Then and Now Couponing

Coupons and “couponing” have come to light in recent years via TV, articles, and specialized websites.


Extreme couponing, for example, is a term that refers to a person who actively seeks out as many deals as possible to get the absolute most product for their money, with many people focusing on bringing their payment down to almost zero dollars.


While “extreme couponing” is fairly new to the mainstream, it is not an entirely new activity. For decades, people have been using coupons to stretch their budget and afford a better lifestyle. Coupons have been around for well over 100 years in one form or another.


Did you know that the first coupon ever produced was printed by Coca Cola? The marketing tactic began around the early 1900s where one in nine people in the United States had received a free soft drink thanks to the coupon campaign. Following Coca Cola’s successful marketing campaign, C.W. Post eventually picked up on the idea and began offering coupons to promote their line of breakfast cereals.


The success of coupons has made many companies take notice therefore the coupon market for has progressively grown rampant. By the 1950s, the first coupon inserts were being circulated and by 1965, half of all families in the United States were using coupons to some degree.  Since then nearly 3,000 companies have begun offering coupons for their products and services. The American Public now saves over $4 billion a year by using coupons.


While American’s are using coupons in large quantities, how coupons are received and utilized has significantly changed. While many people still rely on the coupon cutting tactics of the 1960s and 1970s, one now has the ability take advantage of printable coupons right from the computer in their own home.


Another widely and growing option is adding coupons to electronic store cards, which reduces the need to use paper. Who doesn’t want to save a tree? These forms of coupons are called digital coupons. They are deducted whenever a card is swiped at the counter to pay for goods. The coupon user simply adds the coupons via several websites prior to their shopping trip, picks the item up, and the coupon is automatically deducted.


In addition coupons are no longer confined to in-store purchases. The advent of internet shopping has completely changed the face of the shopping landscape and with it coupons have evolved. Coupon codes can be found at various locations on the internet, or e-mailed to loyal customers for use in store or on the online shopping website. These codes, often offering a percentage off a total purchase, free shipping, or free items with a purchase over a certain total, have become incredibly popular and have helped companies lure shoppers to their online websites, and promote their products via mass internet and e-mail campaigns.


While the old form of coupons still exist, more people are utilizing digital versions than ever before. Digital coupons, coupon codes and the ability to print manufacturer coupons at home has changed the way people look at coupons and have brought more people into the couponing world. The digital version of couponing is, simply put, couponing made easier and more accessible to the masses.


The coupons of today serve the same purpose as the coupons of the past; they bring customers to the store and promote products that a customer may have not tried prior to receiving a coupon.


While there are thousands of different marketing techniques and campaigns being utilized today, coupons remain one of the most effective ways because of their win-win nature. The company is given the chance to tell people about their great products, and the consumer is given the chance to afford and try out a product at a reduced price.

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