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Prices are higher, and discounts are fewer. Shoppers are cutting back instead of cutting coupons. And brands are at risk of losing customers to lower-priced alternatives if they don’t start offering more deals.

Those are the takeaways from a new survey of shoppers who say they’re becoming more optimistic about their financial future – but would feel a lot better if there were more coupons and discounts available from their favorite brands.

Inflation is “forcing consumers to change their shopping habits — even cutting back on essential items — to make ends meet,” Vericast’s 2023 Trendwatch report reads. And groceries are the top everyday category in which they’re cutting back. Nearly half of all shoppers said they’re looking to cut their spending on groceries in the next six months. 45% will cut back on eating out, and about a third will try to cut back on gas, clothing and treats.

So when it comes to the groceries they do plan to buy, price is paramount. Two-thirds of all shoppers agree that “with the current economy, coupons and discounts are more important than ever.” And nearly as many said that “rising prices are causing me to be less brand loyal.”

That led Vericast to conclude that “we are in the midst of a loyalty crisis.” Brand-loyal shoppers simply aren’t as brand loyal anymore. If shoppers can get a competing product for less – or can just do without – many of them will.

So what’s the solution? Why, coupons, of course!

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As a coupon provider and processor, Vericast has a vested interest in seeing more coupons being made available. So its report goes all out in trying to persuade brands to offer more of them. “Coupons are proven to quickly boost sales, provide a better shopping experience,” and they “provide the savings and discounts consumers desperately need.” By offering more of them, brands can “emphasize the positive energy, feeling of community, and warm appreciation that coupons infuse into consumers.”

You might never have realized that coupons had that much power to engage the emotions of consumers. But Vericast’s survey found that shoppers do have emotional reactions to coupons. 42% said they feel “brand positivity” toward stores or companies that offer them coupons. 41% are likely to be repeat customers, and 40% feel greater satisfaction with their purchases. All of those percentages are higher than they were the last time shoppers were asked the same question this time last year.

“Taking the pulse of consumers is a key function for marketers seeking to appeal to their target audiences,” Vericast’s report advised. Some brands are cutting back on coupons and promotions and trying to offer feel-good marketing messages instead. But many shoppers don’t want to hear it. When hearing from a brand, half of shoppers surveyed want to hear how they can save money. Four out of five want to be rewarded for their loyalty, with a similar number wanting the brand to help them save time or make their lives easier. Far down the priority list is messaging from brands that highlight their political or social beliefs, or diversity and inclusion efforts.

“Who could blame consumers for being stressed, cautious, emotionally fragile, and easily triggered these days?” Vericast asked. Shoppers want savings, not platitudes – and brands ought to heed that warning to “avoid getting cancelled.”

All told, shoppers aren’t bracing for the worst, so much as they are focused on financial goals that will “provide more freedom and peace of mind.” Shoppers’ top three financial goals for this year are increasing savings, cutting costs and paying down debt.

“Being caught in a seemingly never-ending downward spiral isn’t easy,” Vericast concluded. “But most consumers are proving upbeat and resilient in the face of a looming recession and continuing inflation.” So that’s reason enough for marketers to be encouraged. Potentially-loyal customers are out there, but shoppers aren’t giving up looking for savings. So brands that don’t want to get “cancelled” shouldn’t give up providing those savings, either.

Image source: cpyles

One Comment

  1. It would also be wonderful if food items not just meds and cleaning were offered. I’m tired of looking at coupons in the paper and no food items. I have plenty of cleaning products its food I need.

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