Inmar Inc. | April 4, 2013

Shoppers still like, want and use coupons. Inmar's most recent shopper behavior study found that 60 percent of shoppers surveyed use coupons for more than half of their shopping trips. But, coupon redemption fell in 2012.

At the same time, a quick look at our 2013 Coupon Trends Report (the 25th annual edition, by way) reveals that the average redemption rate for Print-at-Home coupons rose to 10.18 percent in 2012 and the average redemption rate for eCoupons (paperless) was 11.20 percent. Add to that a 200 percent increase in redemptions for paperless Load-to-Card and it's obvious that shopper adoption of digital coupons is trending up.

So, why did coupon redemption — overall — take a major hit in 2012?

The answer is simple. Shoppers didn't get the right offers. However, what the "right offer" is has multiple views:

First, offer values were down. The truth of promotion is that sometimes the discount needs to be compelling enough, and 2012 showed that shoppers often didn't see offers with face values great enough to incent purchase.

Second, mass couponing can oversaturate consumers, particularly when the offers that shoppers receive don't reflect their wants and needs, or preferences. Targeted offers have higher engagement and redemption.

Third, shoppers are still engaging mostly in paper. While the promise of digital is strong, the lack of adoption of standards by retailers and manufacturers is holding back the paperless segment growth, where real targeting and marketing power is greater.

Finally, the "right offer" will change based on the customer segment the marketer seeks. For instance:

  1. For loyal users, it might be a lower value offer that focused on new parts of the product line not used.
  2. For transient users between brands, it could be a higher value, "stock-up offer" (e.g. get $2 off when you buy 3) that locks in the share and keeps the consumption in your brand for the next few purchase cycles.
  3. And for competitor users, perhaps it's an even higher value trial-driving offer on the most compelling new products in the line.

Growth opportunities are everywhere right now. Taking advantage just requires the right offers.

Credit: Travis Lewis