As more and more retailers go digital, it’s becoming even more imperative to differentiate your digital experience from the rest. Usually, this involves providing your shoppers with new ways to save time or money, and digital coupons are a great way to do so – nine out of ten shoppers use traditional print coupons.
However, while many retailers have jumped on the opportunity of offering coupons online, consumers are still using paper coupons at a surprisingly high rate – almost 75 percent of coupon usage in the U.S. is through print. While Millennials have turned to the internet to find savings through websites like RetailMeNot, Groupon.com and other coupon aggregate websites, they are still more likely to use a paper coupon than one they find on an app or website, according to Forrester.
Why is that the case? Are consumers not ready to shift to digital, or is there more to the story? To find out, let’s take a look at the current experience.
If you visit any supermarket’s website that offers digital coupons, you’ll notice that they are always located in a dedicated, separate section of the website. And therein lies the root of the problem. Shoppers who visit the online site are usually (1) planning an in-store visit while looking over the weekly ad to make a shopping list, or (2) making an online order (if the grocer offers e-Commerce). But with digital coupons residing in a separate portal of the website, they are inherently disconnected from both the shopping list tools in the Weekly Ad and the eCommerce cart.
Effectively, the shopper is being expected to straddle two separate experiences when planning their groceries, bringing forth a few headaches:
- When viewing a coupon within the coupon portal, there is no way to see exactly which SKU’s are part of the offer, and what their current price is
- If the shopper finds coupons that they want and then “clip” it, they have no way of knowing how the clipped coupons affect their list/cart total
- When browsing the product catalogue, there’s no way to see if a product has an applicable coupon
The result? Frustrated shoppers give up and default back to paper.
Herein lies your competitive opportunity: you can make this process much, much easier for your shoppers. We’ve outlined three fundamental ways to do this:
1. Make it easy to find coupons
Don’t hide your coupons in a separate section of your website. Integrate them into as many parts of the online experience as possible – on your homepage, in the product catalogue, in the list & cart, in your search results, and within your digital circular – letting your shopper clip and shop at the same time.
Bring the coupon to the shopper in a way that doesn’t interrupt their shopping experience but rather, enhances it. Whenever the shopper is viewing or adding a product that has an associated coupon, that coupon needs to be there, and be clippable. Furthermore, if a shopper has a product in their cart/list that has an applicable coupon, let them know right from the cart/list view – especially if they have yet to clip the coupon!
For those shoppers that prefer to peruse the coupon section directly, make sure they’re presented with the most relevant coupons first (see number 3), and have the ability to easily sort them according to department.
2. Make it easy to redeem coupons
Once your shopper has found a coupon they want to redeem, make the act of clipping it as quick and easy as possible. With no more than one click, they should be able to add the coupon, see their total adjust, and continue shopping from there.
In a similar fashion, if a shopper is browsing the coupon section, make their shop even easier by letting them know about all eligible products for each coupon. Take it a step further and let them add those products to their cart without ever leaving the coupon page.
In a nutshell, whether a shopper is clipping or shopping, allow them to do both within one seamless experience, without any interruption.
3. Make sure coupons are relevant
Even though you should create as many opportunities to clip coupons as possible, they need to be relevant! According to Experian, 80 percent of shoppers are looking for coupons for the products they are already buying. Make the coupon-clipping experience relevant to each individual shopper by:
- Displaying coupons related to products being looked at during their shop
- Recommending coupons related to products currently in their cart
- Suggesting coupons related to products they have purchased in the past
Your shoppers will always be looking for more deals, but when it comes to digital experiences, shoppers will always expect digital to be more efficient and fluid than the analog counterparts. Digital coupons, integrated into across digital experiences, present an opportunity to delight your customers. Make it easy for them by providing a completely integrated, seamless shopping experience. In turn, they’ll reward you with larger baskets and shop with you again and again.
These days, more and more shoppers are trying to use digital coupons, however, they usually end up getting frustrated and defaulting back to paper. Find out more about why this is and how to make it easier for your shoppers here.
This article was originally published on Progressive Grocer.