Coupons in the Past, Present, and Future

In The Past

– Clipped out coupons

Coupons started off as nothing more than pieces https://www.coupiv.com/ of paper that you would cut out of advertisements that were usually in the newspaper with a pair of scissors so that you could bring them to the store to redeem for a small amount off of whatever purchase you were about to make. Many people (possibly yourself included!) still do this. But there are a lot more ways to use coupons now!

In The Present

– Clipped out coupons
– Online only coupons
– Printed at home coupons

Now, online coupons have introduced themselves into the mix. Instead of having to take a coupon to the store, you find a coupon online and copy down the “coupon code”. Then you go to an online store and enter the coupon code during the checkout process to claim your discount. Or, if you prefer to shop at a physical store, you can find coupons online and print them out to bring with you! As such, the options have been greatly expanded for the average coupon user.

Though, perhaps you are not an average coupon user. Perhaps you are a coupon veteran, in which case all of this would be very rudimentary for you. But the way coupons will work in the future is probably new to you.

In The Future

– Clipped out coupons
– Online only coupons
– Printed at home coupons
– Coupons delivered to your cell phone, in the store, with nearby products in mind

The time is not too far off when we will be able to use our cell phones in physical stores to get coupons and redeem them, without ever using any paper or copying anything. And these are not simply predictions. There is a company working on this right now. It’s called ShoppingTrip360. It uses smart light sensitive shelves in order to know when a product is picked up or put back down. It can alert the store to a stockout immediately, and it can even alert the staff to a misplaced item, as long as that item has a different shape than the item that is supposed to be in that location. But what does that have to do with coupons? They are also working on extending that system to provide cell phones with information about the products near the customer. Then the cell phone would be able to find coupons for the customer based on the products right next to him or her! That way, without having to look stuff up and bring stuff with you, you can determine the lowest priced product on the shelves right in front of you after taking coupons into account! It will be a no-hassle method of obtaining coupons.

But what about using them? Well, many people already have a frequent shopper card that keeps track of how much they spent and sometimes exactly what they spent it on. The coupon program on the cell phone could be extended so that it could put the coupon directly into the account tied to the frequent shopper card. Then, when you go to the checkout lane and scan your card, the discounts can be automatically applied!

But, why would a store go through all the trouble of implementing such a complicated system just to put coupons in the hands of their customers when they can just hand coupons to them by hand if they had to? Well, because it does a lot more than just put coupons in the hands of their customers. By keeping track of when items are picked up and put back down, and where there are stockouts and misplaced items, they can also do more than simply keeping the store stocked and in order. They can track customer behavior. They can see which items are almost getting people to buy it (lots of people pick it up and put it back down), which areas are more frequently walked through (in case they want to do an in-store display), or even which products never get considered, let alone purchased. Optimizing such things can lead to bigger profits for the grocery store, and more savings for you. It’s a win-win situation!

Even more, all of this is only some of the possibilities that such a system can provide. Coupons will become even more advanced than this as time progresses.

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