Digital versus Traditional Coupons – How are they impacting your ROI?

E-commerce is almost on its way to become a way of life. With everyone from a pin to a pen available on stores online, the Indian online retail market is on an all time high. A growing number of small and large e-retailers are working hard to develop successful marketing strategies that attract higher conversion rates.

Digital couponing is without doubt bringing about a revolution in the traditional rules of marketing. However, how significant has this strategy actually become? For a first time planner, understanding the true shifts that have taken place in coupon using habits and assessing how effective digital coupons have become vis-à-vis print variants is important for the sake of creating judicious marketing strategies.


With inflation in the country being further highlighted by global recession, studies show that the use of coupons has gone up by 27% over the last 6 years. However, globally print coupons still consist of a major chunk of this market at 44%.

On the other hand, there is no denying that digital couponing has been able to bring in its own fair share of strengths. For instance, studies show that about 46% of digital coupon users today were traditionally non-buyers. Digital couponing has been able to attract new buyers at a rate that 35% higher than the capabilities displayed by traditional methodologies.

The rate of incremental redemption in digital coupons is at 77% while the figures for its print variants sit at around 68%. In spite of this, the fact remains that digital coupons reel in less ROI when compared to print. This is essentially owed to its higher redemption rates and the significantly lower distribution cost of print. This eventually is easily solved by marketers working towards harnessing loyalty towards e-commerce websites and facilitating higher conversion rates in the long run.


The new era of coupons and promo codes has been able to attract an entirely new segment of buyers that are traditionally not accustomed to traditional print clipping. This includes the likes of –

  • Young adults who are among the first generation to grow up solely in the digital world.
  • Young and forward thinking mobile people that own homes in the top 20% of the market.
  • Single income households with no children.


With a variety of elements that demand detailed assessment, businesses need to take a comprehensive approach towards couponing, and the are as follows –

  • Assessing Coupon ROI – Digital versus Print.
  • Designing methods to benchmark your results against normative data.
  • Evaluation of strategies and execution of the most profitable possibilities.
  • Evaluation of alternatives such as direct mail, in-store advertising, etc.
  • Monitoring your competition, their strategies and response.
  • Putting your coupon strategy to test and working towards program alternatives.

However, the shift to digital is still a work in progress. Considering that print has proven to be more profitable means, even companies are wary of letting go of the older ways with ease. Going forward as digital couponing becomes more ingrained and less demanding; one can expect to see the death of traditional methodologies.

Finally, couponing needs to be perceived as just one of the many elements in your marketing mix. Also, all your efforts need to be guided by the needs of your intended target audience. Assess factors such as whether your coupons are really effective as compared to alternative forms of reaching out to your audience. By taking a customized approach to your calculations you can make sure that your strategy is able to bring in the best possible ROI for your business.

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