NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Coupon clipping has undergone a renaissance in recent years, with online coupons leading the way, but as one new study shows, digital coupons continue to be a mixed bag for businesses.
On the one hand, digital coupons have proved to be particularly effective at bringing in new customers: According to a study from Knowledge Networks, nearly half of all consumers who redeem digital coupons had never purchased a product from the company before, whereas a third of those who redeemed print coupons were new customers.
That new customer base is certainly crucial to any business’s marketing plan, but despite this, the study, based on loyalty card data from more than 2 million shoppers, found that coupons still provide a significantly lower return on investment for businesses.
The reason for this, according to the study, is that the cost of placing coupons in print is at an all-time low, as the demand has shifted more toward digital platforms. As a result, companies must spend comparatively more money to launch a digital promotional campaign, thereby making the average return on investment for digital coupons 18% lower than the print variety.
To complicate matters more, the study shows that even as the prevalence of print coupons has declined in recent years, certain key audiences like older Americans and wealthy families continue to use them more often than digital coupons, while others like large families rely on both types of coupons in nearly equal measure.
So even if digital coupons are the future, the study notes that the best policy for many businesses may be to apply a combination of the two to appeal to the widest range of consumers.