SmartMoney Blogs

Pay Dirt
A daily look at what we buy, how we spend, and the companies that do right - and wrong - by their customers.

Share a Coupon, Double Your Savings?

Sharing has its benefits: helping others, fostering cooperation and conserving resources. But it can also cut your bill at checkout, as manufacturers and retailers start issuing new coupons that increase in value when you pass them along to other people.


For example, a $1.50 Huggies coupon suddenly becomes a $3 one when you agree to email or instant-message it to three people, or post the link to Facebook, Twitter or MySpace. On deal site PeopleDeals, currently in beta, New Yorkers can grab a $1 coupon toward lunch at local restaurant L’asso, which mushrooms to $2, $3 or $4 when you post a link on Facebook and other friends nearby use the link to get their own copy.

The idea is a riff on what daily-deal sites like Groupon promise: get enough people interested in an offer, and you’ll secure a better price. While these social coupons haven’t yet taken off like daily-deal sites – coupon management firm Inmar, which tracks the industry, says it is aware of a handful, but the trend wasn’t significant enough last year to track amid the 3.3 billion offers consumers redeemed – experts are expecting them to gain popularity.

Indeed, consumers on Facebook and Twitter are likely to see more of these offers as brands strive to engage with their customers on social networks, says Lynn Mettler, the founder of Step Ahead, a marketing firm in Mount Pleasant, S.C. “The couponing crowd is very active on social media,” she says. “People are happy to spread the word to get the coupon value up.”

It’s a win for coupon-clippers, but also for the companies hoping to increase sales. A 2010 iModerate study found that 67% of Twitter users and 50% of Facebook users said they were more likely to make a purchase from the brands they follow. Sharable coupons reinforces that, because you’re likely to forward the deal to friends who you think would find it useful, and more likely to use that higher value coupon, says Vijay Pullur, the chief executive of SocialTwist, the social media marketing firm behind several of the promotions. While a typical manufacturer’s coupon has a redemption rate of just 10% to 20%, a current promotion for $0.75 off Jimmy D’s – $1.50 when you email it to three friends or post it on either Facebook or Twitter – has a redemption rate of 81%.

Would you bombard your social network with coupon offers to save more at checkout?


We welcome thoughtful comments from readers. Please comply with our guidelines. Our blogs do not require the use of your real name.

Comments (5 of 24)

View all Comments »
    • I want to share with you the best Coupon code for Iherb.Com site
      The coupon code is ZQL811 ,you enter coupon code ZQL811 in the checkout and you get $10 off on your first purchase,and $5 off on every next order you make!You will also get 5% discount when your reach $60 of your cart,10% for $120 of your cart,15% for $240 etc…When using this coupon code you will also get a chanse to choose 1 product FOR FREE with every order you make!You will find everything there…from cosmetics,soaps,supplements,vitamins,minerals,herbs,baby foods,essential oils,natural remmendies,pet foods etc etc.You can really save lots of money. Check it out !!
      This coupon code NEVER EXPIRE and anyone can use it worldwide! Enjoy! :)

    • Probably the appropriate rsnopese to the notion of “conspiracy theorist” is “keep your eye on the ball…someone is trying to distract you from something very important”. Getting mad at the WSJ for doing what it does is about like getting mad at an earthquake for being an earthquake.MCR. Thanks dude. You aren’t the only one by a long shot, but yer a good one.

    • I actually found an online coupon that WORKS for a change. I received 45.00 off at checkout AND free shpping, no gimmicks! Very refreshing, to say the least. Iherb.com , coupon code COS189… and the shippin g was SUPER FAST. I’m just tickled pink. Use it guys, it works, for all your vitamin, herbal and nutritional needs. The prices are super cheap too. I love it!!! It seems anyone can use this coupon, no restrictions at all.

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.