New digital paths, as at Publix, could cut fraud

The Lempert Report
March 18, 2013

Coupon dynamics are changing.

Coupon dynamics are changing. Marketers issued 305 billion coupons in 2012, the same as in 2011.  Yet “who was promoting, what was being promoted, where it was promoted, and how marketers used coupons in 2012 all differed substantially from the recent past...Redemption results were very different as well,” states Charlie Brown, vice president-marketing, NCH, a Valassis company. Understanding these shifts will help retailers and CPG distribute coupons more effectively, in tandem with launches and promotions or independent of such events. Some examples….Non-foods (medications, personal care, household supplies) comprised 4.4% more of available coupons in 2012.  In these categories, delayed purchases and numerous brand and store-brand choices are common. •Food coupons were 6.5% fewer than in 2011. •For 46% of consumers who say they used fewer coupons in 2012, their top reason was, “I can’t find coupons for the products I want to buy.” •Digital coupons (posted to loyalty cards and mobile devices, or printed at home) remain less than 1% of all coupons distributed.  Print-at-home coupons now account for nearly 6% of all redeemed coupons in the United States. •Just 2.9 billion CPG coupons were redeemed in 2012, down 17% from 2011. Publix Supermarkets, which has no loyalty card program, is currently rolling out a digital system that automatically deducts coupon amounts for verified purchases during checkout.   Customers must first register at the website with their phone number and indicate coupons that interest them.  The system could help reduce coupon fraud and paper handling, and enable Publix to see how coupons influence buying behaviors. ?This could be a first sign of what’s next in digital couponing.  On the horizon—determining if customized coupons, higher-value offers, or easy-to-use technology would finally raise redemption rates.