To coupon or not to coupon, that is undoubtedly the question. Coupons have been around for longer than the population may have realized. The first coupon was created in 1887 by Atlanta businessman and Coca-Cola co-owner Asa Candler who hand wrote coupons that allowed the public to receive one free Coca-Cola (A History of Coupons, TIME Magazine). This helped to spread the word and increase sales so much so that in 1895 Coke was being sold in every state.
If there were more coupons to accommodate everyone’s living still the amount of coupons printed would most likely increase. I use coupons when I go grocery shopping as well as when I go to retail stores such as Macy’s, to help and reduce the cost. For this reason, I believe that coupons influence my purchasing habits. An example of this is around Holiday shopping time, and there are many more coupons being distributed as well as sales going on both in store and out. When there are coupons for an item you may have already had your eye on, having a coupon helps to ensure that you are going to get a better deal for it anyway so you may as well purchase it. Similarly, having coupons can help influence me to purchase something I may not have been previously interested in.
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The reason coupons weigh such a heavy part in the decision making process, is because it gives people the freedom to save money. In today’s economy, many families are still struggling to make enough money to support their growing families. Participating in having and using coupons, helps to stretch what little money families are left with after paying for their necessities. In the TLC show Extreme Couponing, families are presented that have an uncanny ability to use numerous amounts of coupons to help purchase what would have been hundreds of dollars of groceries but instead only end up paying tens of dollars. Coupons allow them to do this, with most families having multiple children and only one family member working full time.
In the same way, coupons help customers to become rewards members which elicits a relationship between the customer and the company. If your child wanted an exclusive toy only Toys R Us sold, you might be annoyed that you have to go to only that one carrier through the busy holidays. However, if when you buy the toy he wants and the company offers a loyalty card that gives you a percentage off every time you buy something above thirty dollars, then chances are you are going to be more likely to buy his toys from there again. If it is cost effective people will be more than willing to do it. This is why the conversation of coupon use applies to demographic; if I can give toy coupons to a family with a small child, then they will most likely use it.
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Coupons can also influence your purchasing when it comes to dining as well. Many companies give rates or coupons to large parties. This is because you are going to be more likely to eat and spend more time if you are enjoying your meal with friends, family, or colleagues. Bars and big name chain restaurants like TGI Fridays enlists these techniques to draw in new customers who may have never been there before or who may order more drinks now that they have an incentive to.
To conclude, if you produce a patron with a coupon they, as well as myself, will more than likely want to use it, even if the intended business is out of the way or can only be redeemed on certain days. Coupons draw people in, because honestly who does not love to save money or receive something for free.