Coupons are undoubtedly a shopping enthusiast's greatest gift. A coupon is an offer of a discount on goods or services, making the customer save quite an amount of money. Internet placement of coupons came about when global retailers such as Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba started websites and established internet domains. Shoppers and consumers could hence order products online from trusted sites and get deliveries to their doorsteps at a small fee. Soon, it became apparent that people liked an element of saving up. The retailers introduced tags on their products, "free delivery" and "free shipping" became a famous slogan (Vyse, 2018). After that, websites such as Coupon Mountain, Frugal Shopper, and Red Flag deals came around to offer customers a more natural and more user-friendly selection of coupons from favorite retail stores such as eBay and Deal Man. These websites browse online retail stores, collects and arranges coupons for products in a way that is easy for the customer to consider and choose the desired items.
Coupon websites require one to register with them to become a regular customer, client or subscriber. Registration only requires the provision of an optional username on the homepage of the website and a valid email address. Other additional details that are necessary once one has subscribed are a personal phone number, credit card information, residential address and other personal information. Some websites are free to register; others are free for a time usually one month, while some require a "small subscription fee" but these are less popular. The website RetailMeNot requires one to register either with Facebook or using an email and a password. The registration page on the website informs one that registration is free; the text is written: "Create Free Account" ("RetailMeNot," 2018). According to Mathews et al., (2018) with enticements labeled "free," people are more likely to be persuaded to register and even buy.
Registration costs nothing hence I would not hesitate to subscribe because I have nothing to lose. It puts me in a position to gain by getting emails about free coupons which will save me money. People who like to do their shopping online will find this a bargain. Instead of browsing through product catalogs on retailers and coupon deals' websites, I can quickly get an email informing me that I have won a thirty-five percent discount coupon for a hoverboard I have been planning to buy for weeks. I immediately accept the coupon offer, pay up and get free delivery. Also, most of these websites operate on a "first pay, first serve" basis hence getting subscribed would give me the advantage.
These coupon websites are usually well laid out. They use drop-down menus to showcase a variety of products on display (Hu & Winer, 2017). There are icons such as a "cart" to denote the shopping list or $ to show where to pay. Most of these websites are user-friendly. There is not much they can do to improve customer experience. For example, at RetailMeNot website there is a form titled "Explore." When one clicks on it, there is a drop-down menu showing among other things, forms for "Top Stories", "Printable Coupons," "Online Codes" and so on. Browsing through these options from the drop-down menus, one realizes that there is more to these websites than just getting a chance to win coupons. It turns out that if you share the code for a coupon that the site did not have, you become more eligible for getting rewards or more specifically free tickets. Perhaps the only way that RetailMeNot can improve on its website is offering comparisons of coupons for similar products from different stores. That would make it easy for customers to pick the cheapest. However, I understand that according to Jiang et al., (2018) their business acumen requires they keep this information privileged to enjoy favorable and profitable relations with all the stores.
Having browsed coupon deals sites such as The Frugal Shopper and Saving U Money, besides RetailMeNot, I noticed that all these sites use the same marketing tactics to reign in potential customers. First, the promotional offers feature big shiny letters. The "30% off" and other writing for discounts appear in texts that are much bigger and more visually appealing than the coupon products themselves (Beurer-Zuellig & Seiler, 2017). This marketing gimmick worked even for me. The more the percentage, the more I become interested, and the more I am likely to buy a product available on a coupon. That notwithstanding, later, after I have acquired the product and I have it in my ownership I may then realize that I did not need it as much as I thought, that I only purchased it because it was too cheap for me to let it be. Indeed these coupon websites have made me become more price conscious about commodities I buy on the internet. Now I am looking for the highest quality of products at the cheapest cost possible. Price of commodity determines my consideration for opportunity cost especially when coupons are involved.
Beurer-Zuellig, B., & Seiler, R. (2017, January). Deal or No Deal?-Assessing the Daily Deal Shopper. In Proceedings of the 50th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.
Hu, M. M., & Winer, R. S. (2017). The "tipping point" feature of social coupons: An empirical investigation. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 34(1), 120-136.
Jiang, Y., Liu, Y., Wang, H., Shang, J., & Ding, S. (2018). Online pricing with bundling and coupon discounts. International Journal of Production Research, 56(5), 1773-1788.
Mathews, S., Bianchi, C., Perks, K. J., Healy, M., & Wickramasekera, R. (2016). Internet marketing capabilities and international market growth. International Business Review, 25(4), 820-830.
Vyse, S. (2018). The Environment and Consumer Behavior. In Environmental Psychology and Human Well-Being (pp. 193-220). Academic Press.
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