Inmar Inc. | April 23, 2013

Hopefully, by now, you've heard Devora Rogers, Inmar's Sr. Director, Retail Marketing Insights, present the results of Inmar Analytics' recent shopper behavior survey. Conducted in February, the online survey asked more than 1,000 coupon users about their shopping behavior, their engagement with technology relative to shopping, the types of coupons they use, how they discover/acquire coupons and their attitudes towards coupon use.

If you haven't heard the presentation (or even if you have) there are several significant insights from the study that warrant repeating -- and close attention from both brands and retailers. Below are some of the findings that resonated with me.

  • Survey participants responded that (on average) they use more than six vehicles to acquire coupons including FSIs, on-pack, on-shelf, email, websites (retailer and manufacturer) and social media. So how diversified is your offer distribution mix? Are you engaging shoppers both in-store and out? Are you sure?
  • More than a third of those surveyed (38 percent) voiced the opinion that there are "too many rules/exclusions for using coupons." I see this, in part, as a response to increased purchase requirements — one of the "belt tightening" measures that likely contributed to last year's decline in coupon redemption. (See the Inmar 2013 Coupon Trends Report.) We've been hearing for some time that shoppers want it "easy" to use coupons. We're hearing it again.
  • At the same time, shoppers want coupons for their favorite products and brands. A majority of the shoppers who completed the survey (65 percent) indicated they want coupons automatically loaded to their store loyalty card for products they normally buy. That same proportion of respondents indicated they want emails sent to them with these coupons. Regardless of their preferred method of receiving coupons, many of the survey participants (70 percent) believe retailers "try to offer coupons on brands they like to buy." What's your strategy for distributing targeted offers to identified shoppers? Are you trying or are you "doing?"

There is, of course, much more information available from the study that brands and retailers will find useful in developing promotion strategies that address identified changes in shopper behavior and coupon use. Some of those strategies will need to center on deployment of new technology, others will demand improved shopper data collection and analysis and others, still, will require enhanced marketing coordination among trading partners. As there appears to be no single solution, the discussion regard how best to engage this "new couponer" will likely continue for some time. I invite you to post your comments on this topic at my blog.