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How Targeted Couponing Helps Drive Sales and Promote Products

Targeted couponing helps drive sales, trial and uplift with brands and products. Coupon marketing is a strategy that takes advantage of consumer interest in saving money on purchases. Couponing has become a significant promotional tool, with thousands of coupons being exposed to consumers each year offering savings for household budgets. Consumers also recognise the value of products and become more willing to use them. Digital coupon strategies are also cost-effective and cheaper than costly traditional sampling and couponing methods. A digital approach is a great way to drive in-store traffic and cut marketing costs, offering greater discounts, and driving more coupons, increasing your ROI. These coupons are also influential during the consumer decision journey and help build brand awareness and loyalty.


The pandemic has caused many changes for retailers, especially with the rise of contactless payments that has disrupted and adapted industries. It has forced retailers to invest in new point of sale technology for contactless payments, with a reliance on digital wallets and smartphones. Companies and brands want to distribute digital offers that can be used efficiently and securely on smartphones and tablets. Therefore, online digital coupons make it easier for brands to capture the data they need to build a stronger relationship with their customers and measure the effectiveness of campaigns.

The pandemic dramatically changed consumer shopping behaviours and these may be here to stay. Most consumers have also shifted purchasing habits to online and digital shopping, reducing time spent in stores. Here at Free4you, we use Valassis for our couponing and have focused on the 2020 Valassis Consumer Intel Report. When surveyed during the fourth quarter of 2019, 38% of consumers in this report identified themselves as being online grocery shoppers. This grew to 52% in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Online shopping has increased, with the biggest jump in buying online for store pickup. This has changed from 16% doing so once or several times a week in 2019 to 25% in 2020. Retailers therefore need to keep up with these changing consumer habits and start providing discounts and marketing strategies to stay above their competitors. Coupons will be expected to remain important to consumers in the years ahead, with nearly half (48%) of shoppers “planning their shopping around coupons and special offers during the pandemic (Valassiss, 2020), therefore it remains a significant marketing opportunity.

Purchase Behaviours

A new survey from RetailMeNot explains that deals and coupons have significant influence on customer purchases and loyalty, especially amongst millennials. It found that two-thirds of consumers have “made a purchase they weren’t originally planning to make solely based on finding a coupon or discount” (RetailMeNot, 2018). The survey also found that millennials and young adults are most effected and influenced by promotional marketing. With 53% of those aged 18 to 34 claiming “they always search for a deal before making a purchase online” (RetailMeNot, 2018), this compares to 40% of baby boomers aged 55+. Therefore, most millennials rely on making purchases with deals or offers added, especially when making first-time purchases.

Gen Z and millennials use their devices to download digital coupons and compare competitor prices. Retailers therefore need to build a digital experience to meet shoppers’ needs and attract them to their store instead of a competitor location. Since the pandemic started, discounts and the need for self-care have driven impulse purchases, and affected purchase decisions especially amongst Gen Z. Brands therefore need to understand how to build loyalty during these uncertain times.

Brand Loyalty

Coupon marketing campaigns are an easy way to build brand recognition and introduce new customers to your products, converting them to regular clients. With in-store couponing, this drives new consumers in-store with meaningful and relevant promotions, relating to their needs and expectations. By including coupons with samples, this becomes a great way to convert trialists into paying customers. Digital marketers can use innovative online campaigns to promote sales offers, therefore coupons help develop brand loyalty with customers. It also rewards your current customers; they are delighted when they receive a gift or discount from a brand they use frequently.

Brands can help make customers lives more affordable and produce savings incentives that are combined with flexible payment options. These can be combined with “frictionless omni-channel shopping experiences that could be defining factors that shape consumer E-Commerce expectations and build brand loyalty for years to come” (BigCommerce, 2020). An example is H&M, the fashion retailer with stores worldwide. H&M recently used a website coupon strategy to drive sales. This strategy helps drive customers to their stores and invites them to find their nearest store, also encouraging repeat purchases. People strive for omni-channel experience, where they require a seamless journey when changing from online to offline mode. You can sync your online coupon marketing with instore and offline experiences for efficiency and results.

Sense of Urgency

Couponing is all about ensuring ready access when consumers make a purchase decision, this encourages sales and prevents abandoned carts. They also create a sense of urgency for consumers, making them have to decide fast to guarantee they save money. Effective coupons utilise the technique of a call-to-action statement to get consumers interested and to act. Another drive for purchase behaviour is single-use coupons. Consumers prefer these because they offer higher redemption value over lower-value coupons, and the idea of scarcity also drives action.


The goal of personalisation is to make customers feel like they’re being offered something exclusive to them, especially with single-use promo codes. When customers feel valued, they are more likely to respond and be loyal customers. Personalised discounts can target customers’ interests and increase sales, they also set you apart from the rest of the competition. When personalising your offers, you need to gather data on your site visitors each day to segment different customers and marketing efforts.

Brands can have near real-time insights for which discounts are being used and on what products. This enables the consumer to select desired coupons and store information regarding the coupon that is accessible to a modern device. Valassis writes that the ability “to monitor the use of digital coupons in real-time means the brand can control the redemption cost of a campaign reducing the possibility of multiple redemptions of the same coupon or fraud” (Valassis, 2020). Valassis captures real-time data from clients, giving consumers a sense of normality and value, encouraging them to love your brand.

Understanding Customers' Needs

When creating coupon marketing campaigns, decide which segment the consumer population should be targeted with. Divide up your mailing list into categories that reflect each recipient’s demographic information. Customer segmentation helps maximise profits, and understand preferences and needs, also improving customer ratings and feedback. Here at Free4you, we drive online and in-store sales via targeted digital or printed coupons. We gather data about our customers, such as location purchases, income, gender, age and buying habits. Combining couponing with our intelligent sampling solution means that consumers receiving coupons have already been profile qualified, increasing redemption rates.

Brands can work with creating buyer personas, study existing customer bases and think about personality traits of different buyers. Once you understand these, you can develop a marketing strategy to include discount offers for target audiences. You can also use log data and transactional data to track past purchase behaviour and develop promotional strategies to retarget customers who are more likely to respond to coupon marketing.

Social Media

You can distribute coupons over social media sites, such as Facebook, coupons can be available to people who like pages on Facebook. This allows for communication with customers on a long-term basis for free and allows you to create discount offers through the platform. Use your social media channels to advertise your campaign, it is also a great way to generate conversation through hashtags, fan interactions and encouraging user-generated content.

By encouraging people to like and review your brand or products on social media, this will increase the number of reviews and word-of-mouth. To increase the number of reviews for a product, release coupons that tell consumers they will receive a reward for their review. Consumers feel like their opinions are valuable and this will give confidence to future shoppers. Also by rewarding consumers behaviour this will increase brand loyalty, helping reach future goals.

Generating Word-of-Mouth

Through social media, the use of influencers and word-of-mouth helps spread the word and generate buzz and interest around brands and products. By using bloggers, creators, or influencers you can spread news of your access to special discounts, coupon codes and incentives. This helps spread your message, and users can promote your brand, building a customer base. You can learn more about word-of-mouth marketing and how influencers can help increase sales and brand awareness in our other blog here.

Coupons help build brand recognition with new customers, and word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective strategies for businesses, and coupons can help spread word of your products. It is also easy to track your success rate and makes it easy to measure return on investment. They also give you the chance to upsell, to encourage customers to stay in your store longer and learn more about your products and services


Coupons help boost sales, conversion rates, create client lists, push existing clients to purchase more, raise brand awareness and decrease cart abandonment rate. A coupon marketing strategy can help increase sales and reach, as customers are constantly searching for money saving ideas. Coupons can also be tailored solutions, ensuring a unique experience for consumers as well as brands when building marketing campaigns. Here at Free4you, we tailor each campaign to meet the specific needs of consumer and brand. By building each campaign so specifically, redemption rates and impressions are maximised. To learn more about what we do, you can check our our social media for updates and information.

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