Posted by: Christine Adams | November 29, 2009

Creative Couponing

Couponing can be a great way to drive sales. Some businesses stick with the traditional methods of distributing coupons, which is fine but why not look for ways to get creative and grasp consumers’ attention. When it comes to coupons there are two types of consumers: 1. Those who are avid coupon clippers and 2. Those that must have a striking deal to consider taking the time to use the discount. In these economic times I think more and more people are looking for a deal. Let’s figure out some ways to entice them to shop with us.

Methods of Distribution: Traditional means of print advertising is a waste of money in my opinion. The newspaper industry is dying yet I still see a plethora of coupons and advertisements being placed in print. Unfortunately I am still receiving the ValPak in my mailbox which still hits the trash can before it ever gets opened. Please quit spending thousands of dollars in these types of mediums, they are no longer working except for the small demographic of avid coupon clippers.

One method that seems to be working well is online coupons. Companies are putting these discounts on their websites and allowing their customers to print them from home. Take this method one step further and send out an eblast to your loyal users and attach the coupon to the email. This database should be full of known customers who already use your products or services. This is an excellent way to reward them for their loyalty to your business.

Direct mail comes in many forms and it targets the customers that you know will utilize your business. You may purchase lists in zip codes surrounding your business. Another means of direct mail that you may not have thought of is utilizing other large businesses in your area. For example, if you ask the right people you may be able to find a way to stuff the mailboxes of a local hospital that employees thousands of potential consumers.

Expiration Dates: Unless you have a very specific reason for using expirations dates….please don’t! Does it really matter to you if a customer uses your coupon this week or 3 months from now? The whole point of putting out a coupon is to drive business. It shouldn’t matter to you when that business walks through the door. I myself, get so frustrated when I place a coupon in my drawer, fully intending to use it, only to find out that it has expired by the time I actually need the product!

Example of Creative Couponing: The best example of couponing that I have seen is by Gymboree© and the use of their Gymbucks©. The way this system works is that for each purchase amounting to $50 of clothing during a specific period of time, you receive a coupon to redeem at a later determined period of time. These coupons are good for $25 off every $50 purchase. This program encourages purchases during the Gymbucks© reward period and again during the Gymbucks© redemption period. It rewards loyal customers and encourages multiple purchases.

Whatever offer you decide to give your current or potential customers must be of enough value to encourage them to get out of the house and into your establishment. Track your coupons and find out which offers prompt the highest redemption and stick to that method. Look for ways to persuade consumers to engage in repeat purchases and find unique ways of distribution. Everyone is looking for a deal these days so see what you can do to drive traffic to your store.


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