The Lowly Coupon: Hot Potato, Reminder, Offer and Contract
Right now, the practice appeals only to about 12 percent of the 175 million Internet users in the United States, according to comScore Media Metrix. The rest are apparently happy getting coupons in their Sunday paper, where they can flip through them in seconds.
Web couponing may be convenient and cheap for marketers, but they won’t move anywhere near the amount of merchandise that paper coupons or certificates will.
The same is true for upmarket items—clothes, appliances, automobiles … just about anything you can name. For example, I have a dreadful body—fat neck, tire around my middle, short arms and short legs. I have tried Macy’s and Joseph A. Bank, but I have found their fitters and tailors to be poor. I recently sent a perfectly good pair of gray flannel trousers from Joseph A. Bank to Goodwill Industries, seldom worn because they were so horrendously uncomfortable.
The best men’s store in Philadelphia is Boyd’s—great clothing that is altered to make me look almost respectable and feel comfortable. I always wait to receive a flier in the mail from Boyd’s offering $50 and $100 discounts on clothes and accessories.
These are “hot potatoes” that force me to (1) think about my wardrobe and (2) make a decision. I can buy a suit and save $100, which means two nice lunches at Delaware Park Racetrack for my wife, Peggy, and me (not counting wagers). I would be nuts to buy retail.
If Boyd’s decided to cut out its direct mail and rely on newspaper or broadcast advertising, probably three-quarters of its customers would miss the ad and miss the sale.