via email for some itineraries. No printing is needed. According to United’s website, once you receive your boarding pass, you can scan the barcode on the screen at airport security checkpoints and at the gate during boarding.
The service is currently limited to eight airports: Chicago O’Hare, Dallas – Fort Worth, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York LaGuardia, San Francisco and Washington Dulles. United said they plan to expand the service to other airports. If there is a seat change, upgrade or change in departure gate, your boarding pass can be refreshed to display the new information.
Target meanwhile introduced mobile coupons last week.
Target claims it is the first major retailer to send scannable coupons to cell phones, although there have been other coupon sites offering mobile coupons in the last year, including Cellfire, Coupon Sherpa and Yowza.
To enroll in Target’s mobile coupon program, you can register at Target.com or text the word “COUPONS” to 827438.
The service sends text messages with links to a Web page that features various coupons. CNET reported that the program works with any phone that has a mobile browser and data plan for Internet use.
Target reportedly will replenish coupons as they expire, and the coupons are good at any Target store but not at Target.com.
JCPenney announced last year it was partnering with Cellfire to pilot a scannable mobile coupons program at 16 stores in the Houston area.
The timing of the mobile coupon offerings takes advantage of growing use of mobile devices to access the internet. Industry publication Internet Retailer reported earlier this year that online coupon redemption increased 360% in 2009 over the previous year, indicating consumers’ appetite for discounts is exploding just as more people are embracing the mobile internet for shopping.