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I often get asked why did I get into couponing. To explain, first understand promotions whether it be discounts, sales, or coupons have always been an important tool for businesses to bring in customers. They are used to acquire new shoppers, clear end of season stock, introduce new products to the market, meet financial targets and for all other sorts of reasons

While in the USA, I was an avid online shopper and would often use coupons for my purchases. It became a natural part of my shopping behavior to look for coupons before making a purchase. The value proposition for sites that would aggregate offers into one place was clear; as a shopper, I was getting additional savings while the online store acquired a customer and increased their sales. And of course the aggregator would get a commission. It was such an elegant yet simple business model that I admired it instantly.

At CouponDunia, we’ve gone way beyond just aggregating coupons. Because of our large reach our partners give us offers that they otherwise likely would not have run whether it be for online shopping, dining out, or (coming soon) grocery and in-store retail purchases.

Sites like ours and even sites that only aggregate offers are a great platform for businesses to advertise and reach the right audience, i. e., people who have a high intent to make a purchase. The beauty of this form of marketing is that in most cases the business only pays once a transaction happens as opposed to other traditional channels where you are charged on a click or view.

Evolution of couponing in India

With the exception of Domino’s, couponing in India did not become a “thing” until the emergence of online shopping. In the offline world couponing works best with modern trade because distribution of coupons is much more cost-effective when dealing with large chains rather than individual small businesses.

But in the West where large chains dominate the retail landscape, coupons have been a major part of the shopping experience for decades. It’s a cultural phenomenon to the point there are even TV Shows around couponing. Later as online shopping emerged the coupon habit carried over to the Internet. 

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India is following a reverse pattern of the US. Since most of India’s offline retail was unorganised, couponing was introduced to the Indian customer first via organised online shopping. But a combination of forces is now driving couponing into the offline world: users having fallen in love with couponing, organized retail has grown, and offline business owners have seen how coupons have helped online retailers.

Plus having a smartphone in your pocket has allowed coupons to become hyperlocal increasing the likelihood of redemptions and even making it worthwhile for small individual business to offer coupons.

Trends

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As per industry analysis, India’s total retail market is expected to double to over $ 1 Tn by 2020 from $ 600 Bn in 2015. While the overall retail market is expected to grow at 12 per cent per annum, modern trade will grow twice as fast at 20 per cent per annum which means that the big brands you see in high streets and malls will experience an even faster rise

However, offline retail has lagged behind its online counterparts due to aggressive online pricing. In order to arrest this slide, brick-and-mortar retailers are paying closer attention to their pricing and focusing on how to provide value added services that are not possible in the online world. In regards to pricing, Big Bazaar even plans to soon launch an app that will allow you to walk into their store and price match with online offers. Others are experimenting with offering digital coupons or offers that are redeemable in-store.

In terms of customer preferences, the first quarter of 2015 has seen a tremendous growth in usage of mobile devices to access coupons. Mobile is and will continue to be the biggest thing in the near future as the entire gamut of ecommerce moves over to handheld. Myntra is already App-only. This is a trend that will continue to grow.

A few other interesting pieces of data are:

  1. Hottest category of  first quarter of 2015 is  – Recharge
  2. Maximum traffic of people saving money was from the triumvirate of – Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai (in that order)
  3. 85% shoppers looking for coupons are in the age group of 18-34 years.
  4. 75% are Male shoppers, 25% are Female Shoppers. This composition remains same as per last year with a marginal growth in female shoppers.
  5. Women in the age group of 25-34 use coupons more than any other female age group.

Future of Couponing

Couponing is here to stay. Users not only want coupons, they *expect* coupons for everything. It’s slowly changing from a bonus to a requirement for the new-age customer.

Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.