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The Evolution & History Of Couponing

Nov 26, 2018

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A guest post from Cuponation. From time to time, our partners and clients submit posts to our site for publication. We are pleased to publish a range of these opinions, which reflect the POVs of the author(s).


The world of couponing has a wider span and a more complex history than we often realise. From cutting out coupons in the newspaper, to today’s intuitive online coupons, the history of the coupon has been an exciting one.

In this guest blog post on, I am going to take a look at the evolution of the coupon and where its future lies within the retail landscape.

The History of Couponing

Coupons are nothing new. But they are also a lot older than one might think. The very first wide-spread coupon dates back to 1887 when Coca Cola started giving people a coupon for a free bottle of Coke. Fast forward to 1913, and 8.5 million people had enjoyed a free drink.

Society’s love of coupons has only increased over the years. In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, coupons became a vital part of food shopping. In fact, for a longer time, coupons were largely driven by food shopping, and that did not change until the beginning of the internet age.

Today, coupon adoption is constantly increasing. Indeed, the presence or absence of a coupon can often be a deal-maker or deal-breaker for shoppers when it comes to making retail purchases. Understanding the modern day customer, and combining that data with historical consumer attitudes, enable brands to utilize coupons in the most strategic way.


Driving Shoppers With Online Coupons

When coupons first hit the internet, consumer acceptance was very strong. Online retailers began to embrace coupons in a host of consumer categories, as more and more customers sought coupons out for a variety of every day and special occasion purchases.

The ability to showcase coupons online gave advertisers more avenues for promotion, one of the most successful methods being the use of coupons as display adverts to attract new customers. Unique to the coupon as an effective medium of advertising was that it actually represented a value that could be enjoyed by the customer.

As coupons continued to gain traction, we saw the introduction of dedicated coupon websites, where customers could seek out coupons for a range of brands all in one location. These evolved further with increased mobile adoption, and today we are seeing over 50% of shoppers consuming digital coupons on small screens.

With research showing that coupon users are 2x more brand loyal than non-coupon users, it is easy to understand why retailers have been quick to adopt this marketing tactic. While couponing may seem counterintuitive to some, data clearly shows that coupon users are more likely to make multiple purchases from a retailer when the retailer offers coupons. In a world with many retailers offering discounts through couponing, companies are finding that prudent offers to existing customers can increase profitability through increased loyalty.


The Dynamic Future of Coupons

Considering past success for coupons, the question is what does the future hold? With up to 25% of shoppers actively looking for coupons online, the opportunity is bigger than ever before.

The next stage of the coupon evolution is dynamic, targeted coupons. At Global Savings Group, we are one of the world’s first coupon partners to offer Dynamic Coupons for the brands we work with.

Our Dynamic Coupons ultimately gives retailers increased control over the coupons they offer, allowing companies to pursue strategies like up-selling, cross-selling and/or conversion scenarios. For example, if a customer has added a pair of jeans to their cart, retailers can offer a unique coupon in real-time with a 10% discount if they add a t-shirt. This encourages customers to increase their basket size and ultimately drives a larger order value for the retailer.

Dynamic Coupons open a whole new world of opportunities for advertisers to run smart coupon strategies. In the past, we have helped advertisers reduce cart abandonment, through product specific dynamic coupons. We have increased average order value, by cross-selling high margin products. We have also improved advertisers margins, by offering more intelligent discounts. Overall we have seen a 20% increase in the number of customers converting, thanks to Dynamic Coupons.

Dynamic Couponing is very much in line with the generation trend of making everything personalized and customizable. Your Netflix recommendations are personal; your Spotify recommendations are customized to you. So many things are created with the customer in mind, and now coupons are as well.


The evolution of the coupon has certainly been an interesting one so far and the results speak for themselves. In 2019 we are expected to see 31 billion coupons redeemed worldwide, many of which will be dynamic. We’re excited to see what is to come.

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