Online coupons are becoming more popular as a way for savvy consumers to save money, but with the ever changing Internet and with social media websites at the helm of web version 2.0, what's the future of online coupons? We sat down with one eccentric Internet marketing expert who makes a strong case for social medias impact with couponing.
Chantilly, VA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 07/18/2012 --Remember back when you would wait to make a purchase until after you received the Sunday coupons from the inserts of the newspaper? The days of cutting coupons and falling victim to the occasional paper cut are over. Even today, while there are reality shows such as Extreme Couponing along with thrifty consumers who hoard paper coupons, the average consumer is turning to the Internet for savings.
Many websites such as Cool Savings, Coupon Cabin and Retail Me Not are part of the growing online coupon community. Consumers are starting to buy more and more online with online coupons, but even savvy brick and mortar shoppers are also starting to utilize online coupons for added savings in local stores.
“E-commerce is still in its teenage years; online revenue in the United States was at $176 Billion in 2010. By 2015 it's expected to reach nearly $300 Billion according to Forrester Research, Inc.,” says Justin Haver, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at GoVacuum.com, an online allergy and vacuum cleaner retailer.
GoVacuum has evolved from operating four brick and mortar retail stores in the Northern Virginia area to shifting their entire business online. “Consumers are starting to embrace the Internet more and more everyday. This includes online coupons; it's an area where we're seeing a lot of growth. Pair that with the new forms of social media and we feel the future of savings will be done mostly online with these social media sites, not only online coupon websites,” Haver says.
He was quick to point out they often have coupon savings exclusively for Twitter users. “If we find that obscure vacuum in the back of our warehouse, we just make a quick tweet about it with a coupon code, and in minutes we start to see sales with the Twitter coupon code. It's a powerful tool!” he explains.
Twitter is a social media and micro blogging website that allows posts of up to 140 characters, officially known as Tweets. These tweets can have external links to websites such as GoVacuum.com. Twitter currently has over 500,000,000 users worldwide, with nearly 350,000,000 tweets per day. Twitter is not the only social media website that companies and consumers are embracing to connect.
“Facebook has really helped us to get the word out about our products, specials and sales. We have special coupons designed just for Facebook as well. Such as anyone who likes us on Facebook, can save $10.00 off any purchase $50.00 or more.”
Facebook has nearly 1,000,000,000 registered users. Facebook burst on to the college social networking scene back in February, 2004. It's growth has been unprecedented and Facebook has recently gone public with an IPO. The company’s revenue is generated from the ads displayed on the website; it's completely free for users.
These are the two largest social media websites, but they’re not the only ones. Quickly gaining popularity is the new social picture website Pinterest, an online collage of pictures that can be shared among its nearly 20,000,000 members. Never one to be shown up, Facebook’s purchase of Instagram, a smartphone application that allows users to upload images with effects and filters to its website, allowing similar usability and the ability to directly compete with Pinterest. Integrating it with their user interface, Facebook hold’s a competitive advantage due to the sheer number of users it offers this new app to.
Then of course there's the search giant, Google, who launched Google Plus (AKA Google +). While they have over 250,000,000 registered users, this seems to be one of the least popular social sites even though it is by far one of the most powerful technology-wise. Google Plus has even been used by President Obama in the first-ever virtual interview from the White House on January 30, 2012.
Then there’s Skype, Windows Live, LinkedIn, Badoo (which is not to be confused with Bebo). With all these different social networking websites and coupons becoming more popular on them, how is a company such as GoVacuum to keep up?
“Caffeine! Lots and lots of green tea,” Haver jokes. “There are companies that specialize in social media advertising, they offer an all in one solution, but we've found their knowledge is actually elementary, and in many cases, less than ours. What works for us is to start using the service and read about it, experience it first hand, interact with other users. From there we can build a marketing campaign tailored to each website in an effort to hopefully reach the consumer with our coupons.”
So how many consumers are actually going to these social media websites for savings and coupons? Enough to where hackers and scam artist have taken notice and are starting to advertise online coupons in an effort to take control of your computer and install malicious spyware, malware and viruses.
Is this a reason to not look online for coupons? Hardly. This is just another reason to protect your computer with the proper security software, but before you run out and buy the latest edition of Norton, we suggest you look on a social networking website for a coupon first.