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Lifestyle

December 21, 2012

Couponers weigh in on 'Battle of Brands'

(Continued)

Based on its study of the rise in store brands, Deloitte LLP warned manufacturers that excessive promotions train consumers to wait for deals and shift the focus from product attributes to price, and urged them to lessen their reliance on price promotions. Some of the recent drops in the value of coupons may be the result of marketers attempting to shift shoppers away from buying solely on price and instead pushing the quality of their brands.

The quality argument is interesting. There certainly was a time when store brands weren’t quite up to the standard of some of the name brands, but that’s changed for many products. While a house-brand paper towel may not be as thick or absorbent as a name-brand variety, other items, such as frozen vegetables or bottled juices, are likely to be of equal quality.

Worth noting, too, is the increase in coupons for retailers’ house brands. My local supermarket recently featured a $5 e-coupon offer for its brand of vitamins when a shopper spent the $15 minimum. A 60-count bottle of daily vitamins was on sale for $5.99, buy one, get one free. I bought six bottles for $17.97; the $5 coupon then cut the price to $12.97, or $2.16 per bottle. That deal obliterated the price of the name-brand vitamins. In my book, vitamins are vitamins. I’m not brand-specific, and I know my ‘buy’ price points like the back of my hand.

As a coupon shopper, my goal is always to reduce an item’s price in half by combining a sale and a coupon. If a manufacturer that has consistently offered great coupon values for a product I like suddenly stops, would it affect my purchasing habits? It certainly could, especially if the price difference is significant. If shoppers continue to buy more store brands versus national brands, manufacturers will need to decide how to lure those shoppers back.

For me, the ideal lure is rectangular, made of paper and carries a value of $1 or more.

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Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to jill@ctwfeatures.com.

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