A 2003 survey resulted in 96% people saying that they would still use coupons… even if they won a big lottery.  If you have a lot of money and you are not careful with it, you will not have a lot of money for long.  Coupons influence buying decisions in five ways:  They advertise the product, they win customers from the competitions, they have resale value, they increase likability of the seller, they are more effective than putting something on sale for attracting new customers, and they expand market area.  Coupons don’t work when you have a lot to do and they have a quick expiration date and when there is poor distribution of your product in the stores.

First they present the product.  This is especially true of free surprise samples included with your regular purchase.  Everybody wants something free.  In this age of information surplus and competition for the audience’s attention, the possibility of saving some money gets attention.  Even if you have a great product, if people don’t know about it, they won’t be able to benefit from it.  For example, I find that getting a free taste of some vitamin shake or other product helps get over the risk that I won’t buy because I might not like the taste.  It’s also useful when you need to know if product works well for you.

Second, they may influence me to buy from the coupon giving business instead of the competition because of lower price or free shipping.  This is particularly the case when I a regularly purchase from two different business that are alike and both provide the products I need.  I even switch back and forth between the one that offers the lower price that month.

Third, they have what I call “resale value”.  I have purchased from new vitamin stores in which I first went with a link from a coupon, but then discovered that their selection or quality was so good, that even if they didn’t issue a coupon on the same items the next month, I would still purchase from the business.

Fourth, in these days of economic turmoil, everybody is looking for coupons, and the coupons increase the likability of the business.

Fifth, a coupon is even more effective than putting something on sale because you have to be in the store or looking at the catalogue to see the sale, whereas with coupons, you can put them as ads anywhere.  You can’t rely only on those customers who already shop from you.  You need a new stream of customers.

Sixth, coupons expand market area.  As a buyer, I would rather spend an extra dollar on gasoline to get a dollar off for a product, because as a consumer I know that according to the laws of supply and demand, if you buy things that are expensive because there’s no other store nearby, the prices will keep going up.

A note from us at I’m In:  We can help you save at your favorite stores at I’m In!

In addition to these personal anecdotes, “…Advertising Age (the Bible of the advertising industry) reports that 87% of all shoppers use coupons.”

Finally, I like coupons that apply, not just to a particular product, but that offer a few dollars off if you buy more than a certain amount.  That way the coupon covers any product I want, not just the ones that happened to be advertised that day.  I also like coupons that not only offer money, but a free gift.  It can be as simple as a reusable shopping bag that costs one dollars.  The bag also has the name of the seller, and the person carrying it advertises it all over the place.  This may influence further buying decisions.

If you want to attract buyers to your product, give a coupon for your product specifically in any store.  But if you want to attract customers to your retail store, give a discount on a minimum amount purchased, such as ten dollars off a purchase of fifty dollars or more.  Sometimes I buy with one of these coupons and I go ahead and spend eighty dollars so that I can use the shipping amount to the maximum.

When do coupons not work?  Coupons don’t work if they expire quickly.  That is more annoying than not having a coupon at all.  Coupons also don’t work if you have poor distribution.  If you advertise a coupon for a certain item and thousands of people see it, but it is only available in one or two stores, the coupon will not work.