January 31, 2002, 12:00 AM

Online coupons motivate shoppers, but few retailers use them, says AMR

85% to 95% of shoppers surveyed said they’d use online coupons in a store, but only 1% are finding cross-channel coupons online. Coupons are more powerful motivators than loyalty programs and free shipping, AMR says.


While there’s a lot of discussion among retailers about ways to effectively merchandise across channels, most retailers have yet to plug into the cross-channel opportunities presented by something as simple as an online coupon redeemable in a store, according to AMR Research. AMR recently surveyed hundreds of shoppers who bought online this Christmas about their cross-channel activity. The poll segmented two groups of online customers: one that went to the web initially to research and another that went online initially with the intention to shop.

Asked if the offering of a printable store coupon online would motivate them to visit a retailer’s store, 85% of the web shoppers primarily interested in online research said yes. Among those who went online with the initial intention to buy there, an even higher percentage – 95% -- said that the online coupon would motivate them to visit a store. Yet among both groups, only a faction of the shoppers –1-% -- said they were actually finding such cross channel coupons online.

“It’s certainly talked about, but among the hundreds of people we surveyed, they weren’t finding a lot of these coupons,” says Randy Covill, AMR retail analyst. “We asked people what benefits they’d like to see, and what they were actually finding online. There was a significant disconnect. What people cared about was product selection, low prices and discounts. There are things like free shipping, promotions and loyalty programs on the web, but according to our survey, they don’t appear to be the things that really motivate online shoppers.”


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