In marketing, a coupon is a ticket or document that can be exchanged for a financial discount or rebate when purchasing a product. The documents are issued by manufacturers or by retailers to be used in retail stores as a part of sales promotions. In addition to financial discounts, many retailers offer vouchers that are redeemable for free products, free shipping or discounted shipping, free memberships, and for many other reasons. The purpose of a coupon is to get a person to take some sort of buying action, either to purchase a product, register their name and address, visit a store, etc.
Online coupons are designed specifically for purchasing goods or services on the internet. They are usually not redeemable in stores, but some retailers do offer the option of redeeming them in stores. These are typically referred to as “printable coupons”.
Retailers also offer online coupons codes to encourage customers to use the internet for purchases because the internet is typically a lower cost delivery channel for a retailer (meaning it costs less for them to see you a product or service online than it does in a retail store).
To redeem a coupon at a retail store, it is usually required that you print the actual document or voucher and bring it to the retailer for verification. For online purchases, it is usually only necessary to enter the promotion code in the appropriate box during checkout. In some cases, a particular promotion code or keyword can be mentioned when placing a telephone call to a retailer. Some websites have the code embedded within the link to the retailer, so you don’t have to type a redemption code during checkout. If you see advertisements for vouchers of this nature, be sure to check that you received the appropriate discount during checkout.
Validity / Expiration
It is important to note that not all advertisements or special codes will be valid. Retailers usually offer discounts for a limited time or related to a specific promotion. Some websites include feedback from users regarding the validity of particular codes, so you’ll have some idea of the likelihood that it will be valid. If you are printing a physical copy of a ticket, remember to check the expiration date.
Online Coupon Websites
There are a number of coupon database websites that provide free coupons that can be printed and redeemed in person a retail store. Also, the online websites often provide promotional codes, that can be used when purchasing items online. Many of the best online websites allow you to search by category or even by a specific retail store.
- Coupons.com – Provides free printable advertisements, grocery, recipe and internet certificates for thousands of products.
- CouponGirl – Website that provides promotional ads that can be redeemed online at thousands of retailers
- Coupon Cabin – Offers a large selection of test and guaranteed vouchers to help you get the discounted products you’re looking for. Coupon Cabin has been recognized and recommended by the media as a quality site by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Good Morning America, and even Oprah.
- Coupon Mom – Cut your grocery bill in half with grocery deals by state, drugstore deals, restaurant discounts and more.
- Groupon – Groupon features a daily deal on the best stuff to do, see, eat, and buy. Groupon came on the scene as the “next big thing” especially in regard to daily deals, but has declined somewhat with new entrants into the daily deals space. Groupon faces tough competition from LivingSocial (see below) and more recently from the online retail giant, Amazon.com.
- LivingSocial – LivingSocial offers the best daily deals on handpicked experiences that can be shared with friends. Our mission is to add surprise to every calendar. So we dig deep, pursuing both the things that define a place and the undiscovered jewels. We design total experiences that bring an adventurous, loyal new following to local businesses. Innovation and imagination have made LivingSocial the fastest-growing company in the social-buying category. We satisfy cravings for the new and different at significant savings. LivingSocial means living with real connection. We shape social lives.
- Lozo – Easy to use website with over $500 in grocery advertisements. Browse the site and print the certificates you need, or simply fill out your grocery list and let the discounts come to you.
- MyCoupons.com – One of the oldest couponing sites on the internet. Great site for coupon codes, printable grocery vouchers and discount shopping.
- P&G Coupons – Proctor & Gamble’s online store is full of discounts and certificates for products that you order every day. Find discount coupons on such brands as: Olay, Gillette, Crest, Pampers, Duracell, and Tide.
- RetailMeNot – Find codes and discounts for 10000 online stores! RetailMeNot.com. Find and share coupon codes and promo codes for great discounts at thousands of online stores.
- Ultimate Coupons – This couponing website helps online shoppers save money using free coupons and coupon codes, sales and special deals, comparison shopping, and other methods. One thing that sets them apart from other sites is their employees hand-test the voucher to make sure they work. There is nothing more frustrating than an ad that doesn’t work.
- Valpak.com – You may recognize ValPak from the marketing mailers you receive in your mailbox each week. Valpak.com is one of the largest local savings site on the Web with money-saving deals you can print for free.