Thrifty searchers seek online deals as economic woes increase

Share this content:
Thrifty searchers seek online deals as economic woes increase
Thrifty searchers seek online deals as economic woes increase

Coupons are back, but with a twist. Instead of clipping, shoppers are clicking. The tried-and-true staple of discount shopping has reinvented itself as a powerful online advertising tool. More than 36 million consumers are searching online for coupons (up from 10 million in 2005) and visits to coupon Web sites have increased 56% from 2007 (Hitwise, June 2008).

What's fueling this shift in coupon use is consumer reaction to hard economic realities. Rising food prices, job uncertainty and overall tightened budgets have prudent shoppers flocking online to save money.

For the first time in more than a decade, consumers rank low prices as the most important determinant of what and where they will by, outpacing product quality, customer service, the shopping experience and ease of shopping (AlixPartners Consumer Sentiment Index, 2008).Yet, for search marketers, there is a silver lining.

While most direct marketers will feel the effects of consumers cutting back on spending, those with a substantial online presence, especially those offering discounts, are expected to weather the downturn well. This is because consumers now perceive e-commerce as a value-driven channel that allows them to comparison shop for deals and do so without leaving home.

In April, iCongo reported 55% of shoppers sought out online retailers because of lower prices and, among the top 250 search terms driving traffic, 60% of the search queries include a specific brand or branded product. 

With consumers actively searching for the best deals online and search engines accounting for 20 percent of the traffic referred to coupon sites, direct marketers need to pay close attention to their ad copy, keywords and landing pages.   

Marketers should emphasize special offers in ad copy and throughout their Web site to engage consumers. Deals that pledge to meet or beat competitors' lowest price or coupons offering free shipping, for example, will likely attract shoppers seeking bargains.

Marketers also can cater to coupon seekers with loyalty-based incentives to encourage repeat purchases, coupons that encourage multiple item purchases, open-ended coupons — such as "$1 off $5 purchase" — and/or online-only pricing and discounts.

Keyword monitoring and landing pages also provide opportunities for direct marketers. Expanding generic keywords can help attract and capture discount shoppers, as can more concerted efforts to bid on more cost-effective keywords. Advertisers also should place coupons prominently on landing pages and have smart search results pages for sale/clearance items.

Tight economics will impact consumer spending, but a well-developed coupon strategy will allow search marketers to continue to thrive.

Michael Kahn can be reached at mkahn@performics.com.

Loading links....

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

We recently were named B2B Magazine's Direct Marketing Agency of the Year, and with good reason: We make real, measureable, positive change happen for our clients. A full-service agency founded in 1974, Bader Rutter expertly helps you get the right message to the right audience at the right time through the right channels. As we engage our clients' audiences along their journey, direct marketing (email, direct mail, phone, SMS) and behavioral marketing (SEM, retargeting, contextual) channels deliver information relevant to the needs of each stage. We are experts at implementing and leveraging marketing technologies such as CRM and marketing automation in order to synchronize sales and marketing communications. Our team of architects and activators plan, execute, measure and adjust in real time to ensure the strategy is working as needed and change things if it's not.

Find out more here »

DMN's Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here