AKRON (Sept. 25, 2014) — Let’s get this out of the way. I am not what you’d call a couponer, digital or otherwise.
I have never been much of a couponer, and I am willing to bet all of the active promotions sitting in my inbox (and trust me, there are several) that I won’t become one before said promotions expire.
Many a coupon code has come and gone with nary a glimpse from yours truly, and I can’t recall the last time I actually remembered to use one of the deal receipts I get when I use my CVS Extra Care card. Discounting the fact that CVS seems convinced my primary needs revolve around women’s hair dye and makeup, I just carry the card to avoid being handed a new one by the counter salesperson every time I make a purchase.
A friend of mine recently told me she believes I often prefer the idea of things to the things themselves (i.e. going to the gym, learning to play guitar, writing blogs). There’s probably a lot of truth in that, and, for me, couponing fits squarely in that category. It sounds great, and I’m happy for those who choose to make it a regular part of their life, but I’m just not dedicated enough.
That all said, I was still somewhat miffed the other week during a lunch outing with coworkers when I saw a sign taped to the door of our chosen restaurant explicitly stating that its own coupons would not be accepted if displayed on mobile devices. All coupons must be printed out.
Now, on the rare occasion I do stumble upon a coupon I can’t turn down — or my wife won’t let me — it’s nearly always one I found online, and I almost always redeem the coupon via my phone. This was not such an occasion, but that’s beside the point. It could have been. My curiosity had been piqued, and the journalist in me needed an answer.
When I inquired if the server knew the reasons behind this policy, even he seemed a bit dumbfounded. His response was that the owner liked having “physical copies of everything,” but the blank stare that accompanied this response seemed to indicate his assessment of the rule mirrored my own. It was a look that said, “Hey, I don’t get it either.”
For the sake of this blog, let’s look past the fact that this server probably didn’t respond appropriately. That’s a separate issue. The desire for hard copies is certainly an understandable sentiment — I myself still love to own real books, CDs, DVDs, etc. — but there’s a difference between personal preference and good business practice.
Considering the digital reality in which we live and society’s ever-increasing reliance on mobile technology, it seems strange that any retail business would actively avoid catering to customers who utilize digital promotions.
What’s more is that by doing this, you may actually be dissuading them from making return visits.
RetailMeNot Inc., which operates the largest online marketplace for digital offers, recently commissioned a study from Forrester Consulting that analyzed the impact of digital coupons and promotions on retail sales. Among the key findings in the report, Forrester noted that while desktop and laptop computers are still the dominant devices for viewing coupons and online promotions, mobile coupon use through tablets and smartphones is on the rise.
In an in-depth survey with 500 consumers, Forrester found that over a three month period 68 percent of consumers made between one and 10 purchases online, and 86 percent of those consumers used a digital coupon. In addition, 59 percent of respondents said that digital coupons and coupon codes are most likely to influence their purchase decisions compared with other types of digital promotions.
With consumers spending more time on mobile phones and tablets, the number of them using these devices to find deals is increasing. According to Forrester’s study, about 65 and 68 percent of those surveyed said they used at least three digital coupons found on their tablet and smartphone, respectively, over a three month period. Also, both tablet and smartphone users tend to use slightly more digital coupons than computer users.
And while a growing number of consumers expect to have access to inventory online, 47 percent of respondents to the Forrester survey said they still love going to the store to finalize purchases. Of those who prefer receiving digital coupons on their smartphones, more than half redeemed them in-store, and that’s a good thing. Getting consumers to come into a shop puts retailers in a position to upsell.
Of course, business owners also need to accept the fact that these couponers likely won’t arrive in their stores with paper in hand. According to the study, 94 percent of respondents said digital coupons they found on mobile devices and redeemed in-store were either scanned directly from their phone or accepted by a store associate, who then manually typed in a promotional code at checkout.
If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, “I don’t need those digital coupon-clippers—they’re only loyal to savings!” consider this: About 68 percent of respondents said they strongly believe that digital coupons have a positive impact on the retailer’s brand awareness and would be more likely to stay loyal to a brand that offers online coupons and promotional codes. Another 50 percent said they are more likely to buy a product or service at full price later from a company that offers these deals.
Now again, I’m not much of a couponer — but my wife is, and tonight The Melting Pot will be the beneficiary of her dedication to searching out digital deals. Tomorrow, it could be your business.
Where can you expect to see the most growth in 2019?
45% (34 votes)
|General automotive service||
15% (11 votes)
|Brakes, shocks and other undercar services||
7% (5 votes)
15% (11 votes)
|Anywhere we can get it.||
19% (14 votes)
|Total votes: 75|