Validation/Clearing Solutions Highlight Exhibits at Industry Coupon Conference

June 18, 2010 at 8:34 am (News)

By Jack Grant

Solutions are needed to combat the mis/malredemption and fraud associated with paper coupons. These persistent problems continue to create financial hardship for manufacturers, retailers, media partners, as well as retailer clearing houses and manufacturer agents.

Some of these solutions were among several others on display last month in Las Vegas at the annual Industry Coupon Conference hosted by the Association of Coupon Professionals (ACP) in collaboration with other industry groups.

“The exhibits gave manufacturers and retailers the chance to learn about the latest technology and solutions that improve couponing,” said John Morgan, executive director of ACP. 

For example, the Intelligent Clearing Network (ICN) introduced a solution that electronically validates and clears coupons and other incentives at the point of sale (POS) in grocery, drug, and mass merchant retailers. By replacing today’s manual, convoluted, and fraud-prone process, ICN’s clearing network provides manufacturers, media companies, and retailers with true “real time” redemption information the moment the incentive clears the retailer’s POS system.

“Solving the problem at the POS is the most effective way of addressing the problem,” Rich Thibedeau, ICN’s Executive Vice President of Operations told CPGmatters in the exhibit area. He said the company’s single connection to a retailer’s POS also provides a very elegant digital solution which eliminates the need for downloading and uploading files to the POS.

By implementing a validation service for processing paper coupons at the POS, he explained, the industry can potentially save up to hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Manufacturers and retailers will see direct improvements to their bottom lines.

Meanwhile, the growth of digital coupons is placing a strain on retailers’ POS systems. As the popularity of digital coupons continues to grow, explained Thibedeau, ICN’s software has the ability to take the strain off the retailer’s POS systems and eliminates the need for downloading and uploading files to the POS. The more media programs the retailer adds the more complicated the POS processing becomes.

The bottom line: ICN provides a single connection to the retailer’s POS which can serve the needs of both paper and digital coupon validation and clearing.

Meanwhile, executives from Cunningham Electronics Corporation were on hand to explain their Electronic Coupon Redemption System (ECRS). The company says that for less than

3 cents of the 8 cents that is paid by manufacturers for coupon redemption, “we can provide the average retailer with a customer service that eliminates the millions of dollars wasted in redeeming coupons that are not properly verified and validated.”

The company listed the following benefits of its ECRS:

  • An audit trail to provide proof of purchase for both paper and electronic coupons
  • Elimination of altered or counterfeit coupon redemption – no more chargebacks
  • Weekly payment for coupons redeemed the previous week.
  • Elimination of shipping coupons and associated costs for both retailers and manufacturers.
  • Full and accurate validation of each coupon regardless of the barcode used (UPC         or GS1).
  • Both retailers and manufacturers receive the transaction records for verification of coupons processed each week.

ProLogic Redemption Solutions presented itself as “the retailer’s advocate on coupon clearing and processing.”  The company aims to help retailers and wholesalers recover expenses associated with their coupon programs. Specifically, this means:

  • Accurate counting and sorting
  • Quick payments
  • Reimbursements for shipping and handling expenses
  • Clearing for both paper and digital coupons
  • Pharmacy receivables management services.

Document Security Systems (DSS) provides security printing and anti-counterfeiting technologies. By combining a patented suite of AuthentiGuard security printing techniques with industry recognized features, and a strict set of security-focused standard operating procedures, DSS aims to ensure maximum mitigation of risk for valuable print programs. 

The company says it has printed millions of coupons for the world’s most recognized consumer product companies – without any report of fraud. Its layered technology approach is designed to ensure maximum protection against copying and scanning, and “irrefutable authentication upon redemption.”

Totally focused on “shopper marketing,” Meyers is the preferred company of some of the world’s most prestigious brands for retail signage, in-pack and on-pack promotional vehicles and for high-security products.

The company says that its approach to coupon fraud is used by the most influential brands in the world. A combination of overt and covert printing processes in addition to CIC protocols is designed to allow Meyers to offer high-security coupons.

NPC provides customized print and electronic document solutions for customers. Its ConfiDoc solution was developed for customer care, rewards programs, and high-value offers. This integrated coupon and letter is the deliverable of a broader coupon solution build to cost effectively secure high value and free product coupons as well as create opportunities to enhance consumer interaction.

Pinpoint Data, provider of barcoding and family code management for the promotions industry, exhibited its site of tools for manufacturers to produce, validate and communicate barcodes and associated data sets to the marketplace. CouponChek and ProductChek are online barcode content validation tools. The Barcode Wizard incorporates protections into an online wizard interface that instantly creates properly coded barcodes. FamilyCode Manager and Product Data Dispatcher products maintain and electronically distribute family code information to retailers.

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Latest Trends Provide Clues About New Shopping Behavior

June 17, 2010 at 8:30 am (News)

By John Karolefski

Today’s “new normal” shopping behavior is revealed in analysis of the latest coupon distribution and usage trends.

 The research by Valassis provides greater insight into consumer savings habits with coupons – what they are buying, where they are shopping and how the economy is defining a new “normal” when it comes to shopping behavior. 

“Consumers really have a savings mindset now. I think that is a permanent shift in their behavior,” said Suzie Brown, chief marketing officer for Valassis, a leading media and marketing services company.

Current economic conditions are leading 94% of those surveyed to use consumer packaged good (CPG) coupons at least once in the past year, and 77% with regularity.

Consumers redeemed 23% more coupons in 2009 than the prior year – the second-highest increase in year-over-year redemption volume ever recorded, bringing the total number of coupons redeemed to 3.2 billion. As a result, consumers saved nearly $3.5 billion with coupons, an increase of $800 million (nearly 30%) over the prior year.

These findings were revealed as part of the 2010 NCH Coupon Facts Report recently released by NCH Marketing Services, a Valassis company.   

The percentage of consumers planning their shopping lists with CPG coupons is up significantly during recessionary times. In 2009, 88% matched their shopping lists with coupons compared to 78% in 2007. Shopping behavior with coupons has changed and new habits will be maintained in the future even as consumers’ personal economic situations improve, according to responses to four questions posed in the NCH Consumer Survey:

  • 31% are more careful about remembering to bring coupons to the store – 74% expect this behavior to continue
  • 25% are clipping more coupons than before – 72% expect this habit to continue
  • 6% are clipping coupons, which they never did before – 58% expect to continue clipping coupons in the future
  • 3% have joined coupon clubs or attended meetings about coupons – 50% expect to be involved in such activities in the future.

“With consumers’ strong  focus on value and a greater reliance on research and planning, these upward trends point to a permanent change in the mindset of today’s deal-seeking shopper,” said Brown. “Tomorrow’s shopper will be just as savvy. The new findings also reinforce the fact that consumers won’t part as easily with their hard-earned money without pairing it with a deal in print or digitally.”

She elaborated that people will open their wallets to spend money, but what they’re looking for is the best value they can get.

“In the last couple of years, consumers have been more focused on ‘needs’ versus ‘wants,’” she said. “When they get into the ‘want’ category, they want to have a deal that would generate the best value for the purchase. We feel very pleased that we’re able to bring the greatest amount of deals and offers and values to consumers so that they can make the best possible shopping decisions.”

Coupon redemption grew each quarter in 2009:

  • Redemption for grocery products increased by 25%, representing 2 billion coupons
  • Redemption of health and beauty care (HBC) products increased by 20%, representing 1.2 billion coupons.

Marketers issued more high-valued coupons in 2009, and 74% of them required the purchase of only one item to receive the discount. The average face value of a CPG coupon increased 6% in 2009 to $1.37. More specifically:

  • The average face value of a HBC coupon in 2009 increased to $1.82
  • 86% of HBC coupons issued in 2009 had face values of more than 75 cents
  • The average face value of a grocery coupon in 2009 increased to $1.16
  • 67% of grocery coupons issued in 2009 had face values greater than 75 cents.

Likewise, coupon distribution increased in record proportion in 2009 with 311 billion coupons in the marketplace, representing an 11% increase by CPG manufacturers. Grocery coupons accounted for 64% of the CPG coupons issued in 2009.

“As CPG marketers faced the pressure of maintaining sales and fending off private label competition in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, they strategically increased their use of coupon promotions in 2009 across all major forms of coupon media,” said Charlie Brown, NCH Vice President of Marketing.

CPG marketers continued to allocate the largest share of coupons to the cooperative free-standing insert (FSI) coupon booklet, accounting for 86% of CPG coupon distribution in 2009. While the Internet represented 1% of CPG coupon distribution in 2009 – up 50% from 2008 – the redemption share was nearly 10%.

“Internet coupon distribution remains a small portion of the total CPG coupon media market, but it is growing faster than any other medium,” Charlie Brown said. “As redemption rates of online coupons increase as well, these trends indicate that CPG marketers are using the Internet more and more to reach consumers with coupons, and consumers, especially in current economic times, are responding at an increasing pace.”

In 2009,, a leading savings and lifestyle site, issued an  estimated 194 million coupons. The RedPlum Network, with nearly 1,000 affiliate sites, is the fastest growing coupon network.

“Our RedPlum portfolio is well positioned to continue delivering the savings that consumers desire in a variety of ways – in the mail, newspaper, digitally and in-store,” said Suzie Brown.

The full coupon facts report is available for free by registering at

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Publix Providing Guidance to Cashiers on Fake Coupons

June 16, 2010 at 12:12 pm (News)

June 15, 2010

With consumer coupon use on the upswing, the incidence of counterfeit coupons is unfortunately increasing as well. Like many other grocers, Publix has seen its share of PhotoShop-created phonies. As company spokeswoman Shannon Patten told Tampa, Fla., CBS affiliate WTSP (10 News) for an article appearing on the station’s Web site, “Coupon fraud is definitely something popular right now.”

To counteract this trend, the Lakeland, Fla.-based company is now providing its cashiers with helpful tips on how to spot fraudulent coupons from the real deals. Associates are instructed to question coupons that say “no purchase necessary,” or offer discounts that exceed the item’s value. Other red flags include missing UPC codes or a lack of legal fine print from the manufacturer.

Despite its precautionary measures regarding fakes, Publix still encourages the use of legitimate coupons as a valuable marketing tool, Patten told the TV station, which covers news in Tampa, Sarasota, Clearwater and St. Petersburg, “[b]ut we’ve got to make sure we accept legitimate ones and our cashiers are really learning how to spot a bogus vs. a real.”

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Tracking the Surge as Redemption Rolls on

June 16, 2010 at 8:26 am (News)

By Todd Hale

Once on their way to extinction, coupons made a strong resurgence in 2009. While they offer consumers a chance to stretch their dollars further, they also offer real growth opportunities for retailers and manufacturers—if they know exactly who to target and how to leverage established and emerging coupon delivery vehicles.

People of a certain age may nostalgically recall the sight of mom flipping through the Sunday newspaper to clip coupons from the numerous inserts stuffed in the paper. She may have even had a little envelope or “coupon caddy” organized by product category. This kind of memory tends to be among those of us who are baby boomers or Gen Xers—a quaint recollection from the previous century. Indeed, coupon redemption hit a peak in 1999: 4.6 billion, as reported by Inmar. 

Since then, it’s been downhill for the humble coupon. During the three-year period ending 2008, annual manufacturer coupon redemptions leveled off at just 2.6 billion per year.

The “Great Recession” of 2009 changed all of that and marked a sort of renaissance for the coupon. Inmar reports that coupon redemptions grew by 27% as Americans searched for ways to cut household costs and get more for their money. NCH Marketing Services claimed 2009 coupon redemption levels “achieved the second highest year-over-year growth ever recorded.”

Paperless Progress

While newspaper inserts are still the primary method of coupon distribution (89%) and redemption (53%), Internet redemption growth has skyrocketed, rising 263% in 2009.

And while clipping continues to be a primary means of distribution, manufacturers and retailers launched new ways to get coupons into consumers’ hands such as printable coupons on the Internet, in-store kiosks and discounts linked to frequent shopper cards via smartphones and computers, negating the need for a paper coupon at all. In short, it is easier than ever to distribute and use coupons, and this convenience is also a key driver of redemption growth.

Inmar reports that the majority of coupons were redeemed at conventional grocery stores (65%), but all classes of trade—dollar stores, mass merchandisers, convenience stores, military commissaries and drug stores—posted double-digit redemption growth:

Category                 Redemption Growth Share of Redemption

Dollar/Discount/Variety           71%                            20%

Mass Merchandiser                      26%                            20%

Conventional Supermarket       20%                            65%

Pharmacy                                         16%                              6%

Convenience                                   12%                              4%

Military Commissary                   12%                              4%

Source: The Nielsen Company

Redemption growth outside of traditional food channels is a reflection of a coupon movement that started with food, but quickly turned to non-food in the second half of 2009. Non-food coupon redemption growth escalated from a rate of 9% in the first quarter to 46% in second quarter and continued growing throughout the year—rising 45% in third quarter and 37% in fourth quarter. A total of 1.2 billion non-food coupons were redeemed in 2009, representing one-third all coupons.

80/20 Rule in Play
While the recession drove heavier coupon usage across low to heavy coupon users from 2008 into 2009, all but the heaviest coupon user group experienced negative total unit growth (with and without a coupon). All told, 83% of units purchased with manufacturer coupons in 2009 were done so by just 22% of households. Coupon enthusiasts—the heaviest users—accounted for 65% of manufacturer coupon unit purchases and 18% of all unit purchases in 2009. They drove a disproportionate amount of sales and sales growth—shopping more frequently, making 1.7 more trips than non-users and buying more (a rate 1.8 times greater annually). While some might think that “crazed coupon clippers” are only interested in a good deal, these findings suggests real benefits to manufacturers and retailers deploying coupons in their marketing mix.

More Money = More Coupons
With the value offered by coupons, one might think that the lowest income households would be among the heaviest users. In fact, more affluent households dominate coupon usage: 38% of “super heavy” users and 41% of “enthusiasts” come from households with incomes greater than $70,000. Households with income of $100,000 and up were the primary drivers of coupon growth in 2009. The enthusiast category also attracts a disporportionate number of households with incomes between $50,000 and $69,900.

Trends relating to newspaper readership provide some explanation for this imbalance.  According to Scarborough Research, better educated and higher income households buy and read the newspaper more than others and newspapers remain a key vehicle for delivering coupons. Additionally, promotions are generally targeted in areas with more affluent consumers. In essence, the better educated and more affluent consumers are much better at looking for deals as they recognize the value of money.

Beyond income levels, more than half (51%) of larger households (3+ members) are “enthusiasts,” while roughly one-third of non- and lighter coupon users are single person households. Younger female households use coupons more, while male-only households use them less. Older users (65+) are also important “heavier” and “super” coupon users.

All ethnic groups use coupons, but three-fourths of the average coupon “clipper” is white. Households residing in comfortable country and affluent suburban spreads are more likely to be heavier coupon users, while non-users are more apt to be those households living in rural areas and struggling urban core areas.

Manufacturers and retailers have real opportunities to reach different groups with coupons and promotions, particularly African-American and Hispanic households. While this may require adjustments to existing tactics, the potential pay-off—in terms of volume growth and winning new customer loyalty—can be significant.

Future Look
As the economy improves, will consumers continue to use coupons? With the economic recovery taking hold slowly and without significant employment growth, expect coupon use to continue. As long as Americans feel unsure about their personal finances or confident about their jobs, they are going to continue to look at ways to save and get the most for their money. In addition to expanding the appeal of coupons in general, manufacturers and retailers would do well to target enthusiasts: their shopping behaviors and demographics make them extremely appealing.  With advancements in coupon delivery vehicles that enable both better targeted coupon distribution and redemption, manufacturers and retailers will continue to have real opportunities to use coupons to drive sales for the next few years and beyond.

Todd Hale is Senior Vice President, Consumer & Shopper Insights for The Nielsen Company

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Coupons have not changed in over 100 years

May 20, 2010 at 1:59 pm (Opinions Anyone?)

It is time for change – It is time for COUPONEX!

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Senate Passes Credit and Debit Card Interchange Reforms

May 19, 2010 at 7:47 am (News)

Christine Cunnick National Grocers Association

N.G.A. Commends Senator Durbin’s Leadership on Victory



Major amendment to reform the excessive debit card interchange fees and restrictive practices imposed on retail grocers and other merchants nationwide by the credit card networks and their largest banks that have assets of $10 billion dollars or more. Under the sponsorship and leadership of Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) the amendment to the pending Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010, S. 3217, authorizes the Federal Reserve to undertake rulemaking to establish that debit interchange fees shall be reasonable and proportional to the actual cost incurred by the payment card networks.

 In addition, the amendment would allow merchants to offer discounts or incentives for customers to use competing card networks and for customers to pay by cash, check or debit card and allow merchants to choose to set a minimum or maximum amount to use a credit card. These are practices that the current credit card network rules prohibit merchants from offering.

“Senator Durbin is to be commended for his determination and leadership in support of efforts by merchants to level the playing field against the unfair and anti-competitive interchange fees and restrictive practices that have been set by the credit card networks and their largest banks. This is a significant win for consumers and merchants who will benefit from these reforms,” said Tom Wenning, N.G.A. Executive Vice President and General Counsel.

N.G.A.’s independent community focused retail and wholesale grocers, along with other merchants nationwide played a vital role in the win through their grassroots contacts in support of Senator Durbin’s amendment. After more than four years of educating members of Congress, passage of the Durbin amendment breaks the legislative logjam to offer consumers and merchants relief from excessive interchange fees and abusive rules. For the last month N.G.A. members and merchants from across the country have contacted their Senators to support these reforms. Congress will now have to complete passage of the financial regulatory reform legislation with the Durbin amendment included and send it to the President for his signature into law. A goal that N.G.A. will continue to advocate and support.

-The United States Senate by a bipartisan vote of 64 to 33 on May 10, passed a N.G.A. is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry. An independent retailer is a privately owned or controlled food retail company operating a variety of formats. Most independent operators are serviced by wholesale distributors, while others may be partially or fully self-distributing. Some are publicly traded but with controlling shares held by the family and others are employee owned. Independents are the true “entrepreneurs” of the grocery industry and dedicated to their customers, associates, and communities. N.G.A. members include retail and wholesale grocers, state grocers associations, as well as manufacturers and service suppliers. For more information about N.G.A. and the independent sector of the industry, see the N.G.A. website:

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FMI 2010 / Las Vegas

May 17, 2010 at 9:18 am (News)

COUPONEX was out in force at the FMI in Las Vegas last week. Our team canvassed the show for manufacturers who would be interested in taking their coupon needs out of the old school of paper and into the new school of paperless technology. It looks like some good contacts were made, and we are looking forward to developing those further.

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Loyalty programs: what works, what doesn’t

April 15, 2010 at 8:00 am (News)

By Jarrett Paschel, Ph.D.

It really is quite enlightening to head to Wikipedia and look up the various definitions of loyalty.

The first entry under loyalty reads: Loyalty, also called allegiance or truth, is faithfulness or a devotion to a person or cause.

In the second definition, before discussing weighty topics such as Loyalty and ethics and Loyalty in the Bible, we find Loyalty and Marketing, which is defined as follows:

The practice of providing discounts, prizes, or other incentives to encourage continued patronage of a business. Generally, loyalty programs are considered less expensive to maintain than allowing customer defection or “churn.”

Sandwiched somewhere between allegiance or truth and the philosophical foundation to ethics we find the marketer’s version of loyalty: “Hey Tommy boy, toss a couple of coupons her way so next time she might think about, uhh, you know, coming back!”

In other words, loyalty programs are thought by many to be the least costly method of trying to get your customers to come back. Perhaps not surprisingly, the least costly methods are often the least effective.

We’ve been listening to frustrated consumers complain about retail loyalty programs for years, so we were not surprised that our recent research confirmed this position. Looking at the chart we find that 74 percent of consumers somewhat or strongly agree that “retailers need new and better ways of rewarding loyal customers.” Moreover, the statements below that received scores above 40 percent, only two of the seven are positive.

Clearly something needs to change.

But what should change? And how?

From our perspective, consumer loyalty strategies in the retail arena should be defined as follows:

A unilateral and selfless acknowledgement of your organization’s appreciation for your customer’s continued patronage and support with a gift or service of substantive or meaningful value. Ideally, such gifts should be usable or consumable immediately or in the near-term future—as opposed to a carrot dangling from above.

These gifts or rewards need not be obviously monetary in nature, such as granting your customers access to expedited security lines at airports. But the bottom line is that true loyalty is driven by something beyond regular discounts or reward points (i.e., airline miles). True loyalty is about making your customer’s life better in a meaningful way, however small or large the gesture may be.

We believe current loyalty programs can be roughly sorted into three categories:

1) Routinized:

These are the expected discounts based on commonly held consumer beliefs regarding the nature of economic transactions. Consumers view this loyalty as an inducement or a “tit for tat” relationship not dissimilar from volume discounts. The rewards here are viewed as almost meaningless. As one consumer observed:

What is the point of the loyalty club card savings when every single wine in the wine department is always on the “club card savings price,” not to mention half of the entire frozen food aisles? It becomes some stupid hassle to go through just to ensure I get the real price. Besides, whenever I forget my card the cashier just swipes hers…

This category is the least successful at driving both loyalty perceptions as well as continued patronage. Honestly, is this as good as we can do as an industry?

Examples: Grocery store loyalty cards, automatic cash back savings (i.e., Discover card’s 5 percent program), x percent savings for the use of the retailer’s credit card.

2) Incremental/Deferred:

While somewhat effective at driving continued patronage, these programs do not necessarily drive true loyalty. These programs are typically structured around the idea that repeated visits result in gradual accrual of ownership of a meaningful reward of monetary value. The term “gradual accrual of ownership” may sound awkward, but it was not that long ago that frequent flyers would be rewarded with actual tickets that could be traded in the open marketplace.

Yet while these programs might encourage continued patronage over time, they do not drive permanent patronage, as evidenced by the fact that while consumers do collect airline miles—often across a variety of airlines—the vast majority still purchase tickets based on which airline offers the best prices or the most convenient scheduling. Collecting miles is meaningful and fun, but it rarely reminds the consumer of the passion the brand maintains for its customers.

Likewise, what does it mean for consumers when nearly every single airline—as well as most credit cards—award loyalty points?

Examples: Airline miles programs, travel rewards programs, “Every X meal free” cards, etc.

3) Substantive:

Finally we arrive at the most effective loyalty strategies. These are what we term substantive loyalty programs because they drive loyalty via innovative methods of surprise and delight, as well as more general methods of making their customers lives noticeably better.

To be certain, the various airline elite status programs share elements in common with deferred loyalty programs, but here the rewards are different because they improve their customers’ quality of life on a regular basis. As opposed to airline miles, which many people collect in the same manner as the now dated S&H Greenstamps, airline status is all about quality of travel—and, by proxy, quality of life. Access to preferred security lines, free upgrades, better customer service, and access to private lounges all encourage more permanent loyalty behaviors. As most seasoned travelers come to understand, you pick one or two airlines and stick with them—even if it means that you are often forced to forego the convenience of a non-stop route.

But the best loyalty programs channel the human desire for surprise and delight with gifts of meaning and significance.

Examples: Here we find that the best-in-class examples are not really generalizable or classifiable precisely because of their unique, customized nature. Consider the following example from a consumer we recently interviewed:

Despite the fact that I love to collect my Starwood points, there are a few hotels that I always stay at even though they don’t offer reward programs.

One hotel really stands out. Upon checking in, I am often upgraded to a larger room, though to be honest that’s not such a big deal…What’s really cool is that when I get to my room there’s usually a half-bottle of champagne, a box of chocolates and a personal letter of thanks from the hotel’s manager, along with an invitation to a complimentary dinner and a couple of drink tickets. Honestly, who would prefer points to this kind of treatment?

Moving away from the travel industry, consider the following scenario: You have become acquainted with the manager of the wine department at your local grocery store. He has helped you pick out wines on numerous occasions. One day he walks up and says, “Hey I’ve got this great new wine I would love for you to try, it’s one of the best Italian wines I’ve had in ages.” While telling you this you watch as he scratches the $35.99 price tag off and replaces it with one that reads $3.99…he ends the interaction with a well-timed, “Let me know what you think.” After such a display of generosity and the closing remark all but requires one to continue the relationship.

Several best-in-class food retailers begin every month by sending all of their customers on their mailing list a coupon good for something of bona fide value for free. Past examples include lobster legs, a rib eye steak, a large bottle of Tide, and a pie. We’ll take the steak any day.

And how about your favorite restaurant for taking clients to dine? Why should it seem improbable that they start every meal—whether you are with clients or without—by serving you a couple of bottles of complimentary champagne?

The Upshot?

All told, the human desire to demonstrate loyalty via the ritual of continued patronage is a near universal feature of all modern economies. Your customers are begging to award you their loyalty—in part because it reduces the effort spent always having to make choices. This makes it all the more puzzling that today’s retail landscape remains littered with the dusty remnants of broken loyalty programs. Surely someone can manage to fill this void?

Dr. Paschel is the vice president of strategy and innovation for research consultancy The Hartman Group. Photo by joelogon.

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2010 NCH Coupon Facts Report Now Available

April 14, 2010 at 11:42 am (News)

As Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) marketers in 2009 faced the pressure of maintaining sales and fending off private label competition in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, they strategically increased their use of coupon promotions. As a result, CPG marketers in the U.S. distributed a record-breaking 311 billion coupons in 2009 – an 11% increase over the prior year and the largest single-year distribution quantity ever recorded.

Naturally, consumers were more actively seeking ways to save money during these difficult economic times. More than 88% of consumers reported planning their shopping lists with coupons, up ten percentage points from pre-recession levels. In addition, 58% of consumers reported that they were maintaining their level of coupon use, and 30% reported using more coupons than the prior year. Nearly one in three consumers reported being more careful to bring their coupons to the store, and six percent of consumers even reported that their economic situation had caused them to start clipping coupons, a shopping behavior that they had never done before.

Consumers’ new frugality caused them to respond positively to the greater availability of coupon offers. In 2009, consumers redeemed 23% more coupons than the prior year. This was the second-highest increase in year-over-year redemption volume ever recorded, bringing the total number of coupons redeemed to 3.2 billion. As a result, consumers saved nearly $3.5 billion with coupons, an increase of $800 million (or nearly 30%) over the prior year.

As these new behaviors become ingrained in consumers’ shopping habits, frugality will continue to be the norm. Among those consumers who reported clipping more coupons or being more careful about bringing coupons to the store, nearly three-fourths indicated that they would continue these behaviors in the future, even when their personal economic situations improve.

With consumer interest in coupons remaining extremely high and frugal shopping habits becoming permanent, both paper and digital coupons are expected to be important techniques that marketers will use to reach and motivate consumers in 2010 and beyond.

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April 8, 2010 at 1:46 pm (News)

We have just learned that COUPONEX met with a local retailer and word on the street is they have agreed to work together on the pilot.  More news will be released when it is known.

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