Hidden Treasure Found – Online Coupons

I recently read an article from comscore that web coupons are almost off the radar given that only 0.4% of all coupons were distributed via websites versus 88% through newspapers in 2008 based on data from NCH Marketing. When was the last time you clipped a coupon from a newspaper? Given that less than 1% of those coupons distributed were actually redeemed seems to indicate there has got to be a better way to get promotions in front of the right people.

Many customers who shop online already look for deals when shopping especially with the current economic conditions across the world. Another interesting piece from the comscore article is that coupon consumption growth increased with income in 2008. Even the middle to upper class are turning to coupons although it may be for more expensive brands or products. A great way to appeal to deal seekers is to advertise coupons on third party sites that already get high volume traffic for coupons.

Here is a chart showing the 2008 trend in Google for five of the top coupon sites:

For convenience here is a link to each site so you can immediately get started promoting your coupons:

retailmenot.com – one of the largest coupon sites out there.
coolsavings.com – More US traffic than fatwallet.com
fatwallet.com – More global traffic than coolsavings.com
couponcabin.com – smaller but still popular coupon site
dealcatcher.com – similar in size to couponcabin.com

You may not have any coupons currently; if so then now is a good time to come up with some coupon ideas. One great coupon to put up that is easy to do and requires no actual coupon code is a clearance items coupon that is valid anytime and links to the clearance section on your site. If you don’t have a clearance section consider making a new category and assign products that are on sale to it; then use the URL of the sale section on the coupon sites.

Many online stores today started as traditional retail stores in a local community, recognized the opportunity of selling on the internet and built a website for their online presence to complement the retail store. If you have physical stores then consider putting a printable coupon on your website and promote that coupon through the various coupon websites. You can also offer a separate coupon for online purchase and another coupon for the clearance/sale items.

Live.com, Microsoft’s search engine, gets significantly more traffic than all five coupon sites above combined. You can achieve the equivalent of a coupon on Live.com via the Cash back program where you only incur a cost if a sale is made. Miva Merchant has partnered with Microsoft to make it easy for store owners to promote their products through the Live Search cashback program so that should definitely be a consideration for your marketing efforts in 2009.

Update: The Microsoft cashback program has been discontinued.

What results have you gotten by using a third party site to promote your coupons? Did you use any of the sites listed above or others? Please share your experience by leaving a comment.