Saving with Coupons part 2

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Action Realty PARE # RS208307




Topic Summary: Online Coupons and Privacy Concerns

We are all accustomed to seeing the coupons in the Sunday paper. Now that the internet and mobile coupons are showing enormous growth, you need to be aware of the tracking technology behind them.

Paper coupons in the newspaper have been around for years, but there has been a resurgence in usage. Redemption of paper coupons sent into the home are up nearly 20%. At the same time, internet coupon usage is skyrocketing. Google searches for the terms "printable coupons" and "online printable coupons" grew 186% and 178% respectively during the year, while Yahoo said "coupons" ranked first on its list of economy-related search queries. Cell phone delivered coupons are also rapidly being accepted via bar code scanners.

Internet Coupons are the fastest-growing segment of the coupon industry - their usage increased to about 50 million coupons in 2010. Coupons that link Internet behavior with your in-store habits lets stores figure out the best promotions. That's why major companies are investing in new technology to track your behavior.

The Key: Individual Tracking. When you redeem a coupon in a mass-delivered publication such as a local newspaper, the store can track minimal data on the coupon: when redeemed, where, how many, etc. If there is a magazine or other standalone publication sent to you, each coupon has tracking technology built in to alert the retailer that YOU specifically cut out and used the coupon.

The most intrusive type of coupon is the internet coupon or printable/downloadable ones. Most companies that are marketing to you want to know a lot about you before during and after visiting a site and even printing a coupon. They can determine what competing sites you visited before printing the coupon, or after, what type of merchandise you are seeking and they also can profile you. 

When it comes to cell phone coupons, here is an updated article you should read.

The New York Times did a consumer story on exactly how technology can invade your privacy when net-couponing. The technology mentioned is so refined now that retailers can micro-target.

Example of Micro Targeting:  Micro Targeting is the ability for a retailer to send you a catalog that has different prices than the same catalog your neighbor gets. Retailers see it two ways: if you are always on their website getting coupons or printing coupons from partner sites, they feel you are an engaged customer. Sometimes, you will get a catalog with lower pricing to increase the number of items you buy. Other times, you will get a catalog with higher prices (than your neighbor) because the retailer feels you are hooked on their brand. So... "buyer beware" holds out even in the internet age.

Best-In-Class Coupon Sites

(Grocery- Wal-Mart)

Locally Relevant Sites










complements of homeactions


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John Handschuh

Realtor ABR SRES, Horsham Real Estate
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