Are Paper Coupons Still Relevant?

Couponing is a popular tactic for saving money in the USA. Consumers collect coupons offering discounts off their favourite products with zeal, organising them in special folders to keep the large volume manageable. They are undeterred by expiration dates or other limits, and simply put the effort into managing their coupons to take full advantage of them. And while the whole world is going digital, including retail special offers, paper coupons are still going strong in the USA. A recent survey showed that 93% of Americans use paper coupons, while 75% use paperless coupons. But would this work in Ireland?

Coupons can be a great marketing tool. They express goodwill while offering customers a reward for shopping with you.

It is clearly working for major grocery chains as they continue to send out the vouchers from their loyalty programmes in paper form along with a variety of paper coupons. And other shops, particularly chain chemists, give paper coupons to customers when they make a purchase. Ireland might not see the sort of devotion to couponing that has become popular in the USA, but paper coupons can still be a valuable marketing tool for Irish businesses.

Tips for Marketing with Paper Coupons

The success of paper coupons in Ireland seems to be down to how they are done. The larger stores have the power to digitally review what people purchase and personalise their coupons to offer discounts on products likely to tempt the individual. They don’t send out the same coupons to everyone. So the first lesson seems to be to link the coupons to previous purchases. Here a few other ideas to help your paper coupon campaign successful.


  • Link the offer to something the customer has purchased, such as a discount on their next purchase of the same product or a complementary product.
  • Ensure the coupon reflects your brand strongly by using your brand colours and making the logo prominent.
  • Make the coupons large enough to read easily but small enough to fit into a wallet. Avoid making them smaller than a credit card.
  • Keep the terms and conditions minimal. Ensure that you do include the standard legal wording about how the coupon has no cash value, but keep your own limitations minimal.
  • Use a thick enough paper that the coupons won’t rip easily.
  • Include the expiration date in an obvious spot, not tucked away in the fine print.
  • Talk to your printer about a printing finish that will prevent smudging.
  • Provide the coupon on its own so customers don’t have to cut it out of a larger sheet of paper.

Coupons can be a great marketing tool. They express goodwill while offering customers a reward for shopping with you. When they include a compelling offer, they will bring customers back into the store, and the odds are good they will purchase more than that singular item in many markets. The real strength of paper coupons is that they are a powerful platform to share your logo and brand images, making a stronger impression on customers. Ireland is unlikely to see the kind of zealous couponing that the USA does, but Irish retailers can use paper coupons as a strategic marketing tool with great success.