Have you checked your store’s coupon policies in the last month? Things might just be changing in your local stores!
Over the last year, 65% of national store chains updated their coupon policies at least once…and over the last six months, approximately 40% of those redid them again. What does this mean to you? Well, if you haven’t checked your stores policies recently, you might be missing some great deals!
Many stores that did not accept manufacturer’s coupons now do. Many now accept internet printables (printed from your home computer for redemption in stores). Stores that did not double coupons may be “test marketing” by offering four clip-n-save doubling coupons in their weekly flyer, or offering doubles, even triples, for one day a week.
The economy, of course, is responsible for many of these changes. A year ago business was booming for most retailers, and competition for saavy shoppers was modest, or even discouraged. Really, who wanted to attract super savers when they could attract busy shoppers who needed to grab and go, no matter the cost? Times change, and so do shoppers.
Today’s shopper is still in a hurry, but many more need to stretch their dollars as far as possible. Fewer are dropping items into their shopping cart without at least checking the price, or comparing it. And more people are skimming through those sales circulars during the week.
In response, stores are offering many more “loss leaders” – those super low priced items that bring deal seekers in the door. Quantities are often limited, and the stores have banked, literally, on shoppers making up the difference on other, pricier items.
That’s just not enough for many shoppers in the current economy. Shoppers aren’t necessarily looking for a great price on a single item, but to bring their total price at the register down. That requires not just sale prices, but competitive coupon policies.
A few examples from local stores:
· Wegman’s previously would not accept any internet printed coupons due to the potential for fraud. They now accept internet coupons, with the exception of coupons for FREE products (which have the highest rate of fraud). They also double the value of coupons up to 50 cents, with no limits.
· Several years ago, Superfresh changed their double coupon policy to allow only four coupons to be doubled, and only up to a value of 50 cents. About a year ago, they began test marketing allowing coupons to be doubled up to a face value of 99 cents (doubled value of $1.98), for a few days at a few stores. Sales went up, and Superfresh now doubles coupons up to 99c as the “everyday” policy. In addition, they periodically add TRIPLE coupons, typically at the end of the month when budgets are tight.
· Acme/Albertson’s previously offered a “rolling” double, where coupons up to 50 cents were doubled to one dollar, and coupons valued between 51 and 99 cents were “rolled” to a total value of $1 off. Acme has recently updated their policy to provide unlimited double coupons up to 99 cents ($1.98 discount), and the unlimited means that whether you have one item and coupon, or 20 items and coupons, they can be doubled. Acme also added a “competitive incentive” within the last month: you can exchange your Superfresh Club Card for an Acme card and receive a $5 coupon off your next Acme purchase.
· Safeway has responded within the last month: the old “double coupons up to 50 cents” policy has been updated to unlimited doubles up to 99c.
· Giant stores have tested a “clip-n-save $1 double coupons” policy in their local flyers. Some restrictions apply, but it’s a start.
· Shoppers has test marketed a periodic double up to $1 and triple up to 50c event, which has been run approximately once a month.
· Weis has offered some clip-n-save triples up to 50 cents.
· Kleins, which did not double coupons, was recently merged into ShopRite, and as of Sunday offers “Double Coupons”.
If you haven’t checked your local stores policies recently, you might be pleasantly surprised. Or there might be good things coming soon. You can check policies by asking at the customer service desk, or calling your local store.