Given that it’s the new year, I wanted to make a few predictions as to what consumers could expect (or I’d like to see) in the coming months.
Predictions for the New Year
More coupon targeting
With loyalty programs tracking more data than ever, it’s only getting easier for data brokers to sell information to marketers to help enhance targeted marketing. While I love sites like RetailMeMot that serve as coupon aggregators, unless the codes are advertised on a retailer’s website or another publication of their’s, these codes aren’t intended necessarily for everyone. Thus, the point of targeting specific customers is lost and the marketing dollars aren’t as effectively utilized. This may discourage future savings opportunities being offered. I expect to see more coupons sent directly via email or snail mail to consumers that are more difficult to share because they aren’t easily remembered. For example, I will occasionally get codes from Amazon that have a string of multiple digits such as XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX that I couldn’t just recite and pass on to a friend.
More digital coupons
When manufacturers and retailers simply “broadcast” their coupons via sales flyers in paper and print format, expect them to make it increasingly easier to simply “add” or “load” the coupons to a loyalty card for usage as well. It only takes a few steps to do this and makes the process of using coupons a lot easier. Forgetting to bring coupons won’t be a problem either.
More mobile wallet promotions
As I wrote about previously, smart phone mobile wallet wars are definitely being waged among Apple, Google, Verizon, and other significant players. With the average consumer likely having multiple loyalty and credit cards, it is not practical to carry them around in a “physical” wallet. Softcard, which I have used for some time, has been offering promotions, such as instant discounts and statement credits, just for using their app. Softcard connects to regular credit cards, so it’s no different from what you’d be using to pay a store anyway, just how you would pay for it. You can also add loyalty cards to the app as well for easy retrieval.
More savings via credit card linkage
Similar to the instant savings promotions available for using mobile apps, I expect more promotions, such as American Express’ Sync promotions where consumers can load savings opportunities to their cards for effortless savings. Discover Card, Visa, and Mastercard are all in this act, too.
Discounts go mainstream
I am convinced that more people would seek out savings opportunities like the ones discussed above only if they knew about them and weren’t concerned with looking “cheap” in social settings. The very successful American Express Small Business Saturday (which happened in November) is a one-time event where you can earn statement credits for shopping at small businesses. This program has existed for several years now and has really stepped up the promotion through multiple media channels. As a reader of loyalty program and consumer advocate websites, such as Milepoint, Flyertalk, and Fat Wallet, I saw ads promoting this event frequently. Since being frugal is increasingly becoming hip in a post-Great Recession economy, I expect to see more television and other other ads promoting money savings opportunities.
More consumer technology to help save money
There’s nothing better than automating the process of saving money, and I expect more and more helpful apps and websites to be rolled out for this purpose. This past year, I mentioned a few great ones that have really helped take the guess work out of saving money and maximizing loyalty program points earning opportunities. There’s plenty of incentive for developers and others to provide these tools with increasing usage of smartphones while shopping.
As the new year rolls out, I will be reporting back on my predictions to see how they play out. I will look forward to seeing what new money saving tools, tips, tricks, and strategies that will be available, too. And, if you have any predictions, feel free to leave a comment.
Happy New Year!