Couponing In The Digital Age

Last weekend, I stopped into Target to pick up some sunblock. As I stood in the aisle scanning my options, I noticed a mom next to me with her daughter who appeared to be around 12 years old. The mom was also looking for sunblock but she had another digital tool at her disposal to help make her selection.

The mom handed her daughter three difference sunblock bottles all from three different manufacturers and she said, “Scan these on the Target app on my phone and see which one has a coupon offer.” Her daughter obliged and when one of the three options showed a discount, that was the one she threw into her cart. She put the other two bottles back on the shelf and moved on.

While over the last 40 years, it was not uncommon to see moms huddled around kitchen tables, scissors in hand, clipping coupons, not only is coupon usage on the rise but the methods for using coupons are increasingly moving to digital. 

Valassis reported in their "Coupon Intelligence Report" that the percentage of consumers who say that they prefer to receive their discounts on their smartphone/mobile device has increased 33% from 2016 to 2017! And retailers like Target are making it easier than ever for shoppers to access and use coupons through their coupon apps like Cartwheel. 



Why are shoppers so savings hungry? Although the economy is in a much stronger position than it was in 2008 when we saw coupon usage increase, consumers are still wary and couponing is a smart and easy way for them to save.

Underscoring the huge surge of coupon usage, sites like have grown tremendously. According to Compete, is one of the top 100 most-trafficked websites and has experienced double-digit growth in traffic and unique visitors in just the last year.

So, how can brands get in on the couponing craze?

1. Offer Coupons for What They Need: According to Experian, 80% of shoppers are looking for coupons for the products they are already buying. We know that moms have lots of products that they need to buy for their households. Everything from food to beauty items to appliances to furniture. Supply her with the coupons she needs and she will honor you with her business.

2. Use Email to Distribute Coupons: Why email? Because it’s effective. Many companies have cooled on email marketing, but it is still one of the most effective ways to reach and influence shoppers. Brands should build lists of shoppers interested in receiving their coupons and then distribute these coupons via email. According to Experian, open rates on these types of emails are at 14%, and 34% of openers click through and have transaction completion rates of 27%. Overall, brands experience an impressive 48% increase in revenue per email!

3. Utilize Coupon Influencers to Share Your Offers. A cottage industry of bloggers and other influencers who focus just on passing along special deals and coupons to their audience has emerged over the last few years. These influencers have major followings and they drive results. Coupon influencer Heather Hernandez of has over a half a million followers on social media not to mention the hundreds of thousands of people who visit her website each month.

It is clear that shoppers continue to seek deals. Making coupons available for your products and savvy dissemination of these coupons will help ring up sales.

Have thoughts to share on this post? Feel free to comment below or contact me on Twitter @shespeaking.

Editor's note: This article originally appeared on May 26, 2017, in Engage:Moms.

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