More Bang for Your Buck: The science behind the coupon

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Sauer's iconic sign has brightened Broad Street for decades. It began with spices in 1887, adding Duke's Mayonnaise 43 years later. But one thing hasn't changed -- companies need to grow, and that means getting non-users to try the product while rewarding loyal customers.

Duke's and Sauer's have put coupons in Sunday inserts for years, but Duke's online coupons have a higher redemption rate. New hangtag coupons on the product are there to motivate you to try it.

"It's most impactful when it's in the store itself and you don't require the customer to cut it out and bring it to the store," said Erin Hatcher, Duke's Mayonnaise Brands Manager.

Duke's main competitor is Hellman's. For Sauer's, it's McCormicks. And they're all competing for shelf space. Price can drive the consumer to pick one over the other.

"In a down economy, people tend to brownbag more often and cook at home," Hatcher said.

Coupons create buzz for new products, like Sauer's Meal Solutions.

"You get to know what that spice is like and you're more likely to try it other dishes as well," she added.

Sauer's doesn't spend money on TV, radio or magazine ads.

"So it's great way to advertise your product and encourage people to try it," Hatcher explained.

Sauer's distributes throughout the south, so that's where the coupons go. Duke's expansion over the past few years widened coupon distribution to half the country. So does it hurt a business's bottom line? Initially, companies can take a hit, but in the long run Hatcher says, "If we can get our products into your mouth, you will convert and be a customer of ours."

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