September 30, 2009, 12:00 AM

J.C. Penney rolls out digital coupons for cell phones

J.C. Penney Co. shoppers in Houston now can download digital coupons to their mobile phones, which can be scanned on the phone’s display screen at the cash register. J.C. Penney will offer coupons nearly every week through the holiday shopping season.

Mark Brohan

Research Director

J.C. Penney Co. shoppers in Houston now can download digital coupons to their mobile phones, which can be scanned on the phone’s display screen at the cash register. The multichannel retailer will offer coupons nearly every week through the holiday shopping season.

Using technology from Cellfire Inc., shoppers can download on their cell phones the same coupons J.C. Penney sends in its mail promotions. Image scanners, made by Motorola Inc., can read the two-dimensional bar code coupons and have been installed at 16 J.C. Penney stores in the Houston metro area.

Cellfire is a free service for the consumer, although standard data or usage charges might apply depending on the shopper’s mobile carrier or data plan. Consumers can register for Cellfire via a computer or a mobile device. To receive J.C. Penney coupons, shoppers must be registered with Cellfire and live within the Houston area.

“These mobile coupons are the ultimate in customer convenience, because there’s no need to clip or carry around a printed coupon, and they can be instantly scanned from a cell phone,” says Mike Boylson, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for J.C. Penney, No. 15 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. “It’s another way we’re innovating to enhance the customer’s shopping experience.”

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