Who Invented Coupons Can Be Traced Back To The Famine?

Coupons are a mainstream promo strategy that is now essential for retail and online promotions for many businesses. According to the history books, the concept of coupons can be traced back to the famine of 18 AH, when the second ruler of the Islamic Caliphate implemented them, in a sense, via a food rationing scheme. However, in their modern iteration, they popped up in the late 19th century. More on that later. First, let us define coupons and how they came into existence.

They used to be pieces of physical paper. But now they exist as primarily digital codes that consumers present to companies selling items or services to get a reduction on something they wish to purchase. The appeal of this marketing system lies in the fact that it stimulates business by providing a fixed amount or a percentage discount on a previously advertised price. They usually feature a clear call to action, aim at customers, and look to boost brand awareness.

The Appearance of the First Commercial Coupons

Few people know Coca-Cola was not an instant hit in the soft drink market. Invented by a Columbus, Georgia pharmacist named John Pemberton, the initial Coca-Cola drink was marketed as a beverage that could aid in lowering headache pain. That means it was chiefly sold as a medical beverage at drugstores. Frank Mason Robinson, Pemberton’s bookmaker, is the person who gets credited with making the drink’s logo and coming up with its name. He also had a promotional idea to give away tickets that people could use to get a free Coca-Cola sample.

After Pemberton sold his company in 1888 to Asa Griggs Candler, an American businessman and politician, who, after he acquired Coca-Cola, heard about Robinson’s ticket idea and decided to put it to use to great success, coupons were born. Based on the historical data, the initial year Coca-Cola became available, it sold nine drinks per day, on average. But, seventeen years later, the company record books recorded over eight and a half million free drink coupons redeemed.

The Evolution of Coupons

After Coca-Cola somewhat pioneered coupons, shockingly, other companies needed to be swifter in adopting these marketing tactics. In 1929, the food and recipe brand Betty Crocker introduced coupons by inserting tickets in flour bags, which could be redeemed for a reduced cost of Oneida Limited flatware. That kicked off the sizeable Great Depression coupon usage wave, and in the 1940s, this movement drew even more substantial public interest. That is mainly owed to established and rising nationwide supermarket chains using coupons to entice shoppers away from their local markets.

Three Modern Coupon Examples

As mentioned above, hundreds of industries utilize coupons nowadays, and here, we look at three sectors that implement this marketing approach.

One sphere that has adopted couponing with arms wide open is iGaming, as evidenced by the fact that premium New Jersey gambling sites like Las Atlantis offer impressive sign-up packages, such as the cited platforms up to $14,000 welcome bonus, unlockable using the code – LASATLANTIS on registration.

Electronic stores are also massive fans of codes, and they traditionally organize promotions or supply their affiliate partners with codes that lead to discounts on eligible tech products. One illustration of this is the code SAMSUNG25, providing a 25% discount on the latest batch of Samsung smartphones.

The fashion industry is too wise to this hot trend, and it loves coupons as a tool to attract shoppers for new collection launches or seasonal sales. STYLE30OFF is something that online store patrons may see at a renowned Internet clothing retailer looking to give them a 30% discount if they buy select items using this word and number combo.

Things to Know About Coupons

Some aspects of codes or physical coupons are that they usually come with expiration dates, some may be exclusive to website use, valid for a chosen set of products, and users must be aware of distinct refund policies when using a coupon.

The pitfalls connected to them, per many experts, are that they can push people into making impulse/unplanned purchases and that given discounts do not apply to shipping costs. Also, coupon addiction is a known phenomenon, and all customers must be wary of coupon fraud.

Current Coupon Statistics

Per Meetanshi, around 80% of shoppers only agree to sign up for newsletters to get discounts, which is responsible for the sizeable promo code usage globally. Use is high regardless of income level, and in 2021, 40% of in-store grocery shoppers used a phone code to get a discount.

Valassi reports that, in 2020, 96% of Millennial parents used digital coupon codes, and most of them got them from brands they follow on social media, Google searches, or through a newsletter. People say they like redeeming coupons/codes mostly to save money, have fun, and get some upside cash back for food shopping or paying for gas.

Final Thought

The rise of coupons has reshaped consumer behavior and marketing. This tactic, originated by Coca-Cola in the late 19th century, has grown into a powerful tool used across various industries, benefiting people and corporate entities worldwide. And, in the digital sphere, this consumer-attraction strategy seems more popular than ever.