Coupons and Loyalty Schemes

I read with interest that yet more of the print industry is moving into to coupon/loyalty/butter-voucher arena. There has been huge interest in the web side of this business and recently highlighted when Groupon turned down a €6bln takeover bid from Google.

Google, spurned, but not completely defeated, has now decided that it will go it alone based on its current advertising technology.

Outside the ‘web discount’ systems Associated Newspapers are launching a loyalty discount scheme for the Mail On Sunday. It’s based on readers purchasing loyalty. In the UK if readers subscribe to the Saturday Mail and Sunday Mail on Sunday together they get redeemable vouchers for a variety of companies like Tesco and Pizza Express . It, like the Poll Tax, is being “tested” in Scotland first and will roll out to the rest of the dominion at a later stage – once William Wallace has given it his imprimatur presumably.

The paper already has culture and (more importantly) a system in place for subscriptions in England and Scotland so it’s probably easy to dove-tail the loyalty scheme into the current subscription process. There is no mention of Ireland in the reward scheme, but that’s possibly because they don’t have a subscription scheme in place here. On the web coupon home front we have Groupon here, but branded under City Deal.

Again offering discounts on a variety of events/services – but they only kick in when a certain number of people have committed to the deal (“Group” “Coupon” = Groupon). Not to be left behind IN+M are planning “GrabOne.ie” which again is a crowd based coupon business model.

It’s very me-too and there are and estimated 2000 websites aping the Groupon model which this seems to be. But, like Associated, and Google to a certain extent, they have a slight advantage locally in that they have an established working relationship with these SME’s where a lot of the coupons business finds itself. Plus, they can cross sell with the print medium which could be a big advantage and selling point.