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It's a Coupon Holiday

Coupons have been the lifeblood of supermarkets for years. Clipping coupons on Sunday mornings is a ritual for many people.

Even if you think coupons aren't worth all the work (the cutting and redeeming), understand you are in the minority. The business of coupons is a multi–billion dollar industry; over 60% of the American population uses coupons, according to industry reports. Surprisingly, statistics show that a majority of coupon–clippers are middle and upper–middle class people.

Furthermore, coupons are no longer just for grocery stores. Gift stores, apparel stores, florists, hardware stores, and traditional department stores are all jumping on the coupon bandwagon. The holidays may be the perfect time for your business to experiment with coupons.

Why use coupons

  • Coupons are promotional vehicles that Americans understand. People want to take advantage of coupons.

  • Coupons are even easier to use in a non–food environment because there are fewer items to track.

  • Many retailers have preferred customer programs and are constantly looking for perks to send to valued customers. Coupons are a bonus.

Coupons allow retailers to pinpoint the merchandise they want to promote.

  • Coupons allow you to predetermine the exact time the offer can be redeemed.

  • Many manufacturers are willing to cooperate with retailers on a coupon program because they feel the money is going directly to consumers.

  • Distribution is easy and inexpensive with coupon–mailing services, like Val–Pak and others.

  • Coupons are a great form of advertising for your business because the customer holds a piece of paper with the name of your store. Many people actually put their coupons on the front of the refrigerator with a magnet, providing constant advertising reminders.

  • A strong coupon gets talked about before the shopping trip. As we all know, the best form of advertising is word–of–mouth advertising.

How to use coupons

  • Eliminate the minimum purchase concept — offers like $5.00 off any $20.00 purchase. It turns people off.

  • Set a tight expiration date of no longer than 3 weeks. Coupons are generally used when first received and close to the expiration date.

  • "One coupon per item." This restriction is very important if you are using a higher–value coupon.

  • Send more than one coupon at a time. You can vary the amounts per coupon, items to be redeemed, and different starting or expiration dates.

  • You don't have to use expensive paper when sending coupons. The more coupons look like money the better they seem to work. That's why the use of green paper is so popular.

  • Determine the right amount for your business. A 35¢ discount might work on a can of soup, but a $50 coupon for a winter coat might be more appropriate. Gift and apparel stores traditionally do well with the $5.00 coupon.

A special time of year for coupons

Coupons work well year–round, but the holidays are special because it is a time when shoppers make lists, just as they do when shopping for food. List making triggers a natural coupon mentality. Sending a multiple coupon package lends itself to the holiday selling period because you are able to send a packet that says, "save $50 this holiday season." Inside you might have ten $5.00 coupons, or any number and amount you choose. Give your customers a reason to come to your store every week.


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