John Ross | August 31, 2015

Some of the data coming out of Inmar's recent Mid-year Promotion Industry Analysis webinar was not what we'd hoped to hear. Our research found coupon distribution down -0.9 percent in H1 2015 versus H1 2014 and redemption down 12.5 percent compared with the same time last year. In whole numbers that's 179 billion manufacturer coupons distributed and 1.28 billion coupons redeemed.

While distribution is actually pretty stable across a four-year view, the same can't be said for redemption. Still, the dip in redemption doesn't come as a big surprise and it isn't about shoppers not wanting coupons; it's the effect of current promotion strategies not fully aligning with consumer demand and media use. Shoppers are simply having trouble finding coupons for the products they want to buy. It's a situation that, with the tools and analytics now available to marketers, can be improved.

Even as traditional coupon methods took a hit, L2C coupons saw a 57 percent increase in redemption in H1 2015 compared to the first six months of 2014 — fueled, in part, by a 67 percent increase in distribution over the same period last year. Digital coupons currently comprise a small piece of the redemption "pie" (2.6%), but continuing year-over-year growth in redemption reflects the increasing want by shoppers for coupons delivered, and acquired, digitally. Elevating digital promotions within the marketing mix is the play to make -- now.

With shoppers expecting more personalized engagement from brands and retailers and demanding easier ways to shop, save, and feed their families, marketers must develop sustainable, efficient strategies for conveniently delivering discounts and earning their business. However, before those strategies can be put in place, some hard questions need to be asked:

Do you know your shoppers . . . and how they are influenced by promotions? Our Behavioral Analytics team is collecting data every month from more than 2,200 shoppers who have used a coupon in the last 24 hours, capturing insights into how they used coupons and how those coupons affected their purchase decisions.

Are you effectively measuring investment, and return, from your trade promotions? With Inmar's recent acquisition of Scan Apps, we can now help trading partners better execute, manage and measure these critical promotions.

Do you know your shoppers' coupon acquisition preferences, the elements that drive redemption of the offers they do acquire and how redemption varies by market? The Inmar Promotion Analytics team is expert at developing holistic, market-specific strategies that optimize both offer performance and promotion spend.

Answering these questions to better understand your shoppers and enhance your promotion practices will be essential to improving the current situation. Ask us how we can help.