Why You Shouldn’t Underestimate Coupons as a Promotional Tool

Coupons? Really?

Yes, really. Coupons have been around for more than 100 years and they’re just as effective today as they were in 1887, when a hand-written coupon for a free glass of Coke was issued by the Coca-Cola Company. According to TIME Magazine, the coupon campaign was so successful that more than eight million free drinks were served between 1894 and 1913. By the 1900s, cereal companies jumped on the savings bandwagon and began issuing coupons.

Coupons as a Promotional Tool

More than a century after Coca-Cola first introduced coupons to consumers, they are still a win-win, making these discount offers the top-performing marketing and promotional tools for businesses. Your customers love saving money and receiving free items or services, and coupons give them an incentive to make repeat purchases. In fact, the “2K17 Valassis Coupon Intelligence Report” revealed that 84% of shoppers surveyed said that coupons influence what products they buy, while 86% of people said that they were persuaded to purchase a new product because they had a coupon for it. And once people try something at a discount and like it, they are more willing to pay full price in the future.

Digital vs. Print

More than 289 billion printed coupons were distributed in 2015, compared with six billion digital ones, according to statistics released by Kantar Media. And even though digital coupons and offers are growing in popularity, paper coupons are still dominating the savings landscape.

If you want to issue a coupon, are paper or digital more effective? If you are looking to get the most bang for your promotional buck, printed coupons provide a higher return on investment (ROI).

Although the redemption rate of digital coupons is a whopping 77%, which also means an increase in the number of sales and heightened brand awareness, these benefits come at a cost. Issuing digital coupons costs more than issuing paper coupons. You’ll shell out more money to mine data, collect email addresses, coordinate social media and develop an electronic marketing campaign. The higher redemption rate of digital coupons balances the costs, but the average ROI is still about 18% lower than the ROI from printed coupons.

On the other hand, print coupons make up 44% of coupon usage, according to Knowledge Network. And even though the popularity and ease-of-use of digital coupons for consumers make them an attractive option, research shows that 70% of shoppers still look for coupons in printed media and mailers.

A smart strategy may be to create a coupon campaign that integrates both the digital and print universes. A campaign that seamlessly marries the two solutions together will generate the highest return on investment since you’ll be increasing your reach and reaping the benefits of each method.

Who Wants Coupons?

The answer is: everyone. But you should pay especially close attention to the buying habits of millennials — customers born between the years 1980 and 2000. This generation, now the biggest in the U.S. wields tremendous buying power. This doesn’t mean consumers in this age group are big spenders — research shows they are cost-conscious and tech-savvy. Good branding or budget pricing isn’t enough to attract their business — millennial consumers love a good deal. According to research released by PPRI, 87% of shoppers in this age group used coupons last year. Of the people surveyed, 91% reported they used paper coupons, 85% used coupons that arrived in the mail and 48% took advantage of digital offers.

Why does this matter? Now that many millennials are established in the workforce and have disposable income, their buying habits have started to reshape the shopping landscape as we know it. Thanks to the buying power of this generation, off-price retailers like Nordstrom Rack and TJ Maxx are thriving as they provide millennials with the thrill of the (bargain) hunt, smart marketing and the right price points.

Yes, really.

Coupons are still the top-performing marketing and promotional tools for businesses. Learn more in our free eBook.


What Else Can I Use Receipts For?

Although it seems like a minor detail, the receipt is the last thing a customer receives before leaving your store. It’s your final chance to make a great impression — so make sure your receipt is a personalized take-away that is an extension of your brand. Every receipt should be customized with your store’s logo, brand messaging, website and tag line so people can easily identify where it came from.

The receipt is also another vehicle to engage your customer. Including a customer service survey is a direct channel of communication that gives you an inside look at how your business and products are performing. Typically, customers are offered an incentive like a discount coupon, free item or a chance to be entered into a contest for completing the survey. These surveys help you understand your customers’ needs, evaluate employee performance and remedy any issues before they become a larger problem. Receipts can also be used to announce upcoming sales, promotions or special in-store events.

Finally, receipts can help you gauge the effectiveness of a promotion because they connect the promotion directly to a purchase. If a printed coupon for a new product is issued in a magazine and sales of that product jump as a result, you’ll know it’s a successful way to draw in new business, and it’s a strategy you should repeat. This is especially important when trying new promotional vehicles. if you want to try a digital promotion via Facebook or Twitter and the desired effect doesn’t materialize, you’ll know to allocate your marketing dollars elsewhere in the future.

There is a way that SMBs can reduce the cost of printed coupons: by using the receipts they already issue. Star Micronics’ Cloud Services has added a new solution, PromoPRNT, to its service lineup. Star’s Cloud Services was created to bring next generation customer engagement solutions to retailers by transforming their receipt printers into cloud-connected devices. Its newest offering, PromoPRNT, allows retail stores and small business locations to advertise their promotions in the most simple and effective way — printing coupons and promotional materials right onto the receipt that is issued to a customer.

What is PromoPRNT?

PromoPRNT is the newest tool merchants can use to raise product or service awareness, create unique discounts and monetize in-store traffic in an effective way. Thousands of SMBs have already started using PromoPRNT, which allows them to deliver promotions using nothing but their Star Micronics cloud-connected thermal printers. Printing coupons on customer receipts allows you to reach a higher percentage of shoppers for a fraction of the cost of a print or digital campaign and compliments the marketing campaign you already have in place.

Merchants can reduce the cost of printing coupons and digital campaigns through external services and engaging customers at the POS terminal. Retailers can choose from the templates of coupons, store offers and messages to customize their receipts, giving them ability to advertise and run promotions at their POS system. You also have the option to integrate barcodes of discount codes and include validation dates. The coupons or promotional messages can be deployed to every store printer from the comfort of your desk.

Printing a coupon on the receipt takes the guesswork and cost out of delivery--you can be sure the customer receives it. And as an added bonus, employees can talk about the coupon/promotion while they are processing the transaction and circle or highlight the promotional offer on the receipt so the customer doesn’t forget.

Learn more about PromoPRNT in the below video:


PromoPRNT is free and easy to use.

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