How to efficiently use coupons to market your business

I recently took advantage of a company discount at a local dry-cleaning business. And though I am not going to complain about how inefficient their discount process was because they didn’t have to give me a discount, I can’t help but offer a suggestion for a more efficient way to reward customers.

Here’s how it went down. Usually at my company we get a 10% discount at surrounding businesses. I decided to use my discount at a local dry-cleaning company. But when I went to pay and redeem my discount, the clerk said I couldn’t redeem it right then, and that they would give me a gift card with the amount of the discount on it. Figuring it was only 10% I wasn’t going to argue. So I paid and left the store.

A few days later I received an envelope in the mail. Inside the envelope was a gift card made out to me in the amount of $7.43, 10% of what I spent. And though I appreciate the clerk’s follow-through I can’t help but wonder if there was a more efficient way to reward their customers.

There are many reasons to offer discounts. You may want to get people into your store and introduce your product, you may want to reward your loyal customers or you may want to promote a particular product or service that you’re offering. Whatever the reason, redeeming the discount should be easy and efficient for you and your customer.

Here are some suggestions to streamline the process:

  1. Create a paper coupon redeemable at time of purchase – include details like expiration date, whether or not it is valid with other offers, company name, address and contact info.
  2. Create an online coupon redeemable at time of purchase – include a code for the customer to submit for redemption for tracking purposes.
  3. Create an ongoing discount card for frequent shoppers to redeem each time they purchase something at your business.

I really do appreciate the 10% discount and regardless of the discount I will frequent their store again. However, the envelope, the card, the stamp and the labor to coordinate it all seems like a bit of a waste for $7, don’t yout think?