Viewpoints
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Viewpoint: Study shows coupons change buyer behavior

Nearly half of shoppers said they loaded coupons to loyalty cards

Every year for the past 25 years, we have examined coupon activity, i.e., distribution, redemption, average face value, etc., for the prior year and combined the data with historical data to illustrate activity trends over the last five years. From there, we create The Inmar Promotion Industry Analysis (PIA) and our Shopper Behavior Study, which highlight shopper behavior to provide thought leadership on a multitude of relevant topics.

The 2017 study revealed that coupons have a notable impact as 45% of shoppers claimed they loaded coupons to their loyalty cards, up from 37% in 2016, and among regular Load-to-Card coupon users, 90% said the coupon changed their behavior.

Shoppers who have coupons buy more, buy sooner and buy brands they might not have otherwise considered.

Despite being time-strapped and over-committed, shoppers are carefully and consistently planning their shopping trips when they’re going for groceries. Enabled by the increasing availability of digital coupons (and their ease of acquisition) shoppers are using digital coupons to decide what makes their lists and protect their budgets.

Surveyed shoppers say coupons will cause them to change their actions:

● 39.1% would buy sooner
● 39% said they would buy a brand they otherwise would not
● 38.5% said they’d buy more
● 29.9% said they’d buy a different product (within a brand)
● 18.1% said they’d switch back

Digital coupons are seeing five consecutive years of double-digit growth.

In a marketplace where other methods of distribution are facing continuing challenges, digital coupons are seeing double-digit growth for the fifth year. The share of redemption for Load-to-Card has increased 587% from 2013 to 2017, while Print-at-Home (-27%) and Free-Standing Inserts (-21%) showed declines over the same time period. In addition:

● 77% of shoppers claimed to have made a shopping list prior to going to the store
● 40% of shoppers claimed to look for digital coupons before going to the store

Marketers must be ever-more strategic in how they use promotions to engage and activate shoppers.

Brands must embrace mobile and digital solutions: Shoppers continue to demand convenience when looking for ways to save on groceries and are turning more and more to easily acquired Load-to-Card coupons (L2C). Marketers have been increasingly responsive to consumer demand and have been significantly increasing their distribution of Load-to-Card coupons.

● Marketers distributed 38% more Load-to-Card coupons in 2017 compared to 2016.
● Redemption of these digital coupons has increased 67% in 2017 compared to 2016.

Eighty percent of shoppers admit that they’re more likely to purchase from and interact with a brand that offers an engaging mobile experience. (Source: Huffington Post)

Print-at-Home coupons are no longer being perceived as a digital solution for shoppers. With distribution down 15% and redemption down 33%, shoppers are clearly rejecting PAH and looking for true digital solutions such as L2C.

Brands need to meet shoppers where they are on their shopping journey.

Audiences such as Millennial moms look for offers pre, during and post the shopping journey. It is paramount that retailers understand that today’s shoppers are searching for convenience and savings all across the digital and mobile landscape.

Brands need to increase their spend in digital coupons.

It’s never been more evident that due consideration should be given to paper coupons with the growing popularity of digital coupons. Free-Standing Inserts found in the Sunday newspaper continue to dominate both distribution and redemption.

However, that dominance in redemption is a reflection of the disproportionate number of these coupons available versus other, more popular, coupon types. Free-Standing Inserts made up 90.8% = of all coupons distributed, and 34.6% of all coupons redeemed in 2017, while other methods like Load-to-Card made up 1.1% of all coupons distributed and 10.9% of all coupons redeemed.

Generation Z, Millennials, busy shopping parents and even Boomers are just finding digital coupons to be more convenient and easier to use whether at convenience, supermarket, mass merchandisers or drug stores. The retailers and brands that will win with these shoppers are those integrating digital promotions into all of their marketing efforts.

Holly Pavlika is the SVP marketing and content for Inmar.

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