It has been reported, including on this site, that the effectiveness of digital coupons is on the rise. According to an Inmar 2015 Shopper Study, while overall coupon redemption was down 13% in 2015 year-over-year, digital coupon share and demand is up. In fact, 55% of consumers said they would use more coupons if they were available digitally.
Deciding to invest in digital coupons is just the first step. Developing effective distribution channels to get them into the hands of your target shoppers is the crucial component to success. The same Inmar study found that 63% of shoppers said they could not find coupons for products they wanted to buy.
This raises a key question: How do you efficiently get new consumers to find, download or print, and redeem your coupons?
Embed the coupon in authentic, natural digital content
Attention is the golden currency in the digital world, and the fight for a meaningful audience – not just clicks – is fierce. Consumers have endless options for how and where to spend their time online, and brands are beginning to step up with engaging, loyalty-building content. Coupons should be an extension of that content-driven strategy.
"As shoppers expect more personalized engagement and demand easier ways to shop and save, marketers must adopt more effective means for delivering discounts to them and earning their business," says Inmar Chairman and CEO David Mounts.
Think about what type of content will engage your audience. A personality quiz, a useful “do-it-yourself” list, or a funny meme to share across social channels can capture shopper attention and that attention can be leveraged to more effectively deliver an offer or coupon.
Make it fun but also be sure to provide real value
When a consumer engages with your brand, they’ve chosen you over endless distractions online. End on a high note with real value added. If the consumer feels like they’ve experienced a meaningful interaction with your brand, and they’re rewarded for it in a significant way, they will respond and come back for more in the future.
Ideally, the response first includes signing up to stay in touch with your brand and redeeming a coupon. But perhaps even more valuable is when that consumer seeks out your content and coupons again and again.
Put the coupons where they’ll be found
"The coupon redemption trends we're seeing indicate that the strategies currently deployed are not yet aligning with consumer demand and media use, leaving shoppers unable to find coupons for the products they want to buy," says Mounts.
Once you have developed your content and attractive value-driven offer, you need to put it where your target audience is already going. Don’t be afraid to break away from the traditional coupon hubs and place it on destination properties where shoppers are seeking engaging content. In addition, make sure to leverage your brand’s social media mix and be sure to include a mechanism for shoppers to share the authentic content with their own audiences, utilizing your fans to amplify the message. If the content is strong and they have a positive experience with your brand, shoppers will be happy to be rewarded with a coupon.
In Inmar’s most recent survey, the 2016 Shopper Behavior Study, they found that 92% of shoppers say they used a coupon in the last three months for groceries, household supplies, healthcare items, or personal care products. The demand for coupons isn’t going away. It’s now up to brands to answer that demand by distributing offers where and how today’s shoppers are looking for them.