We’ve all seen that little empty coupon code box at the checkout of our favorite online stores. And most of us are tempted by it, because we all love to save money. Although one might think couponing is a recent shopping trend, the basic idea dates back to the 1890s in the United States. Retailers in the United States first began issuing trading stamps as a thank you to customers who paid in cash instead of buying on credit.
But how do you use online coupons best? What should you keep in mind? Let’s first begin by debunking myths, and then review some helpful tips.
Myths About Coupons
A Young Trend?
Although online shopping is commonly thought to be attractive to a relatively young target group, coupons also attract older audiences. In Germany, for example, more than half of the coupon users are aged between 25 and 44; but shoppers between the ages of 45 to 54 still account for 16%.
For Women Only?
Not necessarily. In many European and Western countries women tend to use coupons more often than their male counterparts. With a 71.2% share in Sweden, a 64.3% share in France and a 62.2% share in Russia it is fair to say that women love couponing. But other markets show a significant difference – in Brazil men account for a 53.1% share, and in India, male overall coupon usage reaches 68.4%.
Although the percentages vary among different purchasing categories, most clichés are confirmed – men mainly search for coupons to be used in electronics shops, while women prefer fashion deals.
Online Coupon Tips & Tricks
How to Spot Coupon Deals
The couponing terminology varies from one online shop to another. Some are referred to as “discount,” “coupon” or “promo codes,” while others are labeled as “voucher codes” or “shopping codes”. They are quite easy to spot if you keep your eye open.
Some retailers provide their own codes via the company’s newsletter or its social media page. If you want to make the most out of your shopping experience and have a variety of deals at hand, you can opt for one of the many coupon platforms. But be sure to check on Google to see what other customers have to say about their experience with the respective platform. Ideally you want to avoid signing up for shady deals and save loads of money during your next online shopping spree.
When to Opt for Coupons
The basic answer is: Always. Why waste money when you can save huge amounts by spending just ten seconds more to type in a promo code? Most of the time the extra effort spent searching for coupon deals pays off.
Especially around Black Friday or Christmas you can find great deals online. Coupons for electronics are under heavy demand from August till September, when school starts; flowers and gifts peak around Valentine’s Day and Christmas is a great time for toys, gifts or travel coupons. Besides that there is no general rule on when it is best to use a coupon. If you see the coupon box while shopping, why not make use of it?
Both retailers and coupon platforms have to work with limitations when it comes to the time span of coupons. Sometimes, coupons are used as a marketing initiative to boost sales at a low time of the year. On other occasions, retailers want to increase their revenue during the highest-grossing weeks of the year – for example during Christmas or just before Valentine’s Day. Whatever their motive, in order to achieve their marketing goals, they will offer coupons only for that limited time. So always make sure that you read the fine print in order to not miss the expiration date.
Exclusions and Restrictions
Trying to use your 80%-off coupon on the newest Louis Vuitton bag? Probably not going to happen. If online retailers feature high-end fashion items, limited quantities or even extra heavy items, they might not be eligible for coupon discounts. Most coupon sites and retailers are pretty good at briefing their customers about the restrictions, but in case the fine print was too fine, you will notice at checkout at the latest. Some websites may display a warning on select items, but just to be on the safe side, always double-check your cart before paying.
Compare and Save
As you would do in real-life shopping situations, we recommend comparing offers. While you most likely won’t visit every store in town to compare the prices of socks or paper clips, you have almost no limitations when shopping online. If you know how to use Google in a smart and efficient way, you can save even more money. For example, while you might get your new tablet at 30% off with one coupon and pay $150 dollars extra in shipping costs, on the other hand, you might be better off with a 20% coupon that includes free shipping.
Now you are one step closer to mastering the usage of coupons, and what’s great is it’s quite easy to indulge in smart coupon usage. Clearly, the amount of money you are able to save will increase as you settle into this helpful habit. Enjoy!