Promotion Analytics Team | March 21, 2013

Feedback from our clients and attendees of last month's Coupon Trends webinar has been overwhelmingly positive about the new format and additional content we delivered this year. (For those who missed it: in addition to reporting the essential coupon metrics industry professionals have come to expect — distribution, redemption, methods, etc. — this year, we were able to share new information and additional insights courtesy of the shopper study and consumer research conducted by Inmar Analytics.)

The findings had a consistent theme: shoppers want retailers and manufacturers to make things easy for them. Interest in coupons remains extraordinarily high, but consumers want the process of acquiring them to be effortless. More than three-quarters of shoppers (78 percent) want coupons to be applied automatically to their purchase and they want personalized coupons sent directly to them. The message to manufacturers and retailers is clear: "make it easy for me to find and use coupons for the products that I want to buy." While there will always be some small segment of shoppers who enjoy the "gamification" of deal-seeking (stacking, doubling, etc.), the vast majority of consumers have busy lives and simply want the deal. Marketers who make consumers jump through hoops to acquire offers or spend a lot of time chasing down deals are now at risk of losing business!

John Ross, Inmar EVP and President of Inmar Analytics, has been known to refer to this shift in consumer sentiment as a transition from an effort mentality ("If I put in the effort, I can get deals on the brands I buy.") to an entitlement mentality ("If I shop a store a lot, I shouldn't have to work for deals I deserve.") This makes a lot of sense. The key question for many marketers is: "As the economy improves, will shoppers return to their previous purchase behaviors? Or are we training an entire generation of shoppers how to include value-based options in their shopping mix?"

Our data suggests this may be a permanent trend. With supercomputers in our pockets (smartphones) and shopper feedback at our fingertips (coupon blogs and social media in general), this current generation of shoppers is likely to exit the current economic crisis smarter, more informed and more powerful than ever before -- Shopper 3.0, if you will. Marketing to these shoppers, in the days ahead, will require new tools and a new approach.

Inmar Analytics will dive deeper into those new tools and strategies in upcoming posts. Until then, we'd love to hear your feedback and how you plan to effectively market to coupon-savvy, digitally-native shoppers in this rapidly changing economic landscape.