Magazine article Marketing

Clamping Down on Coupons

Magazine article Marketing

Clamping Down on Coupons

Article excerpt

No-one seriously imagines that when Heinz, Lever, or Pedigree Petfoods hand out 15p coupons, they're saying "Here's a donation to your weekly grocey bill, spend it how you like". Coupons are issued against specific brands to promote sales of those brands. If charity was the aim, it would be more efficient to make a large donation to Help the Aged or Shelter.

However, misredemption -- consumers offering coupons against the wrong products, and having them accepted at the supermarket checkout -- is a growing problem which the Institute of Sales Promotion (ISP) calculates is costing manufacturers at least 28m pounds a year. Only a minority of consumers use coupons wrongly, though many of them are among the heaviest users. Independent research carried out by The Added Value Company for Reed's Coupon Book concludes that most "misredeemers" know what they are doing is not strictly right, but don't feel guilty while the supermarkets allow them to get away with it.

The ISP is more concerned with finding a solution than laying blame. A committee whch has been studying the problem accepts that supermarkets don't want to upset customers by arguing with them, that carefully checking coupons causes delays at the checkout, and that retailers who are prepared to tighten up on misredemption are worried about losing trade to others. …

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