First on Coupons in the News:
A few years ago, there were more than a hundred different printable store coupons available on Target’s website. Last year, there were a couple dozen. Late last month, there were ten.
And now there are none.
If you’ve been checking back and visiting coupons.target.com in the hopes that a new supply of store coupons will show up – don’t. Target is now confirming that it will no longer offer printable store coupons on the site at all.
“The online coupon portal will be dedicated solely to manufacturers’ coupons moving forward,” Target spokesperson Kristy Welker told Coupons in the News. “At Target, we are focused on simplifying and consolidating the ways our guests can save by providing Target-specific coupons via the Target channels that our guests are using most, including Target’s popular Cartwheel app, our Weekly Ad and coupon mailers.”
Target store coupons are particularly popular, since any savvy couponer knows they can be combined with manufacturer’s coupons for extra savings. So if you’re a fan, you can take some solace in the knowledge that store coupons won’t be going away altogether. They’ll just be available via other platforms, both new and old – all the better for Target to have more control over who gets what coupons, and how many.
Target wouldn’t say whether security concerns or anti-fraud efforts played any part in its decision to retire printable store coupons. That’s long been a concern, but not back in the innocent days when printables first debuted.
It was a dozen years ago when Target launched its first printable store coupons, back when the very concept of print-at-home coupons was relatively new, and print limits weren’t a big concern. There were no security features on these early printables – you could just print them exactly as they appeared on the screen, as many times as you wanted, to use in stores on as many items as you wanted to buy. There was nothing to stop you from saving them as PDF files, sharing them, photocopying them or – as some enterprising Target fans did – creating “Target coupon generators” that would print as many copies of a selected coupon as you’d like, at the touch of a button.
It took several years and several updates for Target store coupons to become more secure and less prone to overuse (or just plain fraud). In 2009, Target introduced new printing software that limited users to the by-then industry standard of two coupon prints per computer. In 2012, it limited the use of its store printables to one per person (which was later, thankfully, upped to four). And in 2013, Target store coupons began printing with unique ID codes, to discourage users from sharing or photocopying them.
But 2015 may have been the beginning of the end for printable Target store coupons. In July of that year, Target launched a new partnership with Coupons.com. Target’s printable coupon site, long dominated by store coupons, welcomed a flood of new printables mirroring those available on Coupons.com itself, and leaving Target store coupons kind of lost in the shuffle. Early the next year, Target also introduced digital manufacturer’s coupons from Coupons.com into its Cartwheel app.
And then the supply of printable Target coupons began to dwindle. Target couponers who once eagerly visited the printable coupon site every Sunday, the day when most new store coupons were released, often found themselves disappointed to find few or no new printable Target coupons available at all. There were fewer offers overall, less frequently updated, until they finally dwindled away to nothing this past week. Most that had been available expired at the end of January, and no new ones appeared to take their place. The ability to sort coupons by Target and manufacturer’s offers still exists at the top of the page, but you can click the “Target coupons” button as much as you want, and nothing will happen anymore.
The retirement of printable Target store coupons is bound to be disappointing to Target couponers, but at least they were available at all. Target had always been relatively unique among retailers in making so many store coupons available to print at home in the first place. Just look at how many printable store coupons are available from Walmart (none), Kroger (none) or most other major Target competitors. Target also offers stackable discounts through its Cartwheel app, digital and mobile coupons and frequent category coupons in its weekly ad. But as Target focuses on streamlining its various savings platforms, it appears that item-specific store coupons will now be limited to mobile offers, or paper coupons that are distributed in stores or mailed to you every so often.
That’s a particular disappointment for shoppers whose stores accept competitor’s coupons. No longer will there be plentiful Target store coupons to use somewhere else. The competitors themselves, meanwhile, will likely applaud the move. Some found themselves fooled at times by fake or photocopied Target store coupons. So eliminating the printables will eliminate that problem, at least.
Overall, as digital coupons gain in popularity, printable coupons are slowly falling out of favor. So now that printable Target store coupons are gone, could printable manufacturer’s coupons be next? Probably not imminently, as there’s still some life left in them. So if you’re not completely sold yet on going all digital, remember that printable Target coupons had a good 12-year run. One can only hope printable manufacturer’s coupons last at least that much longer.
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