Shoppers Riding Wave of Set-to-Skyrocket Coupon Code Craze this Black Friday & Holiday Shopping Season as Some Retailers Embrace, Others Shun

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Online coupon codes have become increasingly popular: they are easy to find and easy to use. While retailers will experience a record number of customers cashing in on discounts this holiday, and driving revenues higher, they are facing pressure from diminishing profit margins. Can discount-seeking shoppers and retailers find a balance?

Savvy online shoppers are nearly all but trained to hunt down a coupon code before making a purchase

Never before has there been so much deliberate effort put forth by consumers to find online deals, and this year retailers are aggressively offering them. The web, combined with a strained retail climate, has created a new paradigm where consumers are trained look for and locate coupon codes before making a purchase. The Promotional Marketing Association is reporting that eight in ten Americans uses coupons, with seven in ten indicating they “frequently or almost always check or clip coupons” as part of their shopping routine. And according to the NCH, it looks like it’s paying off, as shoppers have already redeemed more than 2.5 billion coupons this year, amounting to a savings of over $3.5 billion. And while a majority of coupons are still clipped, internet coupon usage has soared 79% from just last year. And with just a few weeks before Christmas, now is the perfect time to save with online coupons.

Savvy online shoppers are nearly all but trained to hunt down a coupon code before making a purchase with an online retailer. But prior to even seeking a coupon code, an educated consumer today has far more product knowledge, thanks to online tools such as consumer review website and comparison shopping engines. When a consumer is beginning the hunt for their item, they typically conduct product research and often visit manufacturer’s websites. Next, they’ll investigate numerous consumer-powered product reviews and ratings sites. Further, shoppers can also compare prices on Comparison Shopping Engines to find the lowest priced retailer.

Once a retailer is selected and customer is ready to buy, the coupon code search begins. If the prospective buyer sees a form field where one has the option to enter a coupon code at time of check out, he or she is four times more likely to conduct a few quick coupon code searches. Popular search terms often include the retailer’s name plus the phrase “coupon code”, “discount code”, or “promo code.” Other popular searches include the retailer’s name plus the phrase “free shipping”.

Although the task of locating discount codes can be daunting, there is good news for the consumer. Over the past few years, hundreds of websites have sprung up that help consumers easily find relevant coupon codes. But the surging popularity of coupon codes is mixed news for the retailers. On one hand, retailers are desperately clamoring for additional sales revenue, and new customers, even if it costs them in the form of deep discounts. But on the other, the proliferation of coupon codes means discounts only intended for subset groups (loyal shoppers, etc) are now being utilized by the masses, and retailers are left speculating that these coupon codes are cannibalizing sales they possibly could have made at full price.
So what are these promotions, and what do they look like?

Here’s a selection of popular coupons that are collected and distributed to shoppers:

Black Friday Specials
http://www.couponconnector.com/list/black-friday-promotions

Free Shipping Deals:
http://www.couponconnector.com/list/free-shipping-deals

Toys & Gifts for Kids. :
http://www.couponconnector.com/category/Toys+%26+Hobby

Teens and Tweens:
http://www.couponconnector.com/category/Apparel+%26+Accessories

What options do retailers have?

Having a “No Coupon Code” policy is the simplest way retailers are dealing with the problem, but it might leave them ill-prepared to compete with deep discounts advertised across the web. Savvy retailers, who want to retain customer loyalty without offering coupon codes, have created pages on their site clearly stating their coupon policy. This tactic has an interesting effect, as these pages often get ranked higher than traditional coupon pages in search engines for the term, “retailer coupon code.” Thus, the retailer retains control of their content, while remaining high in consumer search rankings.

To further combat mass distribution of specialty coupon codes, retailers are trending to single use coupon codes. As the name suggests, this is a unique code and is rendered useless after the code has been applied to a deal. Although single use coupon codes aren’t yet an industry standard, as many retailers’ ecommerce platforms can’t support tracking of unique codes for a single offering, industry experts expect to see a noticeable shift to single use coupons as technology improves.

Retailers are also seeking to retake control of their coupons and promotions by offering alluring, but short-term deals. Promotions with short durations have two distinct benefits. First, the consumer for whom the deal is intended will be more likely realize its exclusivity and time sensitivity. And secondly, the deal will likely expire before it has a chance to proliferate across the web.

Finally, if the retailer has the resources available, developing and maintaining good relationships with the coupon and deal sites is a great forward looking strategy. By working together to coordinate specific deals, can turn what appears to look like a liability in to a very valuable asset.

About CouponConnector.com -- CouponConnector.com is a leading discount, deal, and coupon code website operated by LS Media LLC, a Norwalk, CT based e-commerce marketing company. LS Media operates websites related to bargain shopping and consumer price comparison, most notably InteractiveReviews.com.

For additional information or inquiries please contact CouponConnector.com via the web form at this link: http://www.lsmedia.com or email pr(at)lsmedia(dot)com

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