Coupons may be your best method of retaining old customers and getting new customers.
Coupons are an inexpensive form of marketing. Consumers love them. Businesses that use them properly love to give out coupons.
I get frustrated with stores that get too picky about producing coupons.
pcAmerica has worked with a large pizza chain that required some very specific tracking mechanisms related to their coupon program.
I know that some of the people I worked with were much smarter than I am related to marketing and couponing, so let me say my piece and you can agree or disagree.
This pizza chain has a coupon good only on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings. Customers can get a pie for $9.95 with lots of toppings or a free small soda with a slice.
The pizza chain believes that their employees are giving the deals to their friends and others without ever using the coupon. They are scanning a single coupon over and over again whenever anyone comes into the store.
The chain also fears that the employees may be stealing money by taking money from those without a coupon, scanning the coupon more than once, and pocketing the savings without the customer being aware of the discounted price.
On the positive side, the company did have a major increase in sales as a result of offering such coupons. The question is, how much of those sales were lost due to the employee pocketing money from customers who were unaware of the coupon?
I say, who cares?
Well, not exactly. I understand the concerns. What the pizza chain wanted was a mechanism for tracking individual coupons and attributing those discounts to individual customers.
I've already admitted that these pizza marketing people are pretty smart and know what they are doing. However, I also see many smaller retail stores and restaurants that go overboard in protecting the use of coupon fraud.
In my opinion, if you issue a coupon and sales go up, you have done a great job.
Look at Bed, Bad & Beyond. They issue millions of coupons. All of their coupons have an expiration date, but they will take them at any time on any merchandise. Bed, Bath & Beyond issues 20% off coupons on a single item. They know that most people using the coupon purchase more than a single item.
Many store owners that I speak to related to couponing are afraid that too many people are going to use a coupon.
What if you offer 25% off on dinner on a Tuesday evening (or your slowest evening) and too many people come for dinner?
To me, that's a good thing. You know it's working.
My reply is, what if you offer 5% off and no one comes?
In my opinion, you should err in favor of getting too many customers;you can always fine tune it later.
Make your coupon specific. If your coupon is good on Tuesday, June 19, 2012, then it is only good on that day. If your offer is too good, you can reduce your discount or change your offer the following week.
Offering a deal for your customers gets your customers used to reading and redeeming your coupons. It not only keeps your old customers coming back, it gets you new customers.
Think of it this way. If you offer your customers 90% off on their next purchase or meal, you're going to get a really high coupon redemption rate. On the other hand, if you offer your customers 5% off on any Tuesday between 4:50 PM and 5:00 PM, you are likely not to see anyone redeem your coupon.
If you really need to, you can use unique coupon codes just by stamping or printing a unique number on every coupon that you issue.
Likewise, you can track email coupons by asking recipients to submit their email address when redeeming a coupon and comparing it to your list of issued coupons.
Learn more about the advantages of using coupon promotions at:
Creating Coupon Promotions (About.com)
If you want to make or create your own coupons that can be printed, emailed or used on a website, go to: