With the economy recession that Spain and many other European countries are facing, it doesn't strike as odd when customers push to stretch their money a bit further, causing brands all around to go “back to basics” with the use of one of the oldest promotional tools on the book: coupons.
Rest assured that coupons were not as in vogue during the period of gluttonous consumption, since we all enjoyed a certain stability and weren't all that worried where our money went. But nowadays, it seems that being a smart and conscious shopper is “cool” again, and coupons are making a big comeback. Now, I could not help and wonder, why coupons?
The answer might be traced to neuromarketing. An article posted by Forbes.com revealed a study conducted by Paul Zak of Claremont Graduate University, a neuroeconomics researcher in the United States, where he investigated the neurophysiological effects of coupons on shoppers with an online grocery site, in which shoppers would obtain a $10 coupon. He found that levels of oxytocin, a hormone related to emotions like happiness, love, and trust, surged when subjects received a coupon. Amazingly, the lift in oxytocin was higher from receiving a coupon than what is observed when people receive a gift or engage in activities like cuddling - or even kissing!
Specifically in Spain, a study conducted by Sartia and Simon Kucher & Partners pointed out that Spanish companies invested more than 4.7 millions of euros in promotional discounts in the course of 2010. Another study revealed that 64% of the Spanish population claims to have bought certain brands only through discount coupons and that 79% of participants agreed to have used coupons while shopping. Through the years, it is more common to see fast food restaurant chains, retailers and even movie theaters using coupons, mostly referring to a 2x1 promotion, invitation to try a new product or even a direct discount on the product to be purchased. We see brands such as Burger King, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and many more giving them away mostly outside metro stations and on the busiest streets of the city. There is even a discount book named “Family Check” with all sorts of discounts in a wide range of stores and restaurants, and also discount websites like “Groupalia” or “Groupon” are making a huge impact with the use of online coupons.
Obviously the success of any coupon will depend on its value and relevance to the consumer. But the fact is, that 'giving back' to consumers clearly boosts happiness and trust towards a brand and a positive association that through time can become a long-term relationship where we build an underlying brand preference.
Here are some examples of coupons from brands in Spain:
Starbucks invites us to try their new beverage for the summer by downloading and printing this coupon:
Friday’s is turning Thursdays into Fridays with this 2x1 dinner coupon:
The “Family Check” book offers tons of discounts on restaurants, stores, amusement parks, movies, etc.:
“America runs on Dunkin’” and apparently they want Spain to do the same:
It’s hard to choose from all the discounts Burger King is offering:
Coupon shoppers commonly use Websites like Groupon or Groupalia to get discounts on all sorts of products and services: