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Are Coupons Still Relevant in an Increasingly Digital World?

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Digital transformation is a critical initiative for retailers to maintain a competitive edge, forcing retailers to review and modernize their operations across all sales channels. Many “old school” strategies, or non-digital methods, are either being adapted to this new reality or being dropped entirely.

As consumer buying behaviors and expectations of brands shift, are coupons and promotions still as relevant to driving growth and customer loyalty as they once were? And if so, how can they be digitally transformed to meet the needs of the modern retail landscape?

Should Retailers Still Include Coupons and Promotions in Their Planning?

Do consumers want coupons? According to recent research from XCCommerce, the demand is absolutely still there. In a survey of more than 2,000 consumers, 72% of consumers stated that they want more promotions made available to them.

Not only are they in demand, but they are also a major factor in brand loyalty. The same survey showed that 69% of consumers said that promotions were the reason they bought from a certain brand, and 62% said they are loyal to the brands that offer such incentives.

If consumers still have a desire for coupons and promotions, why are some retailers not taking advantage of the impact they have on revenues, profitability and customer loyalty? What can retailers do to ensure promotions are a central element of their strategic marketing campaigns, delivering a key competitive advantage?

The Failures of Outdated Systems

The main culprit in this case is the usage of outdated and manual organizational systems to plan, execute and maintain promotions.

These outdated systems are put under even greater pressure and complexity when you consider the fact that in today’s omnichannel world, promotions are coming from a variety of channels. They are often created and managed by multiple departments for a variety of purposes within an organization, without much communication or regard for overlapping promotions.

These methods are extremely inefficient, with wasted time and money due to the manual efforts and unnecessary complexity, but can also often lead to lost customer loyalty. Consumers who aren’t able to use a promotion because of a system error are unlikely to consider their shopping experience as a positive one.

Rather than reducing or eliminating the use of promotions and forgoing all the growth, value and revenue that such strategies can deliver, retailers need to focus on modernizing how they approach them.

Technology Enabling Sophisticated Promotion Management Systems

The right promotion management solutions are designed to execute promotions across all of your channels — including online and brick-and-mortar — and can automatically resolve conflicts from overlapping promotions during the sale transaction based on the items that are in the basket. This allows retailers to effectively deliver on their strategic marketing initiatives by delivering promotions as they are designed, without hurting profit margins.

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Additionally, using a modernized promotion management solution allows retailers to dramatically reduce the effort and time they need to allocate for the management of their promotions across the entire enterprise; including all channels, languages, currencies and brands.

With the right solution in place, retailers can now execute the complex promotions that they may have been averse to before, and can do so from anywhere, including POS, mobile POS, kiosks and ecommerce to drive desired behavior, all while delivering on their marketing and financial objectives.


Dan Surtees is VP of Strategy and Business Development for XCCommerce, an industry leader in promotion management and execution helping the world’s foremost brands drive growth and customer loyalty. For 20 years, XCCommerce has delivered retailers an Omnichannel customer experience, with the power and speed to manage, execute and analyze complex promotional offerings across all sales channels.

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