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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Ameilia F.

Retail giants, consumer specialists, and marketers alike, all know that in today’s world of internet shopping, the consumer has the upper hand. It is said that we live in the world of the smart consumer. But, in hoping to trick the people with BOGO gimmicks, empty coupons and holiday event sales, big box retailers have become smarter while understanding the psychology of the everyday shopper. I like to think that growing up with internet; I am savvier of scams and can tell a good deal when I see one compared to generation x and older. And when I’m asked “do coupons influence my purchasing decision”; I say of course! But only when I know I am getting a good deal.

Understanding how retail works is half the battle. You have to realize that if you are giving in to a buy one get one deal, you cannot accept that the original price is actually double then it should be. For example, in the supermarket, you can get buy one get one coupons on Pillsbury rolls all the time. A smart consumer would say, wait a minute, why is there always coupons for these? Most people will see it, buy two and never realize they were never really saving money. The smart consumer will be patient, wait for the grocery store to have a sale on just one tube, and then take advantage of the BOGO deal. That is where the savings really occur.

A note from us at I’m In:  We offer lots of ways for you to save on groceries at I’m In!

The internet is the smart consumer’s best weapon. Being able to compare products, prices and specs using multiple search engines will give any shopper the upper hand and probably more knowledge than any sales person would ever have. There are hundreds of thousands of websites dedicated to coupons or coupon codes to enter digitally. Nowadays you don’t even have to print out coupons; you can just have them scanned through your phone. How can you not use coupons when it is this easy? I will hardly purchase anything without checking sites like Retailmenot or coupons.com. If I cannot find some kind of deal, I have a hard time going through with the purchase. I know that everything is marked up, just so they can give you a coupon to make you feel better about your purchase, so it’s almost your duty to use those coupons or codes.

A note from us at I’m In:  The I’m In Coupon App makes it easy for you to access coupons for in store savings. The power is in the palm of your hand!

It’s not just me needing to use coupons, its most of America. Look at JC Penny’s move last year with the “no coupons anymore” statement. They said all of their prices are marked low and consumers won’t need coupons. The outcome almost left them bankrupt because of it. The logic behind their failure is, shoppers love coupons. Even if the consumer isn’t getting a deal while using coupons; they would still rather use a coupon thinking they were getting a better price, then get a better price with no coupon. They want to think they are getting the deal. That’s the psychological factor I mentioned earlier. Most shoppers or so bent on using coupons and getting the lowest price, they lose sight of a good deal marked at regular price. I myself know better than that, but do catch myself from time to time thinking coupons and codes are my golden ticket, which of course, is not the case.

Breaking down all of the pros and cons of coupons will drive a person crazy. The best thing to do is take your time, be patient, and understand all of your options while shopping. That is how I’ve learned to do it. Jumping into a sale is not a smart decision. Knowing where you can go for coupons, when event deals are really deals and when just to walk away is the key to a successful shopping trip. Coupons will always influence me to make a purchase, but that is only one factor in a much larger equation that I and all consumers have to overcome.

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