Winning at Print and Digital Coupon Marketing

While “frictionless shopping,” “branded apps” and “mobile payments” are hot retail topics, more retailers have been quietly investing in and testing digital coupons to support these efforts. These retailers report that print coupons are still relevant to consumers and to their sales.

The Role of Digital vs. Print Coupons

Coupon use overall has risen 30% since 2008. Given the impact of digital on all sides, it would be easy to credit this completely to digital coupons, especially when the digital redemption rate is 77%. Digital coupons have also proven to be an excellent method for bringing in new customers—46% of those using digital coupons are purchasing a product or service they haven’t used before.

However, it’s important to recognize that print coupons still represent significant ROI for retailers, in part because they’re cheaper to utilize. Print coupons still make up 44% of the coupon market. Furthermore, 80% of consumers are omnichannel deal hunters using multiple mediums.

Print coupons are also key for certain types of shopping, most notably grocery shopping. Half of all supermarket shoppers said they searched printed circulars for deals before their last visit, while another 32% clipped coupons from printed sources like newspapers.

Snapshot of Print Coupon Efficacy

46% of all consumers prefer print coupons over digital ones. In fact, 87% will redeem the paper coupons they receive in the mail, specifically 82% tap newspapers and coupon books. More importantly, 77% of consumers select where to shop based on where they can use paper coupons.

Despite these large statistics, it can be easy for retailers to assume that these are all older shoppers, or all shoppers with a smaller budget. This simply isn’t the case. Here’s a snapshot into who’s using print coupons:

  • 73% of Millennials find coupons in print sources (e.g., newspaper, direct mail)
  • 18 – 25-year-old shoppers use print coupons twice as much as other methods
  • 69% of Gen X-ers find coupons in print sources
  • 65% of Boomers find coupons in print sources
  • 73% of women online in the US have printed coupons from websites
  • 72% of affluent shoppers have printed coupons from websites
  • 81% of affluent shoppers search for coupons in print sources before shopping
  • 88% of affluent shoppers use coupons received in the mail
  • 84% of affluent shoppers use coupons from a coupon book
  • 78% of mothers find coupons in print sources
  • 65% of mothers find coupons in circulars

Coupon Best Practices

Simply knowing that consumers still value print coupons isn’t enough to use them effectively. We’ve gathered a few notes to keep in mind when developing a coupon strategy.

Coupon Design

We’ve discussed design best practices in thorough detail before in our “Coupon Lookbook,” but here’s a brief checklist to keep in mind:

  • Every coupon needs a title, an offer in the body and terms and conditions, including an expiration date
  • The title should be concise, to the point, and give the customer a reason to care about the coupon; don’t be coy or misleading
  • The body should be brief as well, but expand on the title to be clear about what the offer is and what it applies to; it should be in an eye-catching font size and positively phrased
  • The terms and restrictions can be in a smaller font size but should be easy to find and read. They should clearly state all details not covered by the offer, as well as any other limitations (e.g., one coupon per visit). Along with an expiration date, these conditions are critical to avoiding over redemption
  • Most print coupons should also have some kind of image. It should be straightforward and simple, and it should always make sense for your business. Depending on your industry, the tone should be positive as well, i.e., people in the image should be smiling

Coupon Distribution

Market research on your target audience is key to effective distribution. It doesn’t matter how many consumers clip coupons from the newspaper if that’s not where your customers are spending time. Opt-in formats, such as online circulars, can be particularly successful because it’s an automatically qualified audience. Direct mail services, like those offered by Valpak, can go a long way to expand your reach, especially when utilizing thorough segmentation of and targeting to specific audiences.

A Note about Digital Coupon Distribution

There are multiple ways to offer digital coupons, from simply providing them on your website or branded app to pushing them through social media and mobile. Marketing firms like Valpak can help you fully utilize digital channels, including email marketing. Take advantage of digital coupon companies like Valpak to build brand awareness and reach new customers.

Hopefully, it’s easier to see that consumers still value print coupons, despite the growing popularity and implementation of digital coupons. Especially given the effectiveness of print coupons, your business should still value them as well. Develop a marketing strategy that utilizes the format (or formats) that best suit your campaign by taking advantage of the design and distribution best practices we’ve mentioned.

Get Started:

  • Looking at your own audience and sales data, determine where print and digital coupons should be used in your 2017 marketing plan
  • Use our free Coupon Lookbook to design effective coupons
  • Review the distribution best practices listed above to decide which you can you put into practice
  • Talk to your local Valpak representative about the tools and services we have to offer