How Retailers Benefit From Coupon Laden Customers

During the past several years that I’ve been couponing, I’ve encountered many different “attitudes” from store clerks to store managers regarding the coupons I bring in. There are the stores and clerks who clearly recognize that couponing is a regular thing for customers and take the coupons with no problem, while other clerks act like we’re robbing the store by using our coupons. Other times a manager is called over to the checkout lane to verify if a certain coupon can be used or not, and it’s then up to the manager to give the ok, or deny the use of the coupon.  Sometimes coupons are denied that were perfectly fine to use the previous week.  This is frustrating for both customers and cashiers.

While many retailers and cashiers seem to “get it”, there are others who need to understand that the use of coupons by their customers is a win/win for the store AND for the customer. Consider the following points.

  • Manufacturers promote coupons in order to gain new customers for a particular product, or to increase sales by encouraging customers to buy additional products through the use of $x/2 or B1G1 coupons.  This also helps the stores to turn over their merchandise much more quickly.
  • Manufacturers PAY retailers for accepting and handling their coupons. Retailers are reimbursed for the face value of the coupon PLUS 8 cents each as a handling fee. For a grocery store that is coupon friendly and receives many coupons, the handling fees represent a nice extra profit, especially for an industry that traditionally has low profit margins.
  • Most major retail establishments, including grocery stores, drug stores and department stores, send out weekly sales flyers or place them in the local newspaper. Given the current state of the economy it just makes good fiscal sense to scour those ads for the best deals.  Savvy shoppers look for ways to match those sales with coupons to get even better deals and the stores benefit by bringing in customers who may not have shopped in their store otherwise.  Matching the store’s deals with manufacturer coupons brings additional sales and new customers into the store.

Each chain has its own coupon policy and it is primarily up to the individual store managers to interpret the policies. I’ve heard of cusomers that usually shop at certain stores, like Safeway or Publix or Winn Dixie, etc, but will BYPASS the closest one and drive further away to the store that will allow them to use their coupons and not make them feel like they’re “stealing” from the store. I personally pass by a drugstore that is nearest my home to shop at a different one from the same chain because that location encourages my use of coupons while the one closest to me treats me like a second class citizen when I pull my coupons out.  Wouldn’t you say in this case that the “neighborhood” store is the loser because  couponing customers will simply take their business elsewhere?

As more store managers come to understand that the coupon laden customer is really a VALUED customer, and arm their cashiers with this knowledge as well, the stores that welcome couponers will actually be the big winners, as will the customers who are allowed to use their coupons in a friendly atmosphere.

About the author:  This post was written by Sarah J. Doyle, an avid couponer who enjoys saving everywhere she can, so she can spend more on her grandkids!

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Comments

  1. I completely agree with all of your points, Sarah.

    I recently spoke with a higher level manager for WalMart about couponing. He said that the people at his level LOVE coupons and couponers. He said that on a $1 coupon, the handling fee equates to an 8% extra profit. In their world of low margings, that’s HUGE. On a $0.50 coupon, it’s a 16% increase in profit!

    He agrees that it’s difficult to educate their staff on this while balancing their responsibilities as an agent of the manufacturers, making sure coupons are being use appropriately.

    Hopefully with the new barcodes, stores will have to spend less time training on the policing and will be able to spend more time training on the benefits.

    -K

    P.S. I also drive to the second-closest store for most of my grocery and drug store trips.

    The nearest drug store is the lair of my arch-nemesis.

    The closest grocery store isn’t “bad,” it’s just that the staff at the second store has an amazing understanding of real customer service. Well worth the drive.

  2. Tina Latham says:

    I find cashiers are more willing to accept/force coupons, when I am respectful of their time. I also asK “Would you like me to place coupons with the items or wait until the end?” Each person likes them one way or the other. Also, I try to place all coupon items at the end, in case they need to look at the item, it’s easier to look at computer than hunt in bags.

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