Online Reviews and Coupons Push Shoppers’ Buttons

It’s new meets old as online shoppers use a new medium and an old savings tactic to make the most informed, value-conscious choices in today’s soft economy. In a November 2008 study conducted by the Nielson company as reported by Marketwire, “78 percent of adult online consumers made a purchase over the Web in the previous six months.” Clearly consumers are not only surfing the ‘net they’re buying as well. And two of the most popular motivators are online reviews and downloadable coupons.

Brandweek in a September 2009 article quoted a report from its e-tailing group along with social media consultancy Ripple6 that “finds that shoppers buying products on the Internet are influenced both by online social networking sites and face-to-face conversations with friends. But when it comes to whose opinions influence the shoppers, strangers have as much if not more impact than friends.” Which means that potential customers consider a review of your product or service by anyone who has experience with it valuable. The survey analysts concluded that what consumers really want is a trusted online community within which they can gather purchasing information.

Additionally, coupons – that staple of savings in decades past – are making a comeback in a big way. In a May 2009 statement from parent company Cox Target Media, while “direct mail spending may fall to fourth place behind the Internet, broadcast TV and newspapers…Valpak® sales have remained steady compared to 2008 – and that’s a tremendous accomplishment in this economy.” Valpak mails locally targeted coupon packets.

Search engine behemoth Yahoo! has also recently entered the coupon business. In a separate article Brandweek reports “according to (Yahoo!) company research, searches for the term “printable coupons” are up 50 percent this year compared to the same time in 2008 and up 135 percent compared to 2007.”

All of which is excellent news for businesses. Launched in August, 2009, was the very first directory service offering both reviews and downloadable coupons on our locally focused website. And, unlike massive sites that require fairly advanced search skills to find both coupons and reviews for your city (if your city is featured), is extremely user friendly and more locally focused.

So businesses, pat yourselves on the back for being on the forefront of a new trend in sales and marketing. And shoppers, congratulations on making a very smart decision in how you shop – your online peers would highly approve.


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