Consumers like to receive products for FREE, and if that isn’t possible, they like to get them next to nothing. Stephen Denny, author and expert on strategic insight for SMBs, advises small businesses such as independent retailers to make it easier for customers to say YES. According to Denny this means changing the way you look at pricing, particularly in these economic times. Coupons are a traditional form of marketing that may assist in your customers’ purchasing decision, allowing you to count each clip of the scissors as a yes.
Inmar Reports Coupon Usage on the Rise
Providing further insight into this simple marketing tactic and its reception by customers is Inmar, a provider of solutions that connects trading partners through consulting, software services and operations, and a leader in the promotions industry who has processed more than 2.3 billion coupons annually. Providing promotions management, coupons processing and business intelligence for many of the nation’s leading retailers and manufacturers, Inmar closely monitors coupon distribution and redemption across the country and regularly reports on trends and activity in this sector. Its latest report highlights that coupon redemption was up 4 percent in the second quarter compared with the same period in 2010.
Following a flat first quarter, this increase pushes redemption up by 1 percent for the first six months of 2011. This increase was driven, in part, by an unexpected surge in non-food coupon redemption. This segment, which represents 35 percent of all redemption activity, rose 3 percent. While the free-standing insert (FSI) dominated distribution (90 percent of all coupons distribution are FSIs), the increases in redemption centered on in-store and at-shelf promotions such as instant redeemable and electronic shelf redemptions, which were up 12 percent and 17 percent respectively in the first half of 2011. “Our data tells us that consumers are still looking for deals but appear to be less motivated to seek out and redeem the out-of-store offers,” says Bob Carter, president of Promotion Services for Inmar, in a press release. “Some of their confidence in the economy has returned, taking away some of the coupon urgency we saw in 2009, but the sting of recession has kept most tuned into coupons generally.”
At the same time, there was a 7 percent drop in distribution to 167 billion coupons versus the 179 billion distributed during the first six months of last year. This short-term decline indicates a more targeted distribution focus and keeps distribution volume for the year at the 300 billion-plus level, in line with 2009 and 2010 totals. In the first half, marketers also kept coupon face values steady, while making only slight reductions in expiration periods. Since these changes had no material impact on consumer response, Inmar anticipates that the second quarter’s redemption activity could indicate an increasing redemption trend for the remainder of 2011.