According to Inmar Inc., a coupon-processing agent, coupon use has increased by 10% over the past 4 months.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reports that there has been a decline in redemption
that started in 1992 when 7.9 billion coupons were redeemed, according to Inmar estimates. (The company processes about half of the country’s coupons but compiles data for coupon usage overall.) In 2008, 2.6 billion coupons were used. Part of that decline can be attributed to a robust economy in the mid- to late-1990s. But coupons also lost some appeal after the emergence of supermarket loyalty programs, whereby shoppers sign up for a card to get discounts at the cash register.
There are a number of ways people can acquire coupons. A website called Coupons.com provides printable coupons that change every day. Today there are 58 different coupons available for a wide range of products. Other popular online source are Save.ca, MyPoints, and Ebates.
A report from Direct Marketing on coupon myths provides a lot of insight into the effectiveness of coupons.
Myth #1: Short-term expirations drive immediate sales.
Fact: Consumers need more time. A short expiry often cuts redemption far more than any increase in value can make up.
Myth #2: Higher value always equals higher redemption.
Fact: Value alone isn’t enough. Maximum redemption comes from an optimal value-expiration sweet spot.
Myth #3: Store brand users aren’t worth pursuing with target coupon offers.
Fact: As store brands upgrade their quality, fewer store brand consumers will be price-centric and more will be quality and feature conscious. They’ll often redeem targeted offers at rates as high as other competitive users.
Myth #4: Targeting the most loyal users of a competitor’s product yields the best return on a coupon program.
Fact: Light to moderately loyal competitive users are more likely to try a new product and will do so on a lower-value coupon offer.
Myth #5: The presence of a sample is a requisite for driving high redemption rates.
Fact: There are other factors much more likely to drive redemption rates. Some of those include expiration, value, current versus competitive user, and frequent versus infrequent coupon user.
Myth #6: The current users of a product don’t need long expirations to get them to redeem a coupon offer.
Fact: Even for current users, to gain more than two-thirds of potential redemptions, offers must be six months at minimum, and in the 10-12 month range for personal care categories like skin and beauty products.
Myth #7: Coupon clutter is pervasive in all delivery strategies.
Fact: Escalated volume is not a factor in targeted coupons mailed directly to homes. Notably, targeted promotion redemption rates are up in this sector for household products and pet products.
Myth #8: Coupon offers on frequently purchased items are redeemed quickly, so an expiration of less than six months will do.
Fact: Targeted offers with expirations shorter than six months in general have only half as many redemptions as longer term offers.
Myth # 9: Current and competitive product users need the same coupon value to be motivated.
Fact: In any product sector, current users typically require much less offer value to drive them to purchase. Sectors vary, but it often takes 40 percent less value to move a current user than a competitive user.
Myth #10: Americans and Canadians share the same coupon redemption behaviour.
Fact: There are shared traits but the difference in absolute redemption rate is substantial. Americans receive 10 times more mail than Canadians and are less likely to respond to offers. Canadians favour contemplation over quick action and require longer expiration terms. The net result: the decline in overall coupon redemption rates is steeper in the U. S.
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