Previous studies – and perhaps your own experience – tell us that coupons can make you feel good. But a new survey finds that if you feel good about a brand, then you don’t really need coupons to make you happy.

That insight comes courtesy of the marketing consultancy firm IMI’s “Fueling Brand Growth: The Performance of Feeling Good” survey. It found that what shoppers value most when choosing a brand to buy, is trust. Close behind, though, is a brand that makes them feel good – which beats out coupons or discounts.

77% of shoppers surveyed said they purchase a brand based on trust. 70% said it’s because the brand makes them feel good. And 66% said it’s because they had a coupon. So coupons might make you feel good, but, perhaps counterintuitively, feeling good is more important than coupons when it comes to driving purchases.

And brands take note – make a shopper feel good about your product, and you may not have to offer deals at all. While 69% of all shoppers say they tend to buy on quality and not price, fully 93% who prioritize brands that make them feel good, say the same. “If you make people feel good,” IMI advises, “this will drive sharing, talking about and recommendations – essential for brand growth.”

When asked which brands make them feel good, American shoppers cited Nike, Apple and Amazon most often. Retailers Walmart and Target made the top ten, as did beverage brands Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Other stores that earned “honorable mentions” include Costco, ALDI and Dollar General, while comfort-food brands like Doritos, Hershey, Chips Ahoy and Lays were among grocery product honorable mentions.


You might contrast this survey with other, similar ones that made the connection between coupons and emotions. A 2020 survey from the coupon browser extension Honey found that “deal discovery can boost emotions,” with 67% of respondents saying they feel better about making a purchase if they find a deal. About a third of those shoppers said getting a discount is about as pleasant to them as eating comfort food, of finding a ten-dollar bill in their pocket.

A decidedly more scientific study a few years earlier found that coupon users experience an increase in oxytocin, a hormone linked to love and happiness, and a decrease in the stress hormone adrenocorticotropin. “The study proves that not only are people who get a coupon happier, less stressed and experience less anxiety, but also that getting a coupon — as hard as it is to believe — is physically shown to be more enjoyable than getting a gift,” lead researcher Dr. Paul J. Zak of Claremont Graduate University said at the time.

But according to the shoppers in IMI’s survey, feeling good about a brand involves more than just getting a good deal. When asked what brands can do to make them feel good, quality and reliability topped the list, followed by good customer service, social responsibility and ethics, and then discounts and deals.

Other “write-in” votes included offering high-quality products, free trials, free shipping, and “offering a promotion where I can win $1 billion.”

There’s no denying that would make most shoppers feel good. For now, though, you’ll have to settle for quality, customer service and the occasional coupon – at least until some brand takes this shopper’s advice, and makes one lucky customer so rich, they never have to use a coupon again.

Image source: DealDrop.com


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