In the past, businesses would spend a lot of money on the printing and distribution of free coupons to potential customers.
Usually, free coupons are issued by merchants or retailers as part of their marketing efforts and sales promotions. In the past, free coupons were mainly distributed through newspapers and magazines, but today are being transferred over the internet and on cellular phones, directly by the merchants and business owners themselves.
Over the last decade, we have witnessed a slow but consistent decline in the use of the “classical” coupon/voucher. This is mainly due to the Internet which provides the perfect platform for new marketing tools. Once, business owners could only offer their discounts via newspapers and magazines which were owned by the big media companies. Today, each merchant has its’ own website and can offer discounts directly.
An additional reason for this decline is the coming of the group buying concept which began two years ago, in 2010 with Groupon. Since then, hundreds of group buying websites have popped up causing another major decline in the use of the classical free coupon. Just for general knowledge, more than 30 group buying websites in South Africa alone popped up shortly after groupon was launched and it is said that more than 500 group buying websites in total were launched worldwide.
The reason that the group buying concept has had such an impact on the coupon industry is due to the convenience and large discounts that the concept offers. The savings in group buying apply to a wide range of products and services, including spa deals, restaurant deals, holidays, gadgets and electronics and basically anything else that you can think of. In addition to the wide variety and sheer quantity of these deals, the group buying method also offers much higher discounts that were previously offered using the classic free coupons.
Free Coupons Today
Today, businesses that want to grow and increase their revenue by inviting more customers rarely turn to advertising coupons in the “old” media, such as newspapers, and prefer to advertise on group buying websites, or group buying aggregators, like “Dealafrica”, where the exposure to new customers is extremely large.
According to marketing researches in the US, the classical free coupons will still be around for at least another 10 years before they begin to fade away completely. This is due to older generations that still prefer to use the old version and due to some countries still not having a well developed Internet infrastructure.
According to these researches, America and Europe will be the first the stop using free coupons with South America and Africa following.
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