by Adam Juda on Saturday, November 22, 2014
I noticed something odd about this coupon from Toojay's Original Gourmet Deli. Can you guess what I'm going to say? I added a red rectangle as a hint.
Coupons are often intended to lure relatively price-conscious consumers into purchasing a good. At first, this coupon looks amazing - HALF OFF! It's even spelled out in really big letters. I love buying things at a 50% discount - many of those in my office do too. But each person seemed very disappointed when I showed them the fine print.
The coupon isn't for half off. It's for half off, with the purchase of another item that costs at least as much. In practice, this coupon is for 25% off at best. Depending upon the relative prices of the two sandwiches, the discount might be even smaller.
I understand that many marketers believe that it's important to trick consumers into making purchases. Some companies even do quite well adding tons of fine print into their deals.
The coupon here is problematic. It leads consumers into thinking one thing and then (when it's time to pay), the fact that they were mistaken will be shoved in their faces. A sandwich's cost is not an item buried in a long, complex invoice. Restaurant bills are generally rather simple and straightforward by design. As such, the smaller than expected discount is going to stick out like a sore thumb.
The result will be a bunch of price-conscious consumers who feel as though they have been tricked into spending more. While some business folks won't mind that, they probably will mind the negative whispering-campaign that it will generate. Not only will ill-will be generated on the part of those who use the coupons, but on the part of many with whom they speak as well.
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