Posts by PromoStrategies

Walmart Transitioning to Facilitate Physical Shopping with “Digital Journey”

Similar to their recent announcement testing a partnership with Instacart, Walmart continues accommodating the evolving omni-channel shopping experience.

Here’s the link to the article

33 Percent Of Grocery Customers Would Use Digital Coupons If Retailers Offered Them


Grocery shopping is clearly no longer confined to the aisles of the local Kroger or even a superstore like Target or Walmart. With services like AmazonFresh and Peapod, consumers can load up on kale, chicken — or whatever they need for their next meal — from their computers or smartphones.

Online grocery sales are a booming business, with the eCommerce segment expected to make up 20 percent of all grocery sales by 2025. Traditional brick-and-mortar grocery stores are seeking to adapt to this new market through ominchannel marketing. Kroger, for example, plans to spend $9 billion over the next three years to modernize, according to the Omni Usage Index.

As the online grocery business grows, retailers that sell the products that stock refrigerators and pantries across the country are seeking to expand their marketing efforts across multiple channels — online and in-store. When trying to connect with consumers or offering them a deal on a product, here are five things to keep in mind.

— One-third, or 32 percent, of customers of large-format grocers would appreciate social-sharing efforts, and 12 percent already do. Through platforms such as Instagram, for example, grocery brands can promote their products and show what the end results of a successful trip to the supermarket could look like. As Insta’s focus is entirely visual, grocers can show appealing recipes and party spreads using products that can be found in their aisles. Retailers can take advantage of other social media platforms too, such as Snapchat. One grocer has even used Snap to document each step of a fish’s journey from sea to market, captured with Snapchat Spectacles. Still, it should be noted that a whopping 42 percent would not use this feature, so not everyone wants follow a fish’s journey on Snap — at least not yet.

— While a large percentage of large-format grocers already use digital coupons, 40 percent, 33 percent would use them if retailers offered them. Target, for example, has a mobile app called Cartwheel that brings manufacturers’ digital coupons to consumers’ smartphones. From the app, consumers can “clip” coupons that, in some cases, are the same ones found in the local newspaper. As TechCrunch has pointed out, this digital method of coupon clipping increases Target shoppers’ potential savings, as manufacturers’ coupons frequently offer greater discounts than those offered only through the app, like special offers on Target’s private label products.

— Many large-format grocery store customers, 41 percent, use rewards — but 35 percent would take advantage of them if retailers offered them. Some grocers like Stop & Shop have their own loyalty programs. Others may rely on third-party platforms such as Shopkick, which allow consumers to earn rewards while grocery shopping and drive sales for grocers. Over a year of research and development, Shopkick Grocery was found to increase consumer basket sizes to $59 in grocery, drugstore and retail spend per trip versus the $32 national average. Likewise, Shopkick Grocery increased weekly visits to the grocery store and increased consumer engagement at the shelf, according to the company’s research.

— Paper coupons are popular, too. Thirty-nine percent of large-format grocer customers take advantage of them, but 37 percent would clip them if retailers made them available. Believe it or not, old-fashioned coupons remain a viable method to reach retail consumers. Surprisingly, nearly 90 percent of millennials actually use paper coupons that come through the mail, and response rates to consumer mailings are up 60 percent from 10 years ago, according to direct mail marketer Valassis.

— And while only about a quarter, or 26 percent, of large-format grocery store customers currently opt in to marketing, 33 percent would use that feature if provided by a retailer. Reaching customers can be a tricky business, but having customers opt in to marketing reduces unwanted messages, personalizes advertising and makes it useful to the consumer. For grocers, information from the opt-in process can provide valuable brand engagement and return on investment (ROI) data.

As online entrants into the grocery space grow, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are looking for digital partners to help usher in the digital era of groceries. Kroger executives reportedly are in talks with Alibaba, the Chinese eCommerce retailer, for example.

Through such a deal, consumers in the future could be inspired to buy a new kitchen appliance or cookware as they roam the produce section, allowing Kroger to make the sale — instead of another retailer.

Inmar study: 45% of shoppers load digital coupons to loyalty cards

AUTHOR Dan Alaimo PUBLISHED March 19, 2018

Dive Brief:

  • Forty-five percent of shoppers have loaded digital coupons onto their loyalty cards, according to the Inmar Promotion Industry Analysis and its Shopper Behavior Study, reported by Supermarket News.
  • Coupons are changing shopper behavior. The study found that of shoppers with coupons, 39.1% said they would buy a product sooner; 39% said they would buy a brand they otherwise would not have considered; 38.5% said they would buy more of a product; 29.9% said they would buy a different product within a brand; and 18.1% said they would switch back to a product.
  • Digital coupons have seen five successive years of double-digit increases, with the strongest growth in share of redemption for load-to-card, which is now up 587% from 2013 to 2017. Print-at-home and free-standing inserts (FSIs) showed declines in that same time period, with minus 27% and minus 21%, respectively.

 Dive Insight:

Coupons are changing with the times and have never been more important for driving traffic, sales and brand conversions.

Brands and retailers need to meet shoppers wherever they are on the shopping journey, Holly Pavlika, senior vice president of marketing and content for Inmar, wrote in Supermarket News. In particular, moms from the millennial generation look for offers before, during and after a shopping journey. Convenience and savings on digital and mobile are big drivers, she said.

This means paper coupons distributed with FSIs in the Sunday newspaper must still be considered, as they still dominate distribution and redemption. For example, FSIs accounted for 90.8% of all coupons distributed and 34.6% of all coupons redeemed in 2017. While smaller in number, digital coupons were higher in percentage of redemption. Load-to-card incentives were 1.1% of all coupons distributed, but 10.9% of all coupons redeemed. Seventy-seven percent of shoppers said they had a shopping list for the store, and 44% said they looked for digital coupons before the shopping trip. The ease of putting the coupon discount on the loyalty card makes this a more painless exercise compared to clipping paper coupons.

In a related finding, marketers distributed 38% more of the load-to-card coupons last year, compared to the year before. Redemption of digital coupons increased 67% in that time span. Additionally, Huffington Post has reported that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase and interact with a brand that offers an engaging mobile encounter.

To stay on top of this changing consumer behavior, supermarket operators must be prepared to accept — and promote — all kinds of coupons. Advanced point-of-sale systems make this possible, and also enable to monitor purchases with coupons for fraud. Among regular load-to-card coupon users, 90% reported that the coupon changed their shopping behavior — an opportunity retailers shouldn’t ignore.

Understanding Mobile Users

Mind-Boggling Moneymakers Cause Chaos and Controversy

Source: October 14, 2016 in Coupons In The News

Need some Lipton tea or Fruttare frozen fruit bars? Well, Publix will pay you twenty bucks for each set of sixteen that you take off their shelves.

At least they were, until they realized the extent of the stacking scenario they had enabled, and put a stop to it – upsetting some extreme couponers, and store staffers who’ve had to deal with the fallout.

The Florida-based chain had couponers in six Southern states salivating over a couple of store coupon/sale/instant rebate combinations, after previews started emerging for the weekly ad that began midweek. There’s a promotion offering an instant rebate of $5, for every $15 worth of select Pepsico, General Mills and Unilever products purchased. Those products are also on sale. And there happens to be a store coupon available for $5 off 2 select Unilever products, two of which are part of the promotion.

So consider this scenario – boxes of Fruttare bars are on sale this week for $2.50 each. They’re eligible for the $5/2 coupon, and the $5 off $15 rebate. Buy six boxes for $15, use three $5 coupons to get them for free, get the $5 instant rebate on top of it, and earn $5 in overage (which Publix allows).

Or buy ten boxes of Lipton tea (or a couple of fillers and eight boxes, if your store sticks to the maximum allowed per store policy). They’re on sale for $1.50 each. Buy $15 worth, use five $5 coupons, get the $5 instant rebate, and earn a whopping $15 in overage.

Buy both brands, over multiple shopping trips, and you earn a twenty-dollar bill every time you set foot in a Publix store this week.

But not anymore.

If you’ve ever held onto a good coupon, only to have it expire the day before a big sale – or if a coupon comes out just as soon as a sale is over – that’s no accident. Stores and manufacturers typically aim to plan their promotions carefully, to avoid ill-advised scenarios that provide shoppers with overlapping discounts.

But occasionally there are mistakes, oversights and “what-were-they-thinking” moments like the one that’s caused a frenzy at Publix.

Many shoppers reported that shelves full of Lipton and Fruttare were cleared within minutes of stores opening on the first day of the sale. Some proudly posted their receipts on social media to show off their hauls, and their profits.

And many others started complaining, once Publix began scrambling to contain the damage and put limits on the deal.

“Stores have set a limit of 2 on certain items. So how are we going to make the $15.00 mark?” one shopper asked on Publix’s Facebook page. “How can we take advantage of a sale if we are not even allowed enough items to make it work?”


One shopper’s store manager “would only accept two of those particular coupons and they refused to honor your published policy of taking eight identical coupons,” another comment read.

Limiting quantities “just shows a lack of preparation for their own sales. Ridiculous,” complained another.

“As you might imagine, due to these great deals, we have some stores who are running low on product or are completely sold out of product,” Publix spokesperson Maria Brous told Coupons in the News. “We’ve had to make some tough decisions in an effort to provide the best opportunity for the majority of our customers to benefit from these deals.” Therefore, she said, “stores are limiting quantity deals and we are also limiting the $5.00 off coupon to two per household, per day.”

(Update: Later, Publix relaxed the limits on the coupon, and on the number of participating items that can be purchased. “Due to overwhelming feedback from our customers, we decided to remove these limitations and now there is a maximum of 8 coupons allowed,” Publix explained. In addition, stores “should allow customers to purchase enough product to meet the $15 minimum.”)

Meantime, the $5/2 coupon is being retroactively interpreted to apply to two different participating brands, and not two of the same brands – so one coupon can’t be used to buy, say, two boxes of Lipton. “The coupon does not state you have to mix and match,” one Facebook commenter grumbled. “Therefore you are not following your own coupon policy and may actually be classified as false advertising.” Added another: “They are punishing their customers for their careless advertising team’s mistake.”

Typically, Publix lets store managers set limits or determine how store coupons are to be applied at their discretion. It’s a relatively rare move for the corporate office to impose limits chain-wide – especially after a weekly ad is out, instead of spelling it out in the ad itself.

That has upset many shoppers who missed their chance to get paid for buying Lipton and Fruttare. Others, meanwhile, find the limits reasonable and perfectly understandable. The other area of disagreement, is whether coupon blogs and message boards that promoted the stacking scenario, were merely pointing out a completely legitimate deal – or taking avaricious advantage of a marketing error, before the stores and participating manufacturers realized what had hit them.

I Heart Publix” blogger Michelle Atwood is on the side of not promoting such deals.

“By highlighting the deal (or telling people to RUN) it just encourages shelf-clearing, which is not something that I want to support,” she told Coupons in the News. “I know Publix will be overwhelmed by folks wanting the items, and just don’t feel that it’s appropriate for me to add to the chaos.”

So why would a store offer such overlapping deals at all? Is it a case of a retailer or manufacturer’s coupon-issuing left hand not knowing what the promotions-creating right hand is doing? For all the careful calibrating that brands usually do to avoid concurrent promotions on the same items, that clearly didn’t happen this time.

Unless, that is, Unilever purposely pulled out all the stops to send boxes of Lipton and Fruttare flying off the shelves. And if that’s the case, they certainly succeeded.

It may be safe to assume, though, that paying people to take their products is not something they’re likely to do again anytime soon. So if you managed to stock up on Lipton and Fruttare this week, hope your supply lasts you until the next time a deal like this comes along. If there is a next time.


(Update: See “Publix Pays the Price for Outrageous Overage“)

Digital Coupons Take Off

While paper coupons still dominate, the number of digital coupons jumped nearly 24% during the first half of 2016.

October 12, 2016

NEW YORK CITY – Free-standing inserts coupons are retaining their popularity, but digital coupons are making inroads, Progressive Grocer reports. During the first half of 2016, the number of digital coupons rose 23.4%, according to Kantar Media.

During the past year, the number of U.S. mobile coupon users jumped nearly 18% to reach 92.6 million, according to eMarketer data. By the end of this year, mobile coupon users are predicted to advance an additional 11% to reach 104 million.

Supporting the transition to paperless couponing is a new standard from GS1 US and the Joint Industry Coupon Committee (JICC) to assist merchants in tracking and identifying digital coupon transactions at the cash register. This standard will provide retailers with enhanced traceability at checkout and allow for easier redemption from coupon issuers.

“The new GS1 Standard is a step forward in addressing industry needs at a time when consumers are relying on their mobile devices more than ever to shop,” said Jeffrey Bumgarner, manager, industry affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “Industry members and their app developer partners will be able to use the new standard as soon as the proper infrastructure is in place at the end of this year.”

Other mobile payment systems like Samsung Pay are seeing the potential for digital coupons and are enhancing features to make it easier for shoppers to search, save and redeem mobile coupons. Millennials in particular have embraced digital couponing.

NACS Online / Media / News Archive

Ecommerce Up 30% in 2015, CPG Up 42%

by , Staff Writer @mp_research, February 11, 2016, 6:15 AM

According to estimates from 1010data, reported by Jack Neff for AdAge, retail e-commerce sales grew by 30% over 2014, but In-store sales for most categories remained nearly flat according to the U.S. Census Department. Consumer packaged goods (CPG) grew at an even faster pace of 42% than total e-commerce year over year. Much of the growth was fueled by Amazon’s Subscribe and Save feature (SNS,) being the default selection for many Amazon users as they check out. Over 20% of all growth in CPG came from SNS.

Amazon SNS revenue for the 50 CPG categories measured grew by 214%, the benefit of the compounding nature of subscription sales. The 3 largest SNS categories were baby diapers, pet food, and coffee. The fastest growing were hair care, baby wipes, and deodorant.

The fastest growing category across total e-commerce measured was Laundry Detergent with 85% Y-O-Y growth. Laundry Detergent is dominated online by Tide, who had 48% percent market share.

Top-Selling Detergent Brands by Percentage of Market Share

Share of Market





Seventh Generation






Arm & Hammer


Charlie’s Soap


Mrs. Meyer’s






Source: 1010data, February 2016

The category that came in second place for growth was Toothpaste with 75% Y-O-Y growth, with Crest leading the way in terms of market share. Colgate Palmolive owns both the Colgate brand and Tom’s of Maine. When both brands are combines, as a manufacturer, Colgate Palmolive is the leading seller online toothpaste seller with 26% market share, says the report.

Top-Selling Tooth Paste Brands by Percentage of Market Share

Share of Market







Tom’s of Maine


Arm & Hammer












Source: 1010data, February 2016
Top Ten CPG US Ecommerce Categories Y-O-Y Growth

% Ecommerce Growth

Laundry Detergent




Health Snack Bars




Adult Nutrition


Baby Wipes


Protein Powder


Bottled Water




Baby Diapers


Beauty Primers


Source: 1010data, February 2016

The largest category in CPG, according to 1010data estimates, is pet food, which did $760M in e-commerce sales in the U.S. in 2015, up 55% from $490M the prior year. The next largest categories were Facial Moisturizers and Fragrances with $450M and $330M in revenue respectively and 25% and 11% growth respectively.

The fastest growing brand that did more than $5M in annual sales in 2015 was Amazon’s own CPG brand (Amazon Elements) that sells parenting staples such as Amazon Elements Baby Wipes. Amazon Elements grew by over 4000% in CPG sales. Bai energy drinks grew by 625% and took the second place in growth for $5M+ brands.

E-commerce is still less than 10% of total sales and often less than 5% for major CPG manufacturers such as P&G, J&J, Unilever, Mondelez, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi. However, the majority of their sales growth in the U.S. is coming from e-commerce in many categories, says the report.

The panel data for this report comprises analysis of the top 100 online retailers in the US, covering approximately 95% of total retail purchases as defined by 1010data.

To review the published article, please visit here; or from 1010data please go here.

Predictions for mobile proximity and beacons in 2016

Mobile proximity is ready for its coming-of-age moment this year, thanks to a better understanding of technology, methodology and best practice from all parties involved.
Here are five predictions for mobile proximity in 2016:
1. Marketers will require better data authenticity and accuracy to make smarter connections with their consumers, leading to wider adoption of first-party GPS and beacons, and a move away from third-party data 
Effective mobile proximity campaigns require accurate data, but in 2015, location fraud was a real issue.
Take, for example, programmatic location data, of which more than half is inaccurate. Of the 37 percent of data that was accurate, it was only to 100 meters. That is an entire city block in New York, or the difference between the grocery store and the dry cleaner next store in a suburb.
If marketers want to create verified in-store engagements through mobile, and effectively communicate with their shoppers at the most important time in the purchase cycle, they need to demand better, fresher data from location providers.
2. Offline retailers will leverage digital tactics such as retargeting and pre-targeting to help drive real world sales
Ecommerce just passed offline sales on Black Friday for the first time. This is perhaps the most significant shift for retail in the past century, and something that has been speculated about since the early days of the Internet. Now that it has finally happened, many offline retailers might be thinking about how they can survive such a monumental shift in consumer behavior.
The smartest retailers are using digital marketing tactics and tapping in-store mobile engagement to drive incremental sales, while others are making the in-store experience more exciting.
As marketers’ understanding of proximity technology gets better, the conversation is moving beyond simple in-store engagements and toward previously impossible tactics for offline brands and merchants such as retargeting.
Formerly the exclusive domain of ecommerce, retargeting has been one of the most successful methods of marketing for digital companies for nearly a decade.
Now, thanks to the accurate data provided by beacons and their ability to function like an offline cookie, offline marketers can level the playing field with their ecommerce competition and deploy retargeting based on offline store visit data.
Results have been exciting thus far, with retailers driving an 8 percent increase in store visits thanks to retargeting via store visit data from beacons.
3. Consumers will expect contextual mobile and added value in offline shopping
More than 84 percent of smartphone owners use their devices in the store to help them shop, and applications in large part have become the conduit for marketers to connect with shoppers in the store.
But in order to be effective, these engagements must provide some kind of value to the shopper, both in native context of the app and the place in which they are delivered.
Some of the most successful mobile engagements are happening in the grocery setting, where the most frequent shopping trips occur and there are many products on the shelves.
Hidden Valley provided a great example of how to reach shoppers with quality content, running a campaign about quick and easy dinner ideas through the recipe app, Epicurious. The campaign created a natural connection that made sense from a consumer standpoint.
Another app, List Ease, simply reminds shoppers to check their list upon entering the store, before deploying a branded interstitial.
The friendly reminder to check your list – perhaps even saving you a trip back to the store if you were to forget an item – is worth a branded interstitial in the consumer’s mind.
These digital benefits in offline shopping are what millennial consumers expect from marketers – and any ads delivered need to be worth it from the shopper’s standpoint.
4. Mobile proximity will move out of innovation budgets to become the fastest growing piece of mobile ad spending in 2016 
The hype phase about beacons and proximity technology is over, and we now have real best practice guiding brands and retailers to engage shoppers at appropriate times and places.
Now that marketers have a better understanding of the technology and what is required of them to make it all work, we will see the end of the toe-dip era and more brands jumping into the pool.
The combination of opportunity, existing in-store consumer behavior, best practice, location data accuracy and experience with proximity campaigns will pave the way for tremendous growth in 2016.
5. Proximity will start to be used more effectively by nonprofits
Retail and consumer packaged goods brands have been on the forefront of beacon and proximity technology, and advertisers are achieving real success with the technology.
But the real exciting developments might come from a different group: nonprofits.
Earlier this year, a company called Wayfndr deployed beacons to the London Tube system in an effort to help the visually impaired navigate the subway system.
Back in the United States, the Zac Brown Band leveraged beacon technology to drive awareness for its partner charity, Warriors to Summits. In 2016, we will see more exciting uses of beacon technology outside of retail or events and in new places.
Kevin Hunter is president of inMarket, Venice, CA. Reach him at [email protected].

The Paperless Chase

Retailers seek to engage consumers through easier delivery of e-coupons.

August 14, 2015, 12:48 pm By John Karolefski,
Digital coupons are currently a footnote in overall coupon distribution and redemption. Traditional free-standing inserts (FSIs) that shoppers receive in newspapers are overwhelmingly dominant.

But if newspaper readership is declining and so-called “Mobile Millennials” will be the key grocery shopper of the future, it’s clear that digital offers will grow.

Digital coupons are available on a grocer’s website or smartphone app. They can be loaded onto a store’s loyalty card. They’re also available on websites for coupon networks and coupon aggregators, which both draw a huge amount of traffic from deal seekers.

“Given the recent outstanding track record for digital promotions, there is no question that these offers are gaining momentum with both shoppers and marketers, and that there is tremendous future growth potential for them,” affirms John Ross, CMO of Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Inmar and president of Inmar Analytics, whose research has seen 100 percent year-over-year growth for five consecutive years in share of overall redemption for paperless digital offers.

Considering the Source

But which source for selecting and redeeming digital coupons will grocery shoppers rely on the most?

“Digital coupons have a value to consumers because they are convenient,” says David Ciancio, senior customer strategist at Cincinnati-based Dunnhumby North America. “The best-in-class capabilities allow consumers to select and load hundreds of digital coupons directly to their loyalty card or to a mobile app, and redemption is automatic and painless for the shopper.”

“Grocery loyalty cards are fully saturated. Most grocery shoppers currently have loyalty cards for every grocery retailer they frequent,” contends Jonathan Treiber, of RevTrax. “CPGs are wary of providing lots of offer content in this category, because of the retailer-specified terms and conditions. They’re really more focused on providing just enough offer content to maintain a positive merchandising relationship with their key retail partners. You’ll find that CPGs rarely promote digital coupons via loyalty cards because they find them less effective than traditional print free-standing inserts and print-at-home coupons,” adds the president and co-founder of the New York-based company, which uses personalized offers to quantify digital marketing’s impact on in-store sales.

Other experts single out a retailer’s smartphone app as being the logical place to clip and redeem digital coupons. Gainsville, Ga.-based Invisipon, a new entry into the fray, promotes a Coupon Savings Account that provides an online “bank account” of coupons for consumers.

Despite the competition, statistics from Inmar show that growth of digital paperless load-to-card (L2C) coupons has been accelerating significantly for the past several years, although from a small base. The wider availability of L2C coupons contributed to a greater than 61 percent increase in redemption volume for these coupons during Q1 2015 versus Q1 2014. Concurrently, overall share of redemption for coupons that shoppers load directly to their retailer loyalty accounts grew from 1.5 percent in Q1 2014 to 2.7 percent in Q1 2015.

A Question of Loyalty

Grocery retailers that have made these coupons a key feature of their frequent shopper loyalty programs are benefiting, notes Inmar, citing convenience and flexibility as major reasons for this.

In June, ShopRite stores, operated in the Northeast by members of Keasby, N.J.-based retailer cooperative Wakefern Food Corp., sought to persuade its shoppers to use digital coupons by promoting a Big Brand Bash campaign. For the most savings, the campaign instructed shoppers to go to the ShopRite website or mobile app, and select and load clipless coupons onto their Price Plus Club cards. Discounts were triggered automatically at checkout.

Similarly, shoppers at supermarkets operated by Cincinnati-based Kroger can sign up for digital coupons on their computers, tablets or the Kroger app on their smartphones. Then they can clip coupons, and sort and filter them on the Kroger website or app. Once they find offers they want, they click “load to card,” which places the coupons on their Kroger Plus loyalty cards.

Aaron Glazer, of San Francisco-based Taplytics, says grocers benefit most by sending coupons through their own apps, rather than having customers discover them elsewhere. It boils down to being able to personalize that offer, which makes it more attractive and, subsequently, drives growth.

“That said, no single CPG brand or grocery retailer has really cornered the mobile space, so there’s plenty of room for one to break out from the pack,” says Glazer, CEO of the provider of an integrated, mobile A/B testing, push notification and analytics platform. “Mobile can help grocers reach their shoppers in a way that’s more intimate and relevant than any other channel. When they send a coupon, it’s going right into the consumer’s hand or pocket, and that’s a powerful thing that can’t be replicated on a website.”

Recently, Southeastern Grocers, the Jacksonville, Fla.-based parent company of Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, launched a program with, in Mountain View, Calif., that enables each banner to deliver personalized digital coupons to a smartphone app and website.

Once a customer creates an account and registers her reward card, personalized coupons will be delivered online or via the mobile app. Customers can easily click and save offers and redeem them using either a physical reward card, phone number lookup, or the app’s digital reward card at the register.

According to Bert DuMars, VP of digital marketing at Southeastern Grocers: “The coupons on our new app and site are unique in that they are delivered to each customer based on his or her shopping behaviors and geographic interests and then prioritized, so those that most closely match their preferences appear first. No other grocer in the Southeast offers this kind of personalization.”

Growing Potential

Retailers and brands will need to collaborate on the development of a true mobile coupon solution to fully realize the benefits of digital promotions, according to Inmar’s Ross. “As smartphone and device penetration continues to accelerate exponentially and consumers transfer more and more daily activities from their desktops to their mobile devices, the demand for such a solution is only going to grow,” he says. “Consumer behavior has shifted, media preferences are changing, and the industry needs to respond.”

Taplytics’ Glazer sees mobile couponing attracting more consumers as they grow comfortable showing their smartphones to cashiers at checkout, and as promotions become more relevant and targeted. One of the newer and most effective ways that brands are delivering coupons into customers’ hands, he says, is by sending them push notifications on their smartphones. This draws users back to the app, so they can build even more app engagement and loyalty, which is something brands and retailers are struggling to achieve.

“One consideration retailers like Safeway and Kroger have made is to ensure that the app works equally well on the tablet or smaller mobile phones,” says Darcy Douglas, director of account solutions at Minneapolis-based Kantar Media Marx. “Not all retailers have committed to this level of coverage in support of shopper ease. This method has a real potential to take off, since both tablet and smartphone deliver a different experience to the shopper.”

“Mobile coupons are turning out to be one of the favorite promotional tools for grocers to influence, incentivize and encourage customers towards trying their products,” says Anil Kaul, CEO of San Francisco-based Absolutdata, a provider of advanced analytics. “The ability to identify customers individually, track their purchase behavior and send personalized offers are the main reasons for the growth of this channel.”

Meanwhile, RevTrax’s Treiber contends that loading digital coupons to a retailer’s app is misleading because it’s probably either being loaded to a loyalty card synced with the user account or a user account without a loyalty card. “But consumers will most likely continue to adopt digital coupons by clipping them via the retailer’s mobile app, as mobile adoption continues to grow at a disproportionate rate to desktop. Tablet for coupons will likely be last, behind desktop and mobile,” he predicts.

L2C digital coupons aren’t confined to a grocer’s loyalty card. Kroger links digital coupons to its Kroger Plus credit card. While such applications are rare, that may change soon: Boston-based Linkable Networks has launched a program for retailers that enables shoppers to link digital coupons to a credit or debit card.

Nearly eight out of 10 consumers didn’t make a CPG purchase in the store because they forgot a coupon, according to Linkable Networks CMO John Caron, citing a study that Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research did on behalf of his company. “This is costing retailers and brands real revenue,” he asserts. “Card-linked offers and load-to-card both solve this. The second-biggest issue for consumers is ease of use. Print-at-home and load-to-smartphone are ranked lowest for ease of use, while the ‘lowly’ FSI and on-package come in at one and two, respectively. What’s a close third? Card-linked offers. They solve the fundamental issue around digital coupons, because they’re insanely easy to use, you cannot forget them and, in time, you can use them everywhere.”

Linkable is one of the first vendors in the market with a solution. “Our pilot with Supervalu is going incredibly well,” notes Caron. “Time will tell, but personalization, automatic or invisible redemption, always available, and fully digital are changing how CPG brands and retailers provide value to their consumers.”

“Digital coupons have a value to consumers because they are convenient.”
—David Ciancio, Dunnhumby North America

“Mobile can help grocers reach their shoppers in a way that’s more intimate and relevant than any other channel.”
—Aaron Glazer, Taplytics

“The coupons on our new app and site are unique in that they are delivered to each customer based on his or her shopping behaviors and geographic interests and then prioritized.”
—Bert DuMars, Southeastern Grocers

L2C Coupons Engage Millennials
Millennials respond to digital coupons loaded onto a store’s loyalty card more than other shopper groups do, according to research by Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Inmar.
“Digital coupons are an entrenched and broadly accepted aspect of retailer loyalty programs — with their popularity proven and growing,” says John Ross, CMO, Inmar and president, Inmar Analytics. “If retailers can be effective in meeting shoppers’ expectations regarding loyalty program participation and the online experience, they can, in turn, expect digital promotions to help keep customers and grow their business.”
In Inmar’s “2015 Shopper Behavior Study,” 37 percent of Millennials reported that they “usually” or “always” use coupons loaded to their retail store loyalty cards, compared with 29 percent of older shoppers. More recently, research for Inmar’s “Q1 2015 Shopper Promotion Impact Report” found that 20 percent of the coupons used by Millennials in the first three months of the year were load-to-card (L2C) offers, versus 9 percent of the coupons used by older shoppers.
“While digital coupons are popular with Millennials,” Ross observes, “paperless offers are being used regularly across all shopper segments and represent an established and well-accepted element of most retailer loyalty programs.”
—John Karolefski
By John Karolefski,
– See more at:

Digital Paperless Coupons Continue Rapid Growth


Advisor, Executive, Entrepreneur | Expert in Digital Coupons, Retail Loyalty Programs, E-Commerce, Customer Analytics

Digital paperless coupons have continued to grow quickly and now are the most popular way to get savings from the Internet or mobile devices.

The market for digital paperless coupons, primarily load to card offers, is still young. My team and I at Kroger launched the industry’s first digital paperless coupon program in partnership with P&G in November 2007 but the industry didn’t really begin to take off until 2010 when YOU Technology, where I was CEO, launched retailer-branded digital paperless coupon sites at Kroger, Giant Eagle, and other retailers. Since then, digital paperless coupons have grown at a compound annual growth rate of 150%.

Based on my analysis of data from NCH, U.S. shoppers downloaded over 1.3 billion digital paperless coupons in 2014. Digital paperless downloads were up 27% after more than doubling in 2013. Overall, digital paperless coupon downloads have grown by over 20x since 2010 (see chart below).

Source: NCH Annual Topline View CPG Coupon Facts for Year-End 2014 (download based on total redemptions divided by est. redemption rates)

In contrast, the number of coupons shoppers printed at home actually shrank by about 7% in 2014 to 1.2 billion prints. Based on these numbers, digital paperless coupon downloads surpassed coupon prints for the first time (see chart below).

Source: NCH Annual Topline View CPG Coupon Facts for Year-End 2014 (downloads/prints based on total redemptions divided by est. redemption rates for each vehicle)

This trend will only accelerate over time as retailers and CPGs continue to shift marketing budgets to digital paperless coupons. Indeed, even, the dominant player in print at home coupons, is focusing increasingly on Retailer iQ, its digital paperless coupon platform.

In total, shoppers downloaded or printed 2.5 billion digital coupons in 2014, which was still less than 1% of total coupons distributed, implying that the digital paperless coupon market has a substantial amount of headroom to grow.

Digital paperless coupons are revolutionizing how retailers and engage shoppers for several reasons:

  • Provide a seamless way to deliver incentives via digital devices, in particular mobile phones (mobile already makes up over 50% of digital paperless coupon downloads);
  • Largely eliminates fraud and mis-redemption risk for CPGs and retailers;
  • Provides a robust platform for retailer-CPG collaboration.

Eight of the top 10 and 15 of the top 20 food/mass/drug retailers provide digital paperless coupons in one form or another. Kroger and Safeway continue to have the largest programs in terms of downloads although Target with its Cartwheel program has been generating significant consumer traction. The biggest hold out remains Walmart, which is by far the largest redeemer of paper coupons. Walmart purportedly shelved the rollout of a digital paperless coupon program earlier this year as part of a broader move to re-emphasize EDLP.

The digital paperless coupon market is largely shopper marketing driven. Unlike the FSI or print-at-home coupons, CPGs don’t have a national distribution vehicle to support national brand marketing campaigns. Instead, almost all digital paperless coupon downloads in 2014 were made from a retailer website or mobile app. The reason for this is simple: retailers want to drive traffic to their own digital properties and so make it difficult for shoppers to download digital paperless coupons from third party consumer websites or apps (such as Facebook, Google,, and Yahoo) or via CPG CRM programs.  As a result, CPGs primarily use digital paperless to support their retailer-specific shopper marketing initiatives, not national brand programs.

Looking ahead, I expect the digital coupon market will grow to 25% of total U.S. coupon redemptions within the next 3-5 years, up from 10% today (with digital paperless coupons accounting for 80% or more of this amount). This estimate assumes several key catalysts will emerge to drive future growth:

  • The remaining large food/mass/drug retailers launch their own digital paperless coupon programs, in particular Walmart;
  • Key retailers and CPGs agree to create a national distribution platform for digital paperless coupons that enables CPGs to reach a national audience of consumers with national brand dollars;
  • In-store proximity marketing goes from testing to full roll out as retailers deploy beacons, augmented reality, NFC and other technologies to deliver relevant offers to shoppers as they are shopping.

Please contact me   if you are interested in a more detailed analysis of the market including vendor and pricing trends.