Consumers ‘Always Connected’ along Path to Purchase
By Jack Grant
Because consumers are “always connected,” marketers can influence them with coupons before, during and after shopping. That’s the key takeaway provided by Valassis, a provider of intelligent media delivery, in its annual 2K17 Coupon Intelligence Report.
Derived from an online survey of 1,000 consumers and focusing on shopping behavior for traditional consumer packaged goods (CPG) categories, the findings provide detailed insights into how print, mobile and digital coupons and discounts impact shoppers before, during and after the point of purchase.
Results indicate that today’s consumers are “always connected” and becoming increasingly adept at incorporating both print and digital coupons as they plan their shopping activities.
Overall, the study found that coupon use is holding steady with 90 percent of consumers obtaining them from a variety of online and offline sources. This finding is consistent across audiences, including various generations and demographic segments, such as millennials, multicultural consumers and parents.
Among coupon users, approximately 30 percent have increased their use of paper coupons (either from the mail or newspaper coupon book) and 36 percent have increased their use of paperless discounts (discounts received on a smartphone/mobile device and/or downloaded onto a store ID/loyalty card), further supporting coupon use from a multitude of sources.
When asked about their habits along the path to purchase, most consumers create a list prior to shopping and 84 percent use coupons during this process. Since more than 45 percent of consumers make CPG purchase decisions at home before their shopping trip, Valassis said it is important for brands to reach them early in the planning stage. However, there is still significant opportunity to impact buyer behavior in store, with 86 percent of shoppers making a purchase based on a discount in the store.
The study also reveals that the buying process does not end with a purchase. More than half of consumers (53 percent) scan receipts with a mobile device to receive cash back and/or points, providing a ripe opportunity to increase brand loyalty post-purchase.
“It is important for marketers to understand that the shopper journey is not defined at one specific point – the consumer can be influenced before, during and after the point of purchase,” said Curtis Tingle, chief marketing officer, Valassis. “Our research indicates that there is an opportunity for brands to influence how shoppers plan, where they shop and the products they buy – which can be achieved by dynamically targeting the right audiences with a strategic combination of print and digital incentives.”
Additional key findings from the report include:
- Preferred sources of coupons and discounts: Mail ranks as the most preferred way to obtain coupons with 44 percent of consumers preferring this channel. Smartphones/mobile devices recorded the greatest increase with 32 percent of consumers preferring this method versus 24 percent in 2016.
- Brand loyal shoppers can be persuaded: If the right deal presents itself, 79 percent of brand loyal consumers (self-defined) are influenced to buy a brand they wouldn’t typically have purchased due to coupon influence.
- Millennials are increasingly using coupons: 94 percent of millennials are using coupons, versus 88 percent in 2016 — the only generation showing growth year over year.
- Brands and marketers can influence consumers during multiple stages of their path to purchase: At Home (82 percent of consumers switch stores to take advantage of weekly specials and 67 percent decide which store to shop based on where they can use paperless discounts received via mobile devices); In Store (81 percent of shoppers search for deals via in-store circulars while shopping and 51 percent make a purchase based on a mobile notification received in store); After Purchase (there is a tremendous social currency post-purchase; among mobile coupon users, 79 percent share brand reviews, along with information about product savings, with family and friends following a purchase).
The study was fielded in the third quarter of 2016 in conjunction with a global, third-party market research firm with proficiency in internet surveys. The sample was derived from an online consumer opinion panel and all participants were at least 18 years of age and living in the contiguous United States. Consumers were emailed an invitation to participate in the survey and were given three days to complete it. The survey was closed once 1,000 completed responses had been reached. The responses were weighted by factors obtained from national census data to provide appropriate representations of demographic groups at summary levels.