Despite the healthy state of the economy, UK consumers, no matter what their budget, are displaying an increasing appetite for deals. Driven by new retail technology, the humble coupon has undergone a vast transformation in the previous decade as new methods of delivering promotional messages and deals to customers. The proliferation of this technology leaves many retailers in the ideal position to take advantage of the growing popularity of coupons, not only to attract more customers, but to build awareness outside of regular brand fixtures.
The growth of coupon usage has been massive. According to coupon and voucher services company Valassis, 2014 saw UK shoppers redeem 688 million coupons – a significant increase from the 604 million redeemed in 2013, equating to £1.7 billion in savings. Much of this growth has been led by retailers themselves, as the number of retailer-issued coupons saw an even more dramatic increase from 466 million in 2013 to 564 million in 2014.
Although the redemption of newspaper subscription coupons increased from 18 million in 2013 to 20 million in 2014, traditional coupon-clipping has been largely overshadowed by the advent of digital deals.
Modern retail technology has also increased the number of channels available for promoting and distributing coupons. Retailers have the option of utilising a number of apps such as Groupon and VoucherCloud, social media, websites and even in-store technology to push their offers straight to shoppers’ smartphones and other devices both in-store and at-home. Cost-conscious shoppers often use these channels to influence where they shop and what they buy.
The benefits that this trend presents to retailers, if properly exploited, are significant. Retailers can offer multiple coupons to attract new customers, lure back lapsed customers, increase the amount of purchases made per visit and generate interest in products they wish to move. Furthermore, coupons and vouchers are effective in enticing even the most price-conscious consumers, meaning retailers can draw in shoppers who would normally visit a competitor with lower regular prices.
Consumers are increasingly expecting the ability to take advantage of this as well, with a recent study by retail analyst Planet Retail referring to digital coupons as “a key element for achieving omnichannel excellence… and delighting the modern shopper.”
Along with the many benefits digital coupons can help retailers achieve, they also carry an additional advantage over traditional methods such as price-cutting by effectively reducing the potential risk to a business’ bottom line.
Digital coupons provide savvy retailers with the ability to increase their profits in a safe and cost-effective way – but in order to see the full benefits, they must be prepared to invest in an experienced risk-managed sales promoter who can help them navigate the many channels available and utilise deals where they are needed most. Coupons are rising exponentially in popularity, and with the right strategy in place they can delight both the modern shopper and the modern retailer.
By Steve Gales, Sales Director, Opia, a sales promotion consultancy focusing on creating compelling end user and reseller promotional campaigns which differentiate products from competitors, generate genuine added value and drive sell out and increase on margins.