NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Coupons Go Electronic

          Coupons Go Electronic


          With the majority of Americans looking for ways to stretch their food dollar and the ever expanding use of technology, an old form of saving money is changing.  Clipping coupons from newspapers and magazines is a long established method for saving dollars at the grocery store.  Now Americans can find those same – and more- coupons both online and on their cell phone, email or even Facebook page. .

           Coupon use had been declining since 1992 as consumers found less need for or some embarrassment in using them. But as the economy worsened, frugal has again become cool and the popularity of coupons has grown.

          The coupon-processing company, Inmar Inc, reports that the use of electronic discounts and coupons more than doubled in the first half of 2009 compared with the same period last year.

          Electronic coupons are currently on a small part of the total number of coupons used – 3 % - but their share of the coupon scene is growing dramatically.

          Services like www.cellfire.com can deliver the coupons you choose to your cell phone or let you upload them to the customer or loyalty card offered by some larger chains.  The customer then opens the text message and views the coupon offer, such as $5 off at a restaurant.  When the customer visits the restaurant, they show the server the coupon offer on the screen of their cell phone and the server deducts that amount from their bill.

          To find electronic coupons, sign up for your favorite companies' Twitter feeds, check their Facebook pages and/or subscribe to their e-mail lists for deals.  Some retailers offer discounts on a second purchase if you answer a survey online about your buying experience.

          Electronic coupons offer the same benefits for retailers as any discount program: driving consumer traffic, building loyalty, increasing sales and attracting new customers.  They also eliminate printing costs, reduce paper waste, can be updated more quickly and have higher redemption rates than the soon to be old-fashioned clipped coupon.

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