Coupons – how not to lose money for your business

It’s possible that you’ve been visited by a disciple of TLC’s Extreme Couponing – a cable television show that educates viewers about getting cartloads of goods for pennies on the dollar. To protect themselves from losses, some of the country’s major food and drug retailers are changing their policies. Perhaps it’s time for small business owners to revisit their couponing policies.

You don’t necessarily want to encourage these people to shop with you as they aren’t the people who are going to make your business. To build as big a wall as possible between you and potential extreme couponing losses, check out a few simple policy changes you can implement today.

No buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO) deals with other promotions. The cartfuls of free merchandise extreme coupon users score are often the result of BOGO promotions combined with BOGO coupons. By disallowing such combined promotions, you eliminate that risk.

Cut the copycats. Limiting the number of identical coupons–perhaps two or four–per purchase or per customer can eliminate buyers walking off with all your inventory for free or at a deeply reduced. If your point-of-sale system can track it, you may also consider limiting the number of identical coupons customers can use over a specific time period, such as no more than four in a month.

Accept others’ coupons cautiously. If you accept other retailers’ coupons, be sure that you apply your own limits to them to avoid paying for the mistakes of your competitors. Also, pay attention to expiration dates and other limitations.

Post policies clearly. Whether you’re making changes to your policies or you’re simply making them public for the first time, post all coupon policies close to your register so customers are aware that extreme couponing practices are not welcome in your store.

Don’t allow “coupon bullies.” Some hard-core coupon users can be aggressive about getting what they want. This can be a drain on your staff, and may require your intervention. Sometimes you may have a situation where someone is in line screaming that they want 50 of this for the price of one. Think about what that does to your employee. It ruins them for the rest of the day. Set your policies and back up your employees when they enforce them and you shouldn’t have a problem.

Remember, the next time you want to offer your customers a discount or coupon, let our Personal Marketing Consultant help you create and send a complete direct mail piece.  Get a FREE consult today.