By: Curtis Tingle, CMO, Valassis

Curtis TingleYou may think that coupons only influence the final product selection, but recent Valassis consumer research found that coupons are undeniably influential across all stages of the consumer shopping journey – before, during and after the purchase.

The 2K17 Valassis® Coupon Intelligence Report provides a closer look at the influence coupons and discounts have on purchase decisions across multiple audiences.

Let’s start by briefly reviewing a few trends in print and digital coupon use.

The scale and diverse sources of coupons
Ninety percent of consumers use coupons from a variety of sources. Print coupons still account for the greatest share of use, with consumers noting a preference to obtain them from traditional media such as the mail (most preferred). However, as you might expect in our increasingly digital world, shoppers are looking to their mobile devices and the internet for opportunities to save.

  • 32 percent of consumers prefer using their smartphone or mobile device as a way to obtain coupons (up 8 percentage pts. from 24 percent in 2016);
  • 37 percent of consumers prefer coupons from the internet they can download onto store loyalty cards; and
  • 35 percent of shoppers have increased their use of the internet to find coupons.

preferred sources of coupons and discounts

Now, we’ll turn our attention to the consumer path to purchase.

It starts at home
Consumers begin their purchase process with research – primarily done at home, making decisions about most items before heading to the store. A majority also use coupons to prepare a shopping list and decide which store(s) to shop, ultimately making purchases that are similar to their list. This demonstrates the importance of reaching and engaging consumers at various touchpoints in advance of their shopping trip.

In-store influence
While it is important for marketers to impact early-stage planning, there are opportunities to capture the attention of shoppers after they’ve arrived at the store. As part of the in-store experience, consumers seek deals from circulars and their smartphones or mobile devices while shopping, and also download paperless discounts to their store loyalty cards.
These incentives can motivate unplanned purchases:

• 86 percent of shoppers report making a purchase based on a discount in the store; and
• 52 percent of consumers said they deviate from their shopping list to take advantage of a sale, advertisement, or promotion they saw in the store.

Everywhere in-between:
Constant access to information via mobile devices enables consumers to find deals wherever they are—61 percent of all shoppers use their smartphone or mobile device to help them save during shopping trips.

Shoppers are also interested in deals near, or along the way to, work. More than 40 percent of employed respondents said they would shop close to work more often for food products, household goods and personal care items if they were to receive coupons from nearby stores. This presents a prime opportunity for marketers to look beyond traditional trade area targeting and reach consumers whether at home or away.

Purchase Decisions

After the purchase
The influence of coupons and discounts extends beyond the purchase. After a transaction, more than half of consumers scan their receipts with a smartphone or other mobile device to receive cash back and/or points. In addition, family and friends can be key influencers and brand advocates, sharing brand reviews, along with information about how much they saved on a product, with family and friends following a purchase.

Engage, influence and activate consumers
These consumer behaviors are proof that coupons and discounts from both print and digital sources are influential throughout the path to purchase. For marketers, an integrated coupon strategy is essential to provide “always connected” shoppers with the deals and rewards they seek, while ensuring reach, engagement and activation occur – at home, in the store, and everywhere in-between.

About these insights
These insights are among those featured in the 2K17 Valassis Coupon Intelligence Report “Influencing Consumers Along the Path to Purchase.” The report focuses on consumer behavior related to shopping for traditional consumer packaged goods (CPG) categories, including food, over-the-counter medications, household items, and health and beauty products. To learn more about how print, mobile and digital coupons and discounts impact consumer decisions throughout the path to purchase, download the report here.