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Lifestyle

June 28, 2013

Coupon marketing is scientific, not chaotic

Dear Jill,

I organize my coupons by expiration date. Why are there so many different dates when coupons expire? This month, I have some that expire the 15th, 17th, 23rd, 26th and 28th. It is crazy, and I have to check them constantly. Any ideas why?

Deb Mahoney

Most coupons have expiration dates that fall somewhere between 30 and 90 days from the time the coupon was issued, though there are always exceptions. During allergy season, we often see very short-dated, high-value coupons for allergy medications – and the coupon might have a seven-day time period to use it. Why?

In each case, the manufacturer has created a window of time in which they wish the coupon to be redeemed. Remember, a coupon is used to boost purchases within a very specific timeframe.

The company may also wish to end the coupon promotion before launching into a different offer. Did you know that at times, when you see a product on sale, the manufacturer funds that sale? This is called a temporary price reduction, or TPR, and the manufacturer is reimbursing the store for featuring an item at a lower price than it normally would even when on sale. If a manufacturer is already paying for a TPR, they might not want their coupon valid during that same sale period. (This also explains why you sometimes see a coupon expire, and the product is deeply discounted the next day!)

With manufacturers planning promotions for thousands of different products, it would be impossible to insist that they all coordinate with each other to have like expiration dates. So, each promotion has its own.

Dear Jill,

Read your article, I don’t agree. Do you really think the supermarket ships crates of coupons back to manufactures that try to match them to bulk purchases in order to avoid paying?

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