ppod_citn-728x90
ppod_citn-320x100

Another printable coupon provider not named Coupons.com is calling it quits.

This time, it’s Hopster, the five-year-old site that once let you “boost” the value of your coupons, then just let you print from a selection of coupon offers, later tried branching out into the receipt-scanning space, and now appears to have run its course altogether.

Hopster first announced the news in an email to affiliates on Friday. “After extensive review of industry trends and coupon redemption patterns, we have decided to discontinue our print-at-home publication and distribution services due to steadily declining shopper usage,” the notice read. It will be a gradual wind down, so the Hopster website and Hopster coupons available on affiliate sites won’t go dark immediately. Instead, current offers will remain online until the end of this year, or until all prints are depleted, whichever comes first.

But that won’t mean much to many couponers who haven’t had much reason to visit Hopster at all lately. While the site offered well over a hundred coupons at its peak, there have been no more than a couple dozen offers in recent months, most of them for natural products you may never have heard of, or personal care products you didn’t know you needed.

Hopster launched in 2013, promoting itself as “a breakthrough in how brands identify, target and communicate with today’s shopper”. The concept involved offering a gallery of coupons with a base value that could be “boosted” by interacting with brands. For every brand you agreed to follow on social media, provide with your email address, or share with friends or family, you’d earn points that could be redeemed for higher-value coupons. So instead of just anonymously printing coupons, brands could learn more about you and stay in touch by tantalizing you with bigger discounts.

Inmar, which runs many retailers’ load-to-card digital coupon platforms, acquired Hopster about a year and a half later, promising “additional enhancements, leveraging Inmar’s capabilities”. “We look forward to introducing brands and retailers to the ‘next generation’ of coupon promotions,” Inmar CEO David Mounts said at the time.

Over time, the new owner ditched the boosting, and Hopster became more of a straightforward printable coupon site. The number of available offers slowly dwindled, and by earlier this year, Mounts seemed to publicly sour on the “next generation” of coupons.

336x280-CITN-3

“2017 Marks the Demise of Print-at-Home Coupons”, Inmar proclaimed in February, with Mounts telling Coupons in the News that the year just ended marked the moment that printable coupons “began to fade into the sunset” as more shoppers made the move to digital coupons.

Strong words, from someone whose company still owned and operated a printable coupon site. So it seemed only a matter of time before Hopster itself “faded into the sunset”.

“It’s no secret that the print-at-home coupon method is a dying tactic, and consumers are now favoring options that offer greater convenience and personalization,” Mounts said in a statement today. “Our move to exit the print-at-home market to focus on load-to-card tactics will significantly increase our support of clients’ targeted deployment of digital promotions across channels that activate shoppers and drive conversions.”

A third option that Inmar has been toying with, is transmogrifying Hopster from a printable coupon provider to a rebate app. “Hopster Rebates” was quietly test-launched in a super-secret beta test last year, then not-as-quietly promoted via paid influencers who sang its praises in blog posts and on social media, during which time Inmar declined to discuss it publicly with Coupons in the News or anyone else. The app worked much like other receipt-scanning apps, which have you buy a product, scan your receipt, and get cash back. Hopster Rebates’ main selling point was that you could get paid right away, instead of having to wait to build up a balance before cashing out.

It never really took off, though, and there are no longer any offers on Hopster Rebates. But while Inmar is ending Hopster’s printable offers, it appears that it’s not quite ready to give up on the idea of the rebate app. “The Hopster rebates app was built to allow Inmar and our brand clients the opportunity to test the mobile rebates space and better understand the type of shoppers who use these solutions,” Jess Walker, Inmar’s Senior Director of Product Management, told Coupons in the News. “We continue to work on creating seamless mobile experiences for shoppers to get rebates on everyday products in a way only Inmar can.”

There’s no real debate over the fact that more shoppers are going digital. And while paper coupons are still widely used, print-at-home coupons aren’t as popular as they once were, among brands, retailers or couponers. Even Coupons.com owner Quotient Technology has acknowledged that, as it shifts more resources into digital coupons from its legacy printable coupons, though the company hasn’t gone so far as to declare printable coupons dead and buried.

So the recent demise of upstart printable coupon sites like Hopster, SaveInStore and Savings.com’s printable coupon portal (which still exists, but barely) may have as much to do with an inability to compete with market leader Coupons.com as it does with the overall decline in printable coupons’ popularity.

That hasn’t stopped some from trying – like Grocery Coupon Network, the latest to enter the fray and offer unique printable coupons on its site. So if you’re still a fan of printable coupons, there are still several places to get them. By the end of this year, however, there will be one more site you’ll need to cross off your list.

One Comment

  1. Bonnie Slickerman says:

    It is frustrating that the most reliable means of acquiring coupons is quickly coming to an end. While couponers look to devices and uploaded coupons to ease their journey to the local market, the notion of failed offers seems to fly over everyone’s heads. In my experience, store app coupons almost never work at the register, and do not offer the option of multiple use. One coupon for one item. Nothing more, but often much less. Even Coupons.com’s submit a receipt option for a few stores frequently fails to pay users for their submission of a receipt. Stores such as CVS, Giant Eagle, Dollar General, and Family Dollar often leave trusting users frustrated and outright pissed off when coupons being offered don’t come off at checkout. The repeated excuses range from,”we can’t do anything on our end, it’s them not us”’ to, “ yes it took it off”, but upon inspection you find it wasn’t credited or the store charged you the regular price instead of the sale price. I personally believe that this is intentional and the assumption is that couponers with swallow the losses. I refuse to. If I don’t get a coupon credited, the items gets removed from my order. I’m not paying more than advertised or promised. Wake up people this is a prediction I made years ago when Ibotta, SavingStar, Checkout 51, and the rest of the dead grocery apps came out 4 years ago. At some point there will be nothing resembling a deal out there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Privacy Policy
Disclosure Policy