“A survey released by marketing firm, Prospectiv, in October 2005, found that a whopping 96 percent of respondents clip coupons and at least 62 percent do it on a weekly basis. More importantly, more than 50 percent redeem them!”
The “couponing” technique has always been a favourite for marketers when doing sampling or executing tactical sales promotions to end a sales period. On the web this technique has had its share of adoption though some fraud related execution issues keep bogging.
Fraud: This is particularly prevalent in an online-offline set-up i.e. where the redemption is conducted offline. E-coupons need to be printed and presented at the counter. There is no control on the number of prints taken of the same coupon. Same tactics include
- Putting a name: As used in e-ticketing, the name of the customer to whom the coupon has been issued is pasted and at the time of redemption suitable identification proof needs to be provided
- Putting a code number: An unique code number is generated for each and every coupon issued. At the time of redemption, the retailer inputs the code number into the system and cancels the same. The technique however has its cost implication. A centralized database carrying the code numbers needs to be set up and all the redemption counters have to be connected to it.
All in all, if the objective is to have maximum product offtake, then the issue of fraud is not really important. Of course, retailers can always create exclusivity clauses by linking the e-coupon to their customer loyalty programmes e.g. at the time of redemption, the coupon needs to be presented along with the customer’s loyalty club membership card.
“But before getting the scissors out, it wouldn’t hurt to phone the store or merchant to make sure it’s legit. There are those unsavory types out there who are spitting out bogus coupons.”
Bogus e-couponing is rampant. It is always wise to restrict e-couponing making it an exception rather than the norm. There also needs to be adequate coordination between marketing and the redemption/retail counters so that the genuine e-coupons are recognized and honoured at the stores.