Vodafone to increase m-commerce efforts

Vodafone has taken a controlling stake in mobile coupon service Vouchercloud as it looks to broaden its mobile commerce offering to become more competitive with rival loyalty schemes such as O2’s Priority Moments.

Vouchercloud

The mobile operator has increased the 21% stake it took in Vouchercloud’s parent company Invitation Digital Limited (IDL) in May 2011 to 57% and now has the first option to increase its direct shareholding in the future.

Vodafone says it intends to work with IDL to expand Vouchercloud into more countries beyond the UK and Ireland in the coming months. It will also integrate the voucher service with its other m-commerce activities, although Vodafone has not released details on its exact plans.

Vouchercloud offers discount codes and vouchers for a variety of local retailers, restaurants and leisure providers based on a user’s location, as determined by the GPS system in their smartphone.

Tobin Ireland, Vodafone’s group commercial development director, says: “Mobile couponing is set to grow rapidly across Vodafone’s businesses as cost-conscious consumers increasingly turn to their smartphones to hunt for bargains and collect loyalty points. We look forward to working more closely with Vouchercloud in future as m-commerce services become ever more central to consumers’ daily lives.”

It is likely Vodafone’s Vouchercloud integration will work in a similar way to O2’s Priority Moments mobile voucher scheme.

O2’s service launched in July 2011 and allows customers access to dozens of local offers from local participating retailers, restaurant and leisure outlets via a smartphone app. It has more than 2 million customers.

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