Coupons are going back to where they originated: supermarkets.
While the revamped LivingSocial and the new Google Offers are edging up on Groupon’s dominance, traditional coupon outlets aren’t giving up without a fight. Valpack’s 3-d mobile app has already begun “bringing sexy back” to the notoriously unglamorous act of coupon clipping. And now a well-known checkout coupon company, Catalina Marketing Corporation, has caught the online discount bug, launching a new site called CouponNetwork.com. With coupons ranging from Fisher Price to Frosted Flakes, there’s no doubt you’ll find a discount for something on your shopping list.
Using the e-commerce model, customers can add as many coupons as they like to their carts before printing. And there’s YourBucks, which offers dollars-off rewards you can use like cash at your favorite stores (you can program those in when you set up your profile).
This is a smart move for what was a dying breed — the number of people who actually cut coupons is shrinking like the Aral Sea — especially since there’s money to be had in online coupons. As the Times reports: “Although online coupons account for only 1 percent of all coupons distributed, they account for about 10 percent of all coupons redeemed.”
Still, while print-your-own coupons is clever, it has a few downsides, the biggest being that you need access to a printer (plus the foresight to remember to bring your stack of printed coupons with you to the store). As far as convenience, mobile coupons are a clear winner in this regard (remember Stickybits?).