You're probably more familiar with paper coupons — they fill up your mailbox every day! When it comes to paper coupons, there's a lot of cutting and clipping involved. So what is a digital coupon all about? What makes it more convenient as compared to paper coupons?
What Are the Different Types of Coupons?
A digital coupon is a coupon with a discount, promotion, or offer that provided by an online store to existing or prospective customers. Digital coupons are designed to persuade and encourage consumers to make online or in-store purchases.
In the age of the internet and digital marketing, offers from digital coupons are often customized to fit the recipient consumer's shopping habits and product preferences. There are several ways to avail yourself of digital coupons. Digital coupons come in different types which include:
1. Mobile Coupons
Mobile coupons are electronic coupons which are sent to a mobile phone. These coupons can then be used for discounts or rebates upon purchase of a product or a service. This type of digital coupon is often used by retail stores to entice in-store purchases and by entertainment services as part of their sales promotions. Because mobile phones have become an indispensable device for most consumers, mobile coupons have become an ideal means to provide promotions, offers, and discounts.
Mobile coupons can come in the form of:
2. Downloadable Coupons
As the name suggests, downloadable coupons can be downloaded through a retailer's website or social media or from an email sent to the consumer. Downloadable coupons can also be accessed via mobile phones.
3. Automatic Discounts
Automatic discounts require no effort from the consumer so it's not surprising that they are fast becoming the digital coupon of choice among consumers. All you need to do is make a purchase and discounts will be automatically applied when you check out.
4. Coupon Codes
A coupon code (also called a promo code) is a computer-generated unique code that contains letters and numbers. The code is usually entered in a promotional box found in the retailer's checkout page in order to receive the discount or promo offer. Coupon codes can offer a fixed discount, free shipping, or other forms of discount (such as a percentage off from an entire purchase).
How Do You Use a Digital Coupon?
There are several things you need to know about digital coupons to be able to use them. It's not enough to know what is a digital coupon used for, you also need to read up on how to qualify for the discount or offer provided on the digital coupon.
1. Account Registration Required
Most retailers will require you to register first for a loyalty account on their websites. Registering is easy and retailers usually have their own mobile app so you can use your mobile phone to clip coupons into your loyalty account.
2. Cannot Be Used With Other Versions of the Same Coupon
Digital manufacturer coupons cannot be used with other manufacturer coupons. Read up on the fine print found on your digital coupon. Digital manufacturer coupons and physical ones that have the same information can't be stacked with one another. However, you can use a digital manufacturer coupon with a digital or physical coupon from the store you're buying the product from.
3. A Loyalty Card, a Phone Number, or a Store App Needed
Have your loyalty card scanned or enter a phone number to redeem digital coupon offers. Some may require you to use their store apps. Most stores provide loyalty cards or ask for the phone number you registered for your loyalty account. However, some retailers may require you to use their apps to be able to redeem digital coupons.
4. Digital Coupons Come First
Digital coupons take precedence among other coupons with a similar discount. When you check out, your digital coupons will be the first discounts to be taken off your total. That means if you have other physical coupons (e.g. manufacturer coupons, store coupons, or coupons with a minimum purchase requirement), their discounts may not apply.
5. Digital Coupons With Freebies
Be on the lookout for weekly digital coupons with freebies. Some stores provide digital coupons for free items every week. These coupons can be added to your loyalty card and can usually be redeemed within a couple of weeks. However, you need to add the digital coupon to your loyalty account on the day that it's released to be able to get the free item.
6. Ask Customer Service for Assistance
Check with customer service if your digital coupons don't apply. Sometimes you might run into some errors when redeeming your digital coupons. When this happens, do the following to figure out why the transaction is not going through correctly.
If none of these work, speak with a customer service representative or the store manager and make a request for the credit that's specified on your digital coupon.
Why Should You Take Advantage of Digital Coupons?
For consumers, the ultimate purpose of using digital coupons is to save money. But even with such an obvious benefit, only about 1 percent of shoppers actually redeem them! Did you know that companies shell out billions of dollars a year to entice customers to spend on their products and services? It will make you think twice about what is a digital coupon's value.
It has been reported that U.S. Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) marketers have distributed $470 billion worth of coupons for products such as food, beverages, clothing, household items, and tobacco. Of the $470 billion, only $4.6 billion worth of coupons were actually used. The coupons had a face value of about $1.54 each. While digital coupons offer payoffs in small increments, if used regularly, the savings add up. If you're not taking advantage of that, then that's like throwing money away!
Those who have taken advantage of coupons saved about an average of $30 to $50 a week. That's a saving of about $1,560 to $2,600 a year.
MILLIONAIRES USE THEM, WHY NOT YOU?
There appears to be a coupon stigma among average consumers. According to the results of statistical profiling, households with an annual income of $100,000 or more are twice as likely to use coupons as compared to those who have below-average income. Doesn't it make more sense for people with lower incomes to benefit from the discounts and promotional offers that digital coupons provide? Don't they need to be saving more money than those with higher incomes? Sadly, this is not what happens in the real world.
The irony is, it's a known fact that millionaires use digital coupons. Why? Because they see the bigger picture — more money saved means more money invested in other things. To them, the dollars and cents add up.
EASE OF USE, LESS TIME NEEDED
The great thing about what is a digital coupon is that you don't have to spend so much time finding and clipping one as compared to a paper coupon. Technology and smart devices have made it much easier to do the task. Plus, with a lot of retail shopping being done online nowadays, redeeming discount coupons won't even take much of your time. A quick search on the internet will reveal several resources for digital coupons. Sometimes, you don't even need to look too far. Digital coupons can pop up in your email or show up in social media. All you need to do is to download the coupons.
You should not “discount” the value of what is a digital coupon, no matter how small the savings or value. Redeeming digital coupons may seem like a tedious task at first, but if you make it a habit to avail yourself of these discounts and offers in most of your purchases, you will eventually feel a significant difference that digital coupons can make.
Now that you know what is a digital coupon and what the benefits of using one can do to your bottom line, take advantage of it when you do your next shopping — whether online or in-store. If you're not quite the techie-type, you can breathe easy because most digital coupons are still printable. Whether you are using a downloadable coupon, a mobile coupon, or a coupon code the great thing about digital coupons is that processing them is now streamlined and hassle-free.
Digital coupons are one of the many wonderful things brought to us by a capitalist society. Companies actually spend money to satisfy their customers. Before you go on your next shopping spree, consider looking for digital coupons from your favorite retailer and do the math in your head. You might be surprised at how much you will be able to save. Imagine what you can do with $$$$ to $$$$$ of savings a year just by using digital coupons.
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