More than two-thirds of U.S. consumers say they have downloaded a printable coupon from a Web site, according to a new report from marketing research firm Morpace.
While printable online coupons have been part of retailers’ incentive strategies for a few years, they are still a relatively small part of total coupon distribution in the U.S. But I am sure that is about to change with Groupon, LivingSocial and Foursquare taking an aggressive awareness campaign to draw consumers to online coupons.
No matter how recent they are and however small they may be in terms of distribution, online coupons figure large in the public awareness. Morpace found that 94% of consumers polled said they were aware that coupons could be printed from the Internet. Now, we just need to get them to click and print those savers.
Another interesting response from those survived, when asked to name their preferred site for downloading coupons, 34% of respondents named Google.com, placing Google at #2 name in online coupons. But wait a minute. Google doesn’t currently offer a platform to allow users to download and print coupons. Morpace is guessing the answer appears to have been rather an aspiration, suggesting that if Google were to offer such a service, consumers would view it favorably. I beg to differ on Morpace speculation. Google is a household word that is easy to refer to when it comes to looking for anything on the Internet. Thus, consumers can glibly say “Google.”
Andrew Smith of Morpace clarified their premise by saying “What first piqued our interest in doing this report was Google’s unsuccessful attempt to purchase Groupon. Google is known for expertise, innovation and usability to consumers. If and when Google does decide to get into this marketplace, they have a huge branding advantage compared to some of the competition. When Google provides a forum of this nature, consumers will come.”
Let’s put Google aside for now. When asked to name the web sites they have downloaded coupons from, the largest proportion of respondents mentioned Coupons.com and Groupon, followed by SmartSource.com and more distantly by Valpak.com and LivingSocial.com. Needing hardly a mention are RetailMeNot.com and CouponMom.com.
If you are a Groupon or LivingSocial user, you know that their coupons differ from others by offering larger discounts up to 50%. In truth, these types of coupons belong in their own category.
The fact that one in three consumers found online coupons not appropriate for their needs “suggest many consumers are not properly educated in regard to online coupon Web sites or have preconceptions about coupon Web sites that are not realistic,” the Morpace report concludes. Web sites that can better explain the benefits and show the range of online coupons might be able to make inroads with these coupon resisters according to Morpace.
The Morpace survey took place using a national panel of 1,000 consumers based on U.S. demographics. This survey did not ask respondents about their use of either mobile coupons or social deals through check-in platforms such as Foursquare, Gowalla or Facebook Places, although Smith says both topics are in consideration for future study.