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Supercuts tests mobile coupons for haircut discounts

Hair salon chain Supercuts is testing mobile coupons in New England to generate traffic to its stores for hair care services.

The company's HK Enterprises franchisee partnered with Cellfire Inc. to offer discounts at 75 stores in the Greater Boston and Southern New Hampshire areas. Mobile users in the Cellfire database for that geography can redeem the coupons for offers on haircuts, coloring and styling.

"It's another channel for them to communicate their value proposition to consumers," said Dwight Moore, vice president of corporate marketing at Cellfire, San Jose, CA. "If the trial goes well in the Boston area, there's an opportunity to extend this to all Supercuts."

Owned by Regis Corp., Supercuts, Minneapolis, is the industry leader, with 2,070 locations nationwide and in Puerto Rico and Canada. It is popular with men, but actively woos women too.

The mobile coupon offer is straightforward. Supercuts is offering Cellfire users a $2 discount on a haircut, $5 off a color service or a free shampoo with the purchase of a haircut.

Consumers have to subscribe to Cellfire's mobile coupon service at or by texting "hair" to 22888 to get the discounts.

"What's interesting is that a lot of the offers we've done in the past is product-based," Mr. Moore said. "What's really interesting is that we're seeing more service businesses interested in the solutions we provide.

"The great thing about services is its recurring -- it's haircuts with Supercuts," he said. "What Supercuts gets is help with frequency. This becomes a way of providing loyalty. They find mobile coupons is a great way to incentivize and increase frequency and engender loyalty."

Coupon clickers
Cellfire claims to be the only national mobile coupon and discount offer service. More than 10,000 retail stores nationwide are said to redeem Cellfire mobile coupons.

The company has an opt-in database of consumers, with information such as age, gender and ZIP code.

The Cellfire database is built through direct visits to, its mobile Web site, forwards and plugs on store point-of-sale and in-store signage, bag stuffers and door decals.

Opted-in consumers receive SMS and email alerts from Cellfire about deals or they can go directly to the Cellfire mobile application they have downloaded and enter their ZIP code to locate offers. That's how it is communicating with its database for the Supercuts mobile coupons.

However, Cellfire does not deliver text-based offers -- a key point of differentiation with the competition. As an application-based service it lets consumers store, search and use discounts across retail stores and locations.

Cellfire's client portfolio includes Hardee's, Hollywood Video, and Taco Bueno.

Take Hardee's, for instance. The fast food chain is getting a 9 percent redemption rate on mobile coupons compared with an average 1 percent to 2 percent for paper coupons, Mr. Moore claimed. The chain is pushing its Jalapeno burger with mobile coupons in the St. Louis and Indianapolis areas.

Meanwhile, the Supercuts experiment will end next month.

"This is a market test," Mr. Moore said. "What we see is a lot of our clients continuing this."