As competition is heating up online deals and coupons are getting easier to find. To compete, online businesses are offering free shipping on some online orders and even special parking space. Bigger online businesses are offering coupons and other incentives to encourage customers to spend more.
Mobile deals easier than ever to get it on, too. Discounts are popping on packaging and displays: all you need is a smart phone to scan the codes. Some smart phone apps even use GPS technology to determine customer location to send deal alerts when they are near the store.
Coupon sites and Apps: The biggest selection of coupon sites are found online. Sites such as Coupons.com and SmartSource.com usually have up to 100 deals at any time, compared with no more than 30 coupons in newspaper circulars. They also have new mobile versions that let you scroll through offers and pick the coupons the customers want from their phone without downloading special software or apps. More stores and manufacturers are loading their websites and smart-phone apps with great deals, tracks items and prices from the latest store circulars, then cross-references all possible manufacturers’ coupons with the circulars and shows the bottom line for each item. These apps track down coupons in real time. When the customer creates the shopping list, items that have online coupons are highlighted.
Handheld Scanners:are used for ringing up products while shopping. Customers using this device get extra discounts based on where they are in the store. Another way to get more discounts by looking for kiosks in front of stores. Scan the loyalty card and offers are loaded directly onto the customer’s card. The discounts are applied at checkout when the products are bought.
Store Sites: There are dozens of sites and apps for finding and managing coupons. Customers check websites and circulars for list builders and downloadable apps of stores where they shop weekly. And ask stores whether it accepts other stores coupons.
Loyalty cards: Customers can download coupons from a retailers website to a card. Instead of sorting coupons at checkout, they only need to swipe out their loyalty card. Loyalty cards help retailers track customers spending habits, information they use to gauge which coupons and deals to offer.
Groupon offers subscribers deals through their store loyalty cards. The discount is taken off at checkout, so no coupon printing is required. The have money-back deals if customers buy a minimum number of products from a single manufacturer and use a store loyalty card.
Social Network offers: Customers can use Foursquare on their phone to get deal alerts when driving near a store. Others use Facebook to post coupons as well as specials at the store closest to their Zip code.
QR codes: Another way companies are linking customers to savings is through quick response codes or QR codes. They appear as bar codes on products or store displays. The deals can be accessed by scanning them with an app loaded smart phone.