While economic problems around the world are encouraging consumers to save money rather than to spend it freely, consumers are still keen to shop for bargains with the aid of vouchers and discounts, according to the UK-based online consumer offer provider VoucherSeeker.
According to VoucherSeeker director, Ed Hall, a lack of job security and plummeting house values are encouraging UK consumers to radically change their spending habits, whether they're shopping for luxuries or everyday grocery items. The average consumer's search for a good deal is increasingly being carried out online, the company reports, and many shoppers are now using price comparison web sites to find the best value for their money.
However, brands will still need to compete on more than price. By exploiting growing consumer interest in web sites that offer vouchers, offers and other deals, brands can provide time-sensitive promotions that boost customer numbers and sales.
While High Street retailers are struggling to sustain sales volumes, many online brands are reporting that sales are holding up well as customers use price comparison sites and perceived lower prices to get the most from their dwindling savings.
In fact, not only are traditional paper vouchers and coupons enjoying a resurgence but a growing number of consumers are now looking to achieve savings through online offers. A growing number of leading brand names are already providing targeted online offers to encourage customers to spend money on both luxury and staple goods.
The problem, however, is ensuring that these offers are cost-effectively distributed. While some consumers may have signed up to receive regular e-mails and offers from a favourite brand, this is a very small subset of the possible marketplace, and many more relevant consumers are simply not seeing the right offers. As a result, online coupon and voucher search services such as VoucherSeeker are providing internet-savvy consumers with the ability to receive the right offers at the right time, as well as providing manufacturers and retailers with the ability to reach the right target audience quickly.
From offering free goods with sales over a specific price to scaled percentage reductions and free delivery, brands can then use this approach to measure consumer response and tailor subsequent offers accordingly. Furthermore, marketers can build up demand for each promotion by offering a very short timeframe, encouraging regular users to bookmark the web site to ensure they get first pick of any new voucher offers, discounts and promotions for products that interest them.
According to VoucherSeeker, consumer response has been positive so far, with a growing number of people regularly using such web sites. On big ticket items (such as large screen TVs) many consumers are now waiting for a voucher offer to become available before making a planned purchase. Although this is arguably eating into the profit from spending that would have happened eventually anyway, the retailer making the right offer at the right time has a definite competitive advantage.