The Couponing Experience – Are you overlooking it?

Are you a coupon clipper?  How about your customers? What role do coupons play in customer experiences?  Do they lead to commoditization or are they a component of interactive engagement?

Enough with the questions lets look at the data on couponing. According to NCH (Marketing Services), the number of coupons distributed by consumer product goods companies has remained stable from 2011 to 2012 (right around 305 billion coupons issued).  While the numbers remained the same the way coupons are used and redeemed did reflect changes.  Thanks to my friends at MediaPost Communications, I am ready to offer you some insights on those changes. In summarizing the NCH’s August 2012 Consumer Survey, Mediapost notes, “79.8% of consumers regularly shop using CPG coupons, similar to the 80.6% prior year result, and well above the 63.6% in the pre-recession 2007 study.”  Conclusion – couponing plays a key role in the experience of most consumers these days.

MediaPost goes on to note that “Of the 305 billion coupons issued by CPG marketers in 2012, non-food categories comprised 4.4% more of the available coupons than the prior year, with items such as medications, personal care and other household products all distributing a greater quantity. CPG marketers increased the coupons available in non-food categories where consumers tend to delay purchases or have a multitude of national brand and retailer private label choices. Conversely, there were 6.5% fewer food coupons, including products that are purchased frequently.”  The NCH study went on to demonstrate that marketers were increasing the distribution of coupons to introduce new products into the marketplace.  Take away – coupons can decrease the resistance of customers for trying something new.

Finally digital couponing has not reached critical mass with less than 1% of all coupons distributed being downloaded to loyalty cards or mobile devices. By contrast, print-at-home coupons are now nearly 6% of all coupons redeemed in the United States.

So what do these results mean to you and your customers?  How might coupons fit into your new and existing product offerings?  Clearly, coupons have become staples in the life of most consumers.

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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