The psychology of the coupon: Do they really work?

The holiday season has just ended; President’s Day is coming. Lots of holidays are coming up in 2018.

What day will be the biggest shopping day of the year? Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday — and I’m sure the experts will think of other fancy names for other days to promote additional shopping behaviors.

For Thanksgiving 2017, an estimated 174 million American consumers shopped during the holiday weekend, according to NRF’s annual survey. The numbers included in-store and online shopping from Thursday through Sunday.

While Black Friday is still the most popular day to shop across all age groups, in total, 96 percent of weekend shoppers purchased something over the 5 days before and after the Thanksgiving holiday, spending on average $335 on gifts and other items.

What is the psychology of you, the shopper? Are you a discount shopper? Do you wait for “sale” days? Do you enjoy “the art of the sale” and negotiating to get the best price?

Do you shop at the big-box stores and mass retail shops even though you can afford the more boutique retailers? How about online shopping vs. visiting the malls? So many questions.

Have you really ever tried to understand your shopping habits?

The financial impact of discounts

In today’s business climate, coupons and discounting have become a significant budget line item for companies to analyze when developing their annual budgets. This applies to small and mid-sized companies and the large, Fortune 500 companies.

Regardless your top-line sales, the senior management of an organization must understand the financial impact of offering coupons and discounts to its customers.

The reality is that for most businesses, it takes a compelling offer to incent a prospective shopper to try a product for the first time. And then, obviously, it takes a good product and service to maintain the customer relationship for repeat purchases.

Coupons encourage customers to try

The goal of any offer or coupon is to encourage the consumer to try the product or service. Although we would want the consumer to try our product just because our ad looks amazing, the truth is the consumer needs an incentive to depart from their current habits and try something new.


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