Currently, the consumer is overwhelmed by a competitive environment of offers, discounts and promotions that, in an intrusive way, reach them massively through traditional channels. However, in the new era of technology, the consumer has managed to win the fight for decision-making power and maintain control over promotions thanks to a new form of business that represents the triumph of voluntary access by the customer: the “Couponing”.
To begin, it is necessary to know what we mean when we use the concept of “Couponning”, since it integrates different types of business that are compatible, but must be differentiated:
- Daily Deals: these are web pages for collective purchases or group purchases in which offers are launched for a limited time and accepted if a pre-established minimum number of buyers is reached. In order to access these coupons, the contracted product is prepaid, and once the merchant or retailer redeems the voucher, they receive an agreed percentage of the purchase from the website. In this modality, the generated business is calculated based on the total price of the contracted products. Some of the companies that use this type of business are Groupon, LivingSocial (LetsBonus), Groupalia, Offerbox and a long etcetera, since it is estimated that There are more than 500 sites worldwide.
- PGC Coupons (Great Consumption Products) available in the products themselves, magazines, newspapers, etc: In this case, the consumer does not pay anything for the voucher, but the merchant or retailer must collect the redeemed vouchers and deliver them to a manager to receive discounted amounts plus, generally, a small incentive per coupon. The management company receives money from the brands based on the redeemed coupons, while the company that serves as physical support receives part of the benefit. Among some of the partners that use this coupon management, both online and in other media, we find Valassis and specifically NCH Marketing, belonging to the same group and which presents itself as an information exchange company in the sector, promoting contact with retailers.
- PGC coupons on web pages: the operation is similar to the previous one, with the difference that instead of other media, a web page is used that receives money based on the number of distributed coupons (printed by customers). The business generated is calculated based on the discounts offered plus management fees. Examples of some companies that are dedicated to online coupons include: Cupoon.es in Spain, Coupons.com in the US and also other pages from major retailers, such as The Kroger, Albertson’s, Kmart, Target, JC Penney, Safeway, etc, some of which are associated with Coupons.com.
Until now, distributors monopolized this range of promotional possibilities and exercised their hegemony in customer relations; however, times have changed and now distributors are no longer the only ones contacting customers to issue promotions directly. Thus, the proliferation of manufacturer coupons and the diversity of existing channels through which they are dispersed, such as web pages, magazines, newspapers and brochures, are causing distributors to lose control over the promotions they launch at their stores. customers.
In this way, both manufacturers and other multi-manufacturer companies of external eCoupons are sweeping the market, with growth that is increasing rapidly and that even leads them to be listed on the Stock Exchange in record time, especially in the US, where the leading coupon companies, authentic references with a continuous annual growth of between 3 and 4 times its size.
This growing trend, although to a lesser extent, is also being felt in Spain, where at the end of 2010 it can be considered that the “Couponning” sector has become an embryonic system compared to the US, especially in PGC.
Based on the following data, it could be concluded that the Spanish Daily Deals market represents 40% of that of the United States and that the PGC coupon market in Spain represents less than 1% of that of the United States.
This means that the eCoupon sector is still maturing in our country and that it has a long way to go, which represents a great opportunity to make commercial actions more profitable given the possibility of knowing customers better and doing campaigns more adapted to their tastes and needs.
For their part, customers seem to be integrating eCoupons in a positive way into their purchasing habits and it is already becoming a new phenomenon of consumption by which they can select, freely and without any knowledge on the part of the distributors. , a very important number of coupons to redeem later.
This situation generates a series of disadvantages for the distributor. On the one hand, there is a lack of control of customer promotions, as there are more channels and companies that manage coupons that are later redeemed in their stores and final consumers. On the other hand, there is no identification of the coupons with their customers, since they are not issued directly by the distributor. That is to say: the coupons are known, but not the profile of the customer who uses them.
In addition, there is the added problem that the knowledge of internal and external coupons is not taken advantage of jointly to better understand the behavior and consumption habits of customers. As a consequence, suppliers and external companies do not have segmented information on the customer profile, so the possibility of more effective campaigns aimed at redeeming their coupons at the distributor is lost.
However, in this type of business not everything is inconvenient for distributors; There are important reasons that justify the distributor considering the implementation of external eCoupons in the Comprehensive Coupon Management (GIC).
As mentioned above, this is a growing trend in the global market. This represents a business opportunity yet to be exploited and with great potential for profitability, since it represents a project with a rapid return on investment by achieving short-term economic results and a new lever for negotiating with suppliers to increase revenue. In addition, in the long term, this channel can even replace the brochure, an element that currently has a very high cost item, and be distributed through the kiosk or mobile phone.
Faced with the main problem faced by distributors, Comprehensive Coupon Management (GIC) avoids the lack of control and decision that they have over promotions to end customers.
With this implementation it is also possible to make the eCoupons segmented and personalized, so that distributors can have all the information available to make their campaigns more effective and, ultimately, more attractive to achieve not only loyalty, but also attract customers. New customers.