If you know someone who’s an avid coupon user, you might have given the person a stash of magazines or newspapers to double the coupon collection. Since you’re not using the coupons yourself, you might be wondering how they actually work.
Why do retailers offer them in the first place? And what are the ways for you to maximize your savings if you do get started on using coupons? That is exactly what we will learn more about here.
Why Do Retailers Offer Coupons in the First Place?
Let’s have a quick look at what coupons are and why retailers offer them to consumers in the first place. As you may already know, coupons are small pieces of paper that pretty much work like cash when used in grocery stores, drugstores and supermarkets.
If you have a coupon that says you get $1 off when buying a one-gallon container of a specific brand of shampoo, that is exactly what the cashier will do – take one dollar off of your total check-out bill.
There was a time when store managers even doubled the value of coupons, although that’s getting rarer these days. What’s more common now is the use of online coupons or discount vouchers which are taken off the Internet.
Whether you are using the actual or online coupons, what’s important is that you are saving money while using them. Now, when seen from the perspective of the retailer, what do they actually get from printing coupons and offering them to consumers? Take a look at the following list:
To grab the attention of their target market
When seen from an overall perspective, couponing is something that benefits both the consumer and the retailer. From the end of the consumer, they do get discounts instead of paying full price for a product that they usually buy, anyway. From a retailer’s point of view, they can use coupons to easily grab the attention of their target market. The more popular their coupons become, the more impactful their promotional campaign would be.
In fact, according to the Food Marketing Institute, the average supermarket carried almost 39,000 brands in 2010. Out of these tens of thousands of brands, how can brand A be set apart from brands B, C, D, E, etc.? Through coupons, retailers can set themselves apart from the rest which will in turn increase present and future sales.
To promote a new product
Consumers are typically loyal to a brand that they’ve enjoyed using for the past years. If you are a retailer who’s considered as a new player in the market, you need to do something to entice loyal buyers to switch brands. Coupons are a way to do exactly that. When you offer huge savings for trying out your product, consumers will think twice about buying something for twice the price, for example, even if they are loyal to that brand.
To earn the trust and loyalty of customers
Just because you are offering coupons does not mean that people will continue buying your products even if it is sub-par with the competition. By offering both good quality, a fair price and earning continued trust and loyalty through coupons, you can hit the nail in the head.
To get repeat business
When drafting out the Terms and Conditions for the use of your coupons, you need to do it in such a way that you will get repeat business. For instance, there are some coupons that are designed to be used on the buyer’s next visit to the store. This automatically gives you repeat business. Most retailers work with supermarket chains and store owners when offering coupons that have a purpose of getting the repeat business of customers.
To collate their efforts in marketing
Finally, targeting their marketing efforts is one of the main reasons why retailers and manufacturers offer coupons. Loyalty cards, gift cards and similar promos are used to maximize a brand’s or a product’s marketing efforts. Retailers are definitely missing out on a lot of they fail to use coupons as part of their overall marketing scheme. Collecting coupons may involve a lot of hard work behind the scenes but if you’d like to earn customer loyalty and promote your product, this is the way to go.
Ways to Maximize Your Savings When Using Coupons
Now that you already have an idea about why retailers and manufacturers offer coupons in the first place, remember that there are two kinds that you can use.
First are the store coupons which can be used in-store only. Second, there are the manufacturer-issued coupons which can be used for all products made by a specific manufacturer – at partner stores.
No matter which of these two coupons you end up using, what are the ways for you to maximize your savings through them? Here’s a quick list:
Use coupons to slash a huge percentage off your monthly grocery bills
There’s a reality TV show called Extreme Couponing that shows how people can pay just a few dollars out of thousands of dollars worth of purchases, simply by using coupons. You don’t really have to go to such extremes to take full advantage of the benefits of couponing – but they will save you a lot on grocery bills.
The trick is to use the coupon just for the items that you usually buy in the first place. However, you should also be quite adventurous in trying new brands out because new players in the industry are usually the ones who offer bigger discounts on their products.
Buy national brands instead of generic when buying from supermarkets
In-store or supermarket brands may be cheaper but the problem is that they do not have the resources to advertise their products. As such, if you want to use coupons to save money, you would find them being offered by the bigger players which are the national brands.
The shoppers who can maximize the benefits of coupons are those who are not loyal to one brand
Unfortunately for retailers, 7 out of 10 people are found to be loyal to their local stores, chains or product brands. If you want to use coupons to save money, you should not fall under the category of a loyal consumer. You should be adventurous enough to try out new brands, because the new players are usually the ones who offer the lowest rates in order to entice customers to try them out.
Even if you’re used to buying a certain brand of detergent and you buy it even if it’s not on sale, you might be missing out on great deals if you refuse to try out an entirely different brand.
There are available coupons, even for unprocessed food items
One misconception that buyers have about coupons is that they can only be used on processed or canned food items. Although this is true, there are stores which offer coupons that can be used for fresh produce and even meat. The reason? They’d like you to try out the cheese at their deli section or entice you into buying their other meat products displayed at the part of the store where you can buy fresh produce.
You can take a rain check when using a coupon for a product that’s out of stock
- If you brought coupons with the intention of buying a dozen items and it turns out to be out of stock, you can actually ask the store manager to give you a rain check. This means that once the product goes back on stock on the shelves, you will be given the discounted rate indicated on the coupon.
- It pays to browse the supermarket aisles while shopping.
By now, you might already be aware of the tricks that supermarket owners use to entice you into buying more from the supermarket. The products that are at eye level are usually the biggest-priced items. When you go down one or two aisles, you will find similar products of different brands which come at a lower price. Even if you do have a stash of coupons to use, you should still take the time to browse the aisles so that you can get the lowest possible price for the items you plan to buy.
- Get your coupons online to maximize your savings as a buyer.
Lastly, know that it pays to get your coupons online so that you can maximize your savings as a buyer. There are sites that offer you great discounts for items that you can physically buy from stores, or from items which are sold online. Some websites that you can check out are Coupons.com, WD.com, CouponQueen.com and SmartSource.com. On retailer sites like Amazon, Best Buy or Walmart, you can look for vouchers online for specific products, or check out the free shipping and other perks that the stores offer to maximize the discounts that you can get.