COUPSMART BLOG

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Archive for the ‘Retail’ Category

Understanding Consumer Coupon Activity

September 23rd, 2015 1:35pm

The CoupSmart platform helps brands run promotions and collect granular consumer data. This means coupons. A lot of coupons. We’ve analyzed the millions of coupons we’ve delivered for clients, and here are some of the interesting data points we’ve found regarding the days, times and channels consumers are most active on for various industries.

CoupSmart Infographic

What Does the Increase in Ad-Blocking Mean to the Coupon Industry?

August 26th, 2015 4:30pm

Recent reports, such as this one by Business Insider, have made one thing clear: Consumers are rapidly adopting ad-blocking software. In fact, as of June 2015 almost 200 million consumers are using ad-blocking software, that’s almost a 100% year over year increase. At CoupSmart, we believe this trend will have several key impacts on how promotions are run, including:

Higher Focus on Quality Creative and Content

Word of mouth, whether through social, digital or email, will become more important as display advertising loses effectiveness. If a promotion is truly interesting and sharable, it has the potential to reach more consumers in a more effective way than display ads.

With the algorithms that various social networks use to display content, this also means it’ll be much harder for offers to live in a vacuum. Consistent, high-quality content campaigns will be needed to fill the void between promotions, ensuring:

  • Consumers engage with your brand
  • Organic traffic is substantially effect your sales

Increasing Importance of Building Customer Databases

This technological shift has made it even more important to build, maintain and continue growing your brand’s own customer database, especially a list of high quality email addresses for direct communication. With industry average open rates typically between 15-20%, email currently is one of the most effective ways to get in front of your customers and potential customers, and this will continue as it becomes harder for display advertising to reach your target audience at the right time.

In addition to emails, it’s also important to collect demographic and psychographic information on your customers. Not only can this be used to target email marketing campaigns better, it’s also a ready source of data on what sort of content you should create to have the best chance for your promotions to resonate with your customers.

Continuing Focus on Mobile

While Apple may be trying to change how mobile works, due to various technical limitations, it’s still much harder for consumers to effectively block ads on their mobile devices. This increases the importance of a channel that was already taking a larger and larger share of the display advertising market.

A few simple ways to ensure that promotions are always compatible with mobile options is to design responsive ads that works on a mobile device or desktop on your web-based campaigns, and make use of shortened URL that can direct traffic easily (especially if Facebook apps are involved).

While the end result of this increase in ad-blocker usage is uncertain, we think this represents a fantastic opportunity for marketers. It’s a chance to really show the following:

  • The value marketers provide to organizations by going beyond simple automated ad testing
  • An understanding of what potential customers are looking for from brands
  • The opportunity to create content that truly resonates with customers

Want to learn more about capturing granular personal data on your customers that can be used to build up your brand’s database and create great content campaigns? Request a demo with one of our team members now.

Facebook Tops Pinterest in Consumer Purchasing Power on Black Friday

December 23rd, 2014 5:55pm

Black Friday Results 2014 from IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark Reports.

Led by strong mobile traffic, Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday saw record online retail sales. Digging deeper into the data, Facebook produced a stunning number, as a referral source (media channel), its average price per holiday order rocketed from $52.30 in 2013 to $109.94 in 2014, eclipsing Pinterest’s average per order of $100.00 in 2014.

Facebook vs Pinterest, from this year’s IBM report (Black Friday 2014):

On Black Friday, marketers continued to rely on social channels to build brand loyalty and drive sales. As a part of understanding this marketing effort, IBM analyzed the trends from two leading social sites, Facebook and Pinterest.

They discovered the following: Facebook referrals drove an average of $109.94 per order compared to $100.00 for Pinterest, a difference of nearly 10 percent. Facebook referrals converted online sales at more than twice the rate of Pinterest.

IBM’s 2013 Black Friday report also analyzed Facebook and Pinterest.

The results:

The report determined that holiday shoppers referred from Pinterest spent 77 percent more per order than shoppers referred from Facebook. Facebook’s average order value was $52.30 versus Pinterest’s average order value of $92.50.

The biggest story is clearly Facebook’s dramatic jump in average order value from 2013 to 2014 on Black Friday: $52.30 to $109.94! That is a percentage increase of over one hundred percent.

Possible Reasons

  1. Facebook’s demographics have been maturing by gaining older users, presumably with more purchasing power. Since 2011, Facebook added 10.8 million new users 25 to 43 years old, 16.4 million users 35 to 54 years old, and 12.4 million users aged 55+.
  2. Facebook marketers are simply getting better, along with Facebook’s marketing and advertising tools. For instance, Facebook is releasing call to action buttons in 2015 for Fan Pages.
  3. Facebook may be benefiting from a larger, non-Facebook specific trend. Such as, are consumers feeling more comfortable making purchases as a part of their social experience.

We are Only in the Beginning

The power of Social Media to drive purchases is just beginning to be realized. It is the youngest and least developed media channel in the digital world (search, advertising, social, email), but is keeping pace with the progress in other traffic sources (search, advertising, social, email).

For instance, in Q1 2014:

  • Search traffic’s average order value (AOV) was $188.10 – 75% higher than social’s average
  • But average order value (AOV) for social traffic was $107.50, up from $91.40 the year prior
  • With a conversion rate of 1.08%, social’s conversions trailed search (2.27%) and email (3.31%)
  • But social’s conversion rate increased to 1.08% in Q1 2014 from .69% in Q1 2013
  • Instagram increased its Q1 2014 AOV  to $127.98, doubling its $51.00 mark from a year earlier

Overall, the value of Social as a traffic and purchasing source cannot be ignored or undervalued by brands large or small. Particularly Facebook, with a growing adult user base filled with valuable demographic and psychographic profile data that can be captured and redeployed in broad marketing automation processes elsewhere.

If you’re interested in running promotional campaigns on Facebook, the Web or Mobile – or building customer email lists for remarketing and retargeting purposes, call us or request a demo today. We want to hear from you.

Couponing On The Brink Of A Digital Revolution

August 5th, 2014 10:56am

For over a century, coupons have been an effective tool for influencing and motivating consumers.  In general, the concept of couponing hasn’t changed much. However, methodologies for distributing them have changed drastically… and for good reason.

You are exposed to coupons and other promotions every day. They’re in the stores you shop at, in the paper you read, and can be found online or on your phone. The reason they are seemingly everywhere is because almost everyone uses them. In fact, the Inmar 2014 Coupon Trends Report shows that, in a three-month duration, 96% of shoppers will have used a coupon at least once.  Consumers use coupons to save money, and will look for deals that pertain to goods that they would buy normally. However, as coupons continue to evolve, we are finding that what they are capable of offering is much more than a simple discount.

Traditionally Speaking
For years, the primary methodology for distributing coupons has been through Free Standing Inserts (deals that can be found in the paper, magazines, etc.). They are used to push offers on a large scale by casting a wide net. They aim to incentivize repeat purchases, or perhaps prompt customers to buy a newly introduced product. The downside to this approach is that the targeting is very generalized.  Another limitation, and possibly the most significant, is that it is nearly impossible to gather analytical data/ information that could supply valuable consumer insights.

Coupons That Keep Up
Our world is changing, and consequently, so are consumers’ behaviors and habits. Therefore, you will need the tools that will allow you to better accommodate their expectations.  The introduction of digitally distributed offers has revamped the marketplace.  Whether you are printing an internet-delivered coupon or receiving codes straight to your mobile device, the benefits (to both the company and the consumer) are setting the bar for all distributed promotions.

Some of the key benefits include:

  • Data gathering – collect, analyze, and gain valuable insights on your consumers.
  • Strategic agility – easily fine-tune or modify offers (appearance, value, etc.) on the fly.
  • Superior retargeting – efficiently and effectively manage your promotional strategy.
  • Distribution control – retailers and manufacturers can regulate exactly how many offers will be claimed and redeemed.
  • Personalized offers – use collected data to push individualized promotions.
  • Cost savings – digital provides a cheaper alternative to print.
  • Security – combat coupon fraud by tracking your customers using tools such as embedded codes.

Digital offers work great if your goal is to:

  • Target a specific consumer population
  • Encourage a shopper to switch brands
  • Incentivize customers to repurchase goods
  • Introduce a new product or service
  • Save money while establishing a healthy consumer database

Promotions That Show Promise
Although traditionally distributed offers are still the conventional approach, digital promotions are quickly gaining momentum and are responsible for ever-increasing redemptions. In fact, the Inmar 2014 Coupon Trends Report stated that, “Overall, digital coupons are attracting more new buyers than print coupons by a margin of 35%.” In five years, it is projected that the population of mobile coupon users alone will nearly double from the current 560 million to 1.05 billion users (Mobile Coupons: Consumer Engagement, Loyalty & Redemption Strategies 2014-2019).

 

Are You Working Smarter For Black Friday Sales, Or Just Harder?

October 17th, 2013 8:00am

Courtesy of Flickr

Like many retailers trying to capitalize on early holiday shoppers, one of the largest and most well-known department stores is working harder this year – Macy’s will be opening their doors at 8pm on Thanksgiving Day.

According to Reuters, “U.S. retailers have extended their Black Friday hours every year in recent years to get a jump on the sales events that kick off the holiday season, when they earn more than a third of their annual sales in the holiday season.”

Competition for shopping dollars is fierce this year. Disappointing sales early on are causing many to play catch up and try to drive as many customers to their stores as possible this quarter. But, how many are missing out on converting some of their strongest advocates to high-value holiday shoppers, and leveraging their influence to bring in even more customers? These advocates are easily found as they are often self-identified “fans” of your brand on social networks. These are the people with the highest propensity to buy your product or shop at your store. They are also likely to spend more money (up to 43% more) than a customer who is not a fan.

So, while longer store hours may provide more opportunities for customers to shop for great deals, it’s not a guarantee that they will arrive earlier or stay later. Working smarter instead of harder looks like this:

  • Utilizing social media reach – Communicate with your fans on Facebook and other social media with teasers on merchandise and sales leading up to Black Friday.
  • Offering fan-only exclusives like additional savings, free gifts with purchase, or allow them to make a purchase right on your fan page.
  • Promoting to non-fans – Use social ads and other available ad space to promote a specific deal. Require those who click to ‘like’ the page first, and now you have a fan to follow up with.
  • Leveraging your fan base – Require fans share the deal with friends in order to access it. This tactic exposes many more users to your offering through a more trusted source of information – their friends.

With up to 80% of marketing campaign reach now credited to social advocates who amplify it by sharing with friends, creating the type of content that compels sharing is imperative. A high-value, exclusive offer is exactly the kind of content that social media users are looking for. It’s something to talk about, it makes them feel appreciated (which drives loyalty), and it activates them in a way which results in additional sales.

Macy’s has a Facebook following of over 12 million fans, and is known for their use of Pinterest as a marketing vehicle as well. There’s tons of opportunity for them to win big on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They won’t be leveraging social media just for  this holiday, they’ll be working smarter to increase seasonal sales. Hopefully they are leveraging social media not just for engagement this year, but for actual, measurable sales. What are your plans to work smarter?