People sometimes need an incentive to shop, and that is what digital coupons provide. Today a large number of websites offer digital couponing services and provide a reason for people to shop. Different industrywide stakeholders – retailers, manufacturers, big brands – are trying their best to collaborate with such couponing companies to enhance sales and generate more revenues.
It is important to note that Coupon discovery, delivery and redemption is undergoing significant change. For e.g., Direct-to-card coupon redemption method allows for adding coupons to the loyalty card of the retailer directly. Once you shop for the items (and added coupons for them earlier) they will automatically be honored at the POS when you swipe the loyalty card of the retailers. These are exciting times for shoppers and retailers with cloud, mobility, analytics and technology providing a better experience.
Some prominent companies in the field of coupon provision are as follows:
CellFire provides a free, paperless e-coupon service. Its approach to couponing is two-pronged: grocery coupons can be loaded onto the user’s grocery-store discount card; and nongrocery coupons can be loaded onto the user’s cellphone. CellFire works with a number of stores, such as Baker’s, City market, Dillons, Gerbes, Hilander and Carrs. Users can simply sign up with CellFire, register their shopping cards and choose the coupons to be added to their store shopping card. Savings automatically appear on receipts once the card is scanned at the point of sale.
Users also have the option of receiving nongrocery digital coupons directly on their cell phone. Using a dedicated app, users with compatible phones can receive coupons directly. Depending on the user’s location, an array of savings and discount coupons are available through the app. Users simply load the coupons on their phone and, during checkout, show the cashier the image on the phone to be scanned.
CellFire works at more than 7,500 grocery stores across the U.S. and has more than 824 million coupons saved in its digital directory.
Inmar operates intelligent commerce networks. Its platforms connect online and offline transactions in real time for leading retailers and partners across multiple industries. Inmar leverages its open network to aggregate offers from numerous sources. Digital coupons can be loaded by consumers directly to shopper loyalty accounts from retailer websites and various brand and publisher websites. The offers are applied automatically at checkout, and discounts are credited instantly when shoppers present their loyalty cards.
Inmar boasts of more than 17,000 digitally enabled “retail rooftops” – retail outlets that are part of its promotional network – as part of its Inmar Promotion Network. Inmar Coupons Suite forms part of this network. Inmar also offers the customized web apps for coupon management for the following stakeholders:
- Manufacturers – Manufacturers can set up offers, perform forecasting, receive complete financial reporting and generate bar codes.
- Retailers – Retailers can monitor shipment and store compliance, use analytical reporting on various receivable ownership options, set up in-ad offers and use redemption reporting for future promotion planning.
As per Inmar estimates, in 2013 more than 66 million digital coupons were redeemed industrywide, of which Inmar facilitated almost 44 million. On June 18, 2014, the company surpassed the 100-million-digital-coupon-redemption milestone.
You Technology is an international digital-offer network provider. The company leverages its cloud-based platform and solutions to bridge the gap between online engagement and in-store purchase. The platform has the following functions:
- Aggregate digital offers from CPG (consumer packaged goods) marketers, third-party offer publishers and the retailers themselves and distribute offers via the Internet, e-mail, mobile phones, social-networking sites, in-store devices and other media.
- Provide retailer-exclusive digital merchandising and shopper marketing events incorporating digital offers, sweepstakes or instant-win games, and relevant content and tools.
- Personalize offers using real-time and past purchasing and shopper data
You Tech’s network includes more than 10,000 retail stores and serves about two dozen retail companies that operate under 65 names. The company has surpassed the 1.4 billion mark in digital-coupon downloads.
Catalina coupons are triggered by purchases at checkout, printing in a machine next to the register at the time of receipt generation. They are completely controlled by Catalina marketing. There are two basic kinds of Catalina coupons: cents-off coupons and offer-for-your-next-purchase coupons. Shoppers can also use store and manufacturer coupons on top of the Catalina promotions for deep discounts. Catalina coupons are generally triggered by “precoupon” amounts or by the number of items purchased.
On the digital front, the company started its online Coupon Network using the portal Couponnetwork.com by collaborating with a number of retailers and brands. The company has taken technological steps in the past couple of years by offering digital coupons via mobile and e-mail and by handling retailers’ coupon sections on its website. Catalina also acquired E-centives, an Internet-coupon company. Catalina’s Couponnetwork.com includes a type of in-store offer called YourBucks, which offers discounts off whatever the shopper buys the next time they shop rather than savings on a single specified item, the way regular coupons do.
Catalina estimates that it distributes over $6.5 billion in coupons to shoppers each year.
Coupons.com leverages its large digital-coupon network to enable clients’ coupon promotions in web pages, e-mail campaigns, social-media initiatives, mobile devices, store kiosks, shopping carts, consumer electronics and more. The company’s Save to Card program enables users to electronically download coupon offers directly to savings cards from either mobile or online portals. These virtual coupons are automatically applied at checkouts. The company also offers a dedicated mobile app, Grocery iQ, that enables users to search and access coupons.
The website offers coupon codes for saving on online purchases from hundreds of online merchants. It also offers “daily deals” for deep discounts on products and services from local businesses. The website offers a vast gallery of printable coupons and also offers thousands of coupon codes providing free shipping and discounts at retailers. The company also offers membership in a Savings Club, which offers higher-value coupons.
Coupons.com says that in 2013 it generated revenue from 1.3 billion transactions in which consumers selected a digital coupon or redeemed a coupon code through its platform.
The SmartSource website enables users to obtain coupons and free product samples from SmartSource and its product partners, to enter contests, sweepstakes and promotions, and to enjoy any other features, content or applications offered from time to time by SmartSource in connection with SmartSource's business. The website is accessible via the Internet, mobile, applications or other methods.
SmartSource basically offers premier coupon-printing services. Users can access the majority of these printable coupons online through SmartSource.com. A large selection of other coupon websites also use SmartSource’s coupons. The SmartSource home page features the Coupon Gallery, which contains pages of coupons from different brands. Users can shop by category or by specific brand, and as they select each coupon to print, the savings section at the top of the page will add the number of offers that have been selected and the savings users can enjoy from the coupon. After downloading the SmartSource Xpress app, users must sign up to be a SmartSource member and register at least one shopper savings card to use the app. They can then tap to clip coupons within the virtual booklet, which will add them to their savings card. Users can save and see all of their coupons, including the specific details, and can also e-mail or print the clipped coupons.
SmartSource Xpress has proved popular for iPhone and iPad users, with almost 2 million coupons digitally clipped in the year since its launch. The company reaches millions of consumers each day through a network of 1,700+ publications, 52,500 retail stores and 300 partner sites, including SmartSource.com, and through the popular coupon app SmartSource Xpress for iPhone and iPad.