Using loyalty programs to offer digital coupons during the holidays
October 21, 2013

Gift card programs and loyalty programs that are integrated with mobile technology can make all the difference in turning this year's holiday shopping season from a source of stress into a major revenue stream for small businesses.

According to data compiled recently by eMarketer, the popularity of digital coupons is on the rise as economic conditions and rapidly changing consumer trends transform the traditional retail experience. The Great Recession has had resounding effects on the spending habits of U.S. households. The average shopper is now more likely to seek out coupons than ever before, eMarketer said. However, even though Americans have been spending less money collectively, smartphones and mobile devices continue to gain popularity at a rapid pace. As a result, today's shoppers are transferring their coupon-clipping habits into the e-commerce industry.

This year, the number of digital coupon users in the U.S. will increase by 11 percent, according to eMarketer, comprising roughly 52 percent of the entire adult population that uses the Internet. That number will likely increase to 57.5 percent over the next two years.

These trends have already had a significant impact on the U.S. retail industry. For example, the "Winter Holiday Shopping Survey" from PriceGrabber, an online price comparison service, said 66 percent of American consumers expect stores to offer competitive discounts for goods during this year's upcoming holiday shopping season.

"The U.S. fiscal concerns could play a pivotal role in consumer confidence in the economy," Rojeh Avanesian, senior vice president of marketing and sales at PriceGrabber, stated in a press release. "Retailers will need to adapt and be sensitive to consumer sentiment to maintain customer loyalty."

Retail businesses can utilize gift card programs and loyalty programs to exceed the expectations of shoppers during the holiday season. By utilizing mobile technology to offer unique discounts and rewards, stores have a better chance at turning a profit and retaining customers well into the future.

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