The coupon was born 125 years ago. 125 years later with millions of the little suckers being redeemed every day, it seems it was a good idea... unless you ask J.C. Penney. J.C. Penney is celebrating the coupon's birthday by trying to kill it at their stores. Their goal is to save women from these awful discount devils by removing them and other promotional devices from it's pricing model. Bright idea, or dim?
Rule #1: Know Thy Customer.
One possible answer comes in the form of a recent survey of women in the US by Valpak. The survey reveals that a lot fewer women than J. C. Penney would have us believe are wigging out over the plethora of coupons regularly arriving at their homes (see commercial below). In fact, 70% of women surveyed say saving money with coupons is as American as apple pie and they "love saving money and getting great discounts."
84% of them say they use coupons they get in their mail, and in newspapers - 84%! Hmmm. Women don't hate coupons after all. Could be a problem.
Rule #2: Hope For The Best.
Penney's new pricing strategy contradicts the survey results with a move away from a high-low pricing model driven by coupons and discount promotions, to more of an everyday low pricing (EDLP) formula for success. Their advertising strategy is targeting what they apparently believe (or perhaps their own research shows) are women who are fed up with coupons and discounts. According to the Valpak survey though, that's not a lot of women. Regardless, Penney's ads to introduce the concept featured women screaming in apparent suicidal fear and frustration as discount signs dangle above their heads and coupons pour from their mailboxes. Apparently, the ads must feature the mere 30% of women who don't think coupons are as American as apple pie, and/or the 16% who don't use them (according to the survey, that is).
Rule #3: Don't Believe Everything You Read.
Of course this is just one survey, admittedly conducted by a company who's life depends on coupons. And if it's wrong, or skewed a tad, J. C. Penney may be onto something. If it isn't, 70% of women who "love saving money and getting discounts," and 84% of all women who use coupons will be going elsewhere to get their discount fix. And Penney might be going back to the drawing board.
Here are a few factoids from the survey:
More than eight in ten women (84%) say they use coupons received via mail, such as Valpak, and those found in newspapers.
However, digital couponing is gaining momentum; among surveyed women:
- 65% use online coupons from retailer websites.
- 55% use coupon websites.
- 34% use coupons from social networks such as Facebook.
- 25% use deal-site coupons.
- 19% use mobile/SMS coupons.
- Nearly six in ten women (58%) say they have increased their coupon habits over the past few years.
Results were even broken out by party affiliation! Read more at marketingprofs.com.