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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Brandon B.

As shoppers direct more of their optional spend to online stores, they want more. Online shoppers now enjoy fast, free shipping, hassle-free returns and an exhaustive selection of products. Shoppers have learned how to search online options by adapting their usage of search engines for comparison pricing and utilizing mobile coupon apps to secure the best possible pricing outcome. With these tools at their disposal, shoppers are mastering the art and science of online shopping. Retailers, have to deal with these evolving shopper experience and pricing demands. Some retailers choose to focus on working to improve their customer experience, while standing firm on discounting. Others capitalize on the opportunity to convert customers on price.

Shoppers are still seeking the best deal and are open to being influenced to buy from different retailers. Coupon sites positively impact the purchase journey in three distinct ways: they introduce brands to customers, keep an advertiser in the mix when shoppers are comparing prices, and they are trusted sources of coupons that result in unplanned purchases.

In the world of online retailing, the shopper likely has more options for purchasing than in the offline environment. As a result, comparing prices is standard practice. 50% of respondents “strongly agree” these sites have introduced them to new retailers. Many shoppers need a compelling reason to give a new retailer a chance and coupons appear to be a persuasive tool in the quest for new customers—52% of survey respondents “strongly agree” that coupons have influenced them to purchase from a new retailer.

Coupon sites have proven to be an effective source of new customers. Coupons can slash 50 percent or more off a monthly grocery bill. To save big at the supermarket, buy national brands instead of generic.  Store brands may have cheaper prices, but they are also produced by companies without the finances to promote them. You can’t use coupons to buy them or receive a refund and they hardly ever go on sale. You’re better off matching national brand items with coupons and rebates to score big deals. Coupons benefit shoppers who aren’t brand-loyal. Products at different stores can vary in price, it makes sense financially when it comes to shopping. People become accustomed to buying the same things whether they’re on sale or not. Often there will be a similar product just below or above their go-to brand at a reduced price. You can save on unprocessed food with coupons. The most heavily couponed items in the store are usually packaged. Health and beauty aids, cereal, pet food, household products, baking items and paper goods are always couponed in a big way. This doesn’t mean you’ll never score on fresh produce or meat. Some companies that, for example, don’t sell meat  will still provide you with coupons for perishables. The store likes it when you use coupons. Stores encourage coupon using. It motivates them to stock up on the product, which means they buy more from the manufacturer and it encourages you as the consumer to buy the product from them. They often earn a handling fee and the face value of the redeemed coupon.

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

Coupons can help you save for college. This lets you redirect the money you save at the supermarket using their registered grocery card into a college fund or to pay off student loans. Eligible items at the store can score you 1 to 3 percent back.  It’s worth it to browse the aisles while shopping. Heading to the supermarket with a game plan is wise, checking out all the goods the store has to offer. Sometimes you come across a very good special that wasn’t in the paper. If the store is out of a sale product that they advertised, they can offer you a rain check.  You can find savings in places other than the newspaper or supermarket flyer and the Internet is a great place to find coupons.

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