If you think only little old ladies clip and use coupons; think again. But if you think that the recession has recruited and empowered a new generation of savvy coupon seekers and users; you just might be right.
According to a new survey from RetailMeNot a leading personalized coupon distributor and data from Coupons.com, 80 million people saved $57.4 million using 1.6 million printable and downloadable coupons from 66,883 retailers during the last six months – January-June 2010. Socially driven services like Groupon are adding fuel to this fire which generated $192 in sales, an increase of 49% over the same period in 2009.
Consumers saved an average of $29 per online coupon and $5 per printable coupon. There seems to be variations in which stores or retailers used these coupon formats. Online coupons generally seem to have higher face values than their printable counterparts.
But customers are not only eager for the savings, the actively seek out coupons and deals from online merchants. The top 10 most searched are Victoria’s Secret, Amazon, Kohl’s, JC Penney, Dominos, Macy’s, Enterprise, Old Navy, Pap John’s and Best Buy. Other hot brands include IHOP, KFC, Subway and DQ.
Maybe there’s something about Midwestern thrift (5 of the top 10 zip codes of printable coupon users are in Midwestern states) or something about getting over on leading chain retailers, but consumers seem to be looking for ways to reduce necessarily and recurring expenses. Food, pizza, restaurant dining, clothing, haircuts, car washes, gas and oil changes top the list of printable coupon categories.
Coming soon are more, easier to use mobile coupons and codes that will be distributed digitally and will eventually rely on electronic interactions between hand units and POS systems. Brands are already distributing online and printable coupons using Facebook, Twitter and selected blogs. Expect this trend to accelerate as we approach a holiday season where the forecasts for growth are iffy.
Here are 3 tips to insure your success in using online coupons:
Be Clear and Simple. Online shoppers scan. They don’t read. Make the offer BIG and bold. Make the time frame easy to see. Specify qualifications, shipping costs and if the offer can be combined with others. Put the terms and conditions upfront in big type.
Go Low Involvement. Don’t make customers download software to print coupons. Offer PDFs and simple ways to print or store the coupon quickly. The more time lapsed; the less likelihood of redemption.
Do the Backend First. Don’t even begin the coupon game until you’ve road tested the underlying technology. Make sure that POS, credit card processing, shopping carts and accounting systems can accept, process and fulfill their wishes