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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Amoriss M.

I thought I was immune to the coupon gimmick until I became a part of Sephora’s “exclusive” VIB insider program. I’m not sure at what dollar amount I was able to qualify, but after a couple of trips at the Sephora counter, I was handed a shiny silver card. No, it’s not a credit card that I had to apply to, it was a card that keeps track of my points. After every purchase, the card is scanned, and points are awarded to me. One point is added for every dollar I spend. I see this as a modernized version of the coupon system. The kickbacks from the program include free samples, complimentary makeovers, money off purchases, access to free shipping, and the ability to shop sales first. The list of many other benefits are listed on the VIB homepage. How many other people are part of this program? I’m not told. But does it matter? I’m VIB!

I was unaware that the VIB (“B” stands for Beauty) program existed, and instead of asking if I wanted to be a part of it, after purchasing a moisturizer, the Sephora sales-lady automatically handed me a gift bag full of goodies, and fancy booklet of silver coupons to use for future purchases. It would be a silly to decline.  I had hit the beauty jackpot.

A note from us at I’m In: We can help you save on your next visit to the department store, too!

I honestly felt very “VIB” when handed the thick papered shiny, silver coupons.  When I got home to have dinner with my parents, I raved about my coupons. This moment was monumental—I was actually bragging about coupons and was discussing how beautiful they were.  I also showed off what the free samples were—one of them being under eye gel that was to help de-puff my under eye circles from late nights of studying.

I now receive emails from Sephora with the “VIB” in the subject line. Instead of seeing these as spammy emails that I need to erase or unsubscribe from, I now think of these as special messages designed just for me. What’s new? How much does the latest anti-aging wrinkle technology cost? What are the new mini beauty samples I can buy with my VIB points?

I think this coupon system is BRILLIANT. Beauty products can be pricey, so, even if it’s small, receiving free samples seems like a huge perk.

Coupons are cool if the customer feels as though it were specially created just for them.  I’m more than certain are there are thousands and thousands of customers with the same perks that I do from the VIB program.  I’m hardly special.  But it doesn’t matter, it only matter how it makes me feel.  And when a company makes you feel good, you go back for more.  Coupons can be a brilliant marketing tool that gets customers to buy more.  And that’s exactly what it does for me at Sephora.

When I was purchasing sunscreen today at Dillard’s, I was hesitant.  Was the sunscreen there more expensive than at Sephora? No, but I wouldn’t get points added to my VIB pass.  If a company gets a customer to re-think purchasing from somewhere else, that’s more than incredible.

Sephora makes their coupons very accessible. I’ve been given  coupons for $20 off of a $50 dollar purchase. I remember very distinctly how many of those coupons were sent to me via email. I can easily get out my phone, look up the email, and the Sephora cashier can easily scan it.

If the coupons were more difficult than getting out my smartphone and looking in my email inbox, I wouldn’t bother.  But this would also mean I wouldn’t spend as much and take fewer trips to the store. If more stores had coupons more easily accessible, I’d be in trouble.  Convenience is key for a lot of shoppers, and coupons aren’t usually handy. The more handy they are, the more they will be used.

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