Home > Uncategorized > The death of the coupon – MSN Money

The death of the coupon – MSN Money

By Melinda Fulmer

Paper coupons

appear to be headed the way of the VCR.

Grocery chains, food and drug manufacturers, and even coupon marketers themselves are going electronic. The concept is almost as simple as scissors and the Sunday paper: Visit a Web site, type in your loyalty codes, and find all the coupons waiting for you, electronically, at a store’s cash register or on your cell phone.

The hope is that these electronic discounts

will revive the dying coupon business. Only 0.5% of the 285 billion coupons issued last year were redeemed, according to coupon processor NCH, down from an average of 1% a decade ago.

Part of the problem is that newspaper readership is declining, so fewer people are looking at the Sunday circulars. The younger shoppers sought by marketers read their news online. And fewer people these days have time to clip, organize and sort coupons each week.

But apparently, we all seem to make time to surf the Net and talk on our cell phones, so these areas are where the industry is casting its net for savers.

“We are committed to reaching our customers when and where they are most receptive,” says Jenifer Nunnelley, a Procter & Gamble


Should you ditch the Sunday paper?

Not yet. At least 75% of the coupons issued are still in the old Sunday circular, said Stephanie Nelson of The Coupon Mom, a site that helps shoppers combine these coupons with sale items to get the biggest discounts.

And grocery chains and food and drug companies have no plans to cut out these paper coupons until they see that enough people have migrated to the Web for discounts.

“I think it will be a long time before shoppers completely become online grocery coupon users,” Nelson said.

Yet the e-coupon

transition is attractive to retailers and manufacturers for reasons beyond shifting demographics:

  • Redemption rates are higher, though the technology is so new that the industry won’t be more specific.
  • Redemptions are easier and quicker to track.
  • They get more information about who’s buying their products.
  • They can be used to cultivate loyal customers.
  • They’re more environmentally friendly.

How e-coupons work

To get these electronic discounts, shoppers must type in their loyalty-card numbers on a store Web site and click to load the coupons to the account. The discounts are subtracted after those items are scanned at checkout.

Grocery giant Kroger, which owns Ralphs, King Soopers, City Market, Dillons, Smith’s Food & Drug Stores and eight other supermarket chains, has coupons from Procter & Gamble on its store Web sites.

Video on MSN Money

The Today Show

The best supermarket bargains
Tired of spending all your cash on groceries? ‘Ultimate Cheapskate’ Jeff Yeager and ‘Coupon Mom’ Stephanie Nelson reveal their tips for saving in the aisles.

Kroger shoppers can also go to Shortcuts.com to link their card numbers to a broader array of savings from manufacturers and print out a list of the coupons they have loaded.

“There’s no clipping and sorting and no forgetting the coupon at home,” says Sharon Baker, Shortcuts’ executive director. Baker says the site will have 75 to 100 coupons up by the end of the year.

Grocer Giant Eagle has partnered with SmartSource, one of the country’s largest coupon distributors, to allow its grocery customers to load SmartSource discounts onto their store cards on its Web site.

In the next six months, most major grocery retailers are expected to offer these kind of e-coupons linked to store cards, says Nelson, of The Coupon Mom.

Continued: Phoning in the discounts

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We are a good concept and we know it.

Now all it takes is spreading the word to as many people as you know.
Try it out for yourself……and tell your friends and family. Thanks

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