Why do companies put out coupons for products that I can’t ever find in stores? I’m getting more and more frustrated hanging on to coupons and looking for new things, only to find the coupons expire before I ever find the item to purchase it. What a waste of marketing dollars it seems.
I recently had a coupon for a new dairy product that looked good. I cut it out and took it to the store but I could never find this product at the store. The coupon expired at the end of the month. What’s the point of having the coupon? Now I won’t buy that product even if I do get another coupon for it!
I’ve experienced the same thing as these readers, and it’s frustrating. Statistically speaking, heavy coupon enthusiasts (yes, that’s what Nielsen research calls us!) are among the first consumers to try new products that hit the market. Coupons certainly play a part in that – they’re a great way to put information about a new product right in consumers’ hands – often with a high-value offer, too.
Last month, I saw a new brand of bath tissue made from bamboo. I liked their ad and thought I’d try it, especially since there was a $1 coupon in the newspaper. The ad in the newspaper inserts even featured the logo of one of my local stores. So, I watched the store’s ads, and I took a walk down the paper products aisle each time I went to the store … and this brand of toilet paper never showed up. I kept my coupons for one month, and they expired before I had a chance to use them.
Next month, guess what product hit the store shelves? The bamboo-based toilet paper. I’ve often wondered if this isn’t a stealthy marketing tactic: Release an ad campaign and a coupon for a new product to pique consumers’ curiosity and encourage them to look for the product in stores. Raise awareness of your product and brand without actually having to pay reimbursement for coupons.
I’ve never had a single marketer actually confirm my conspiracy theory though. Most likely, what actually happens is that the marketing department schedules a coupon campaign for the time period that they expect the product to hit stores. Then, if there are delays bringing the product to market on time, a situation like the one I found myself in with the new bath tissue can happen.
I’m also carrying around two free-product coupons in my coupon wallet that I’d love to use – both for products that have been on the market for a while – yet I can’t use these either. Why? The stores in my area have stopped carrying them! I picked both of these up through online promotions. One coupon is for a variety of canned beans, and the other is for a prepackaged lunchmeat. And, as they’re coupons for entirely free products, I’d like to use them – who wouldn’t? I’ve seen both of these products at my local supermarket in the past, but once I had coupons in hand for them, it seemed like they disappeared from the shelves.
My store’s staff explained that products that don’t sell well often are removed from the store’s inventory. This was the case with my canned beans and packaged lunchmeat. The store dropped these items due to low sales. Perhaps the low sales numbers were also what prompted these companies to issue such high-value, free-product coupons in their promotions too in an attempt to boost sales. In the end, my store offered to special-order these items for me so my coupons wouldn’t go to waste.
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Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.