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It isn't a real deal until you find an Internet coupon

Don't buy online without first searching for discount codes.

By Teresa Mears Dec 2, 2009 1:22PM

Cyber Monday saw increased sales this year, and sales weren’t the only thing that increased in number. More shoppers are using online coupons, USA Today reports.

 

While sales on Cyber Monday were up 13% from last year, 42% of shoppers say they plan to spend less this holiday season than they did last year, Nielsen analyst Maya Swedowsky told the newspaper.

One way they hope to do that is by shopping sales and using coupons. And shoppers did both Monday. Coupon Web sites, such as RetailMeNot.com and CouponCabin.com, reported significantly higher traffic on Cyber Monday compared with last year. RetailMeNot had 1.1 million visitors, up 57%. CouponCabin was visited 400,000 times, up 65%, USA Today reported.

 

"Despite signs that the economy is rebounding, we're seeing enormous gains both in traffic and the quantity of coupons being offered by retailers this holiday season," Guy King, co-founder, RetailMeNot.com, said in a news release accompanying a special report issued by the company Wednesday. "We believe coupons have become ingrained in the shopping behavior of American consumers and this habit will remain long after the recession ends."

Coremetrics, a retail analysis company, said shoppers spent an average of $180.03 per online order, compared with $130.24 last year, and bought 30% more items per order.

 

"We are seeing good online buying momentum because people are looking for the very best deals," said John Squire, chief strategy officer of Coremetrics, told The Washington Post.

 

Even my 78-year-old father searches online for coupons these days, and it’s not surprising that more consumers are clicking for savings before they buy.

 

Here are a few tips for finding and using online coupons:

  • Start with a basic search. Search for “coupon” and the merchant from whom you want to buy something.
  • Do a second search for “free shipping” and the merchant. Lots of online merchants are offering free shipping this year.
  • Check the major coupon sites, including RetailMeNot, CouponCabin and DealNews.
  • Search the Facebook and Twitter sites of your favorite merchants.
  • Subscribe to the email newsletters of companies with whom you often do business. Many will send you frequent coupons via email.
  • Be sure to check the expiration dates on the coupons. Old coupons live forever on the Internet.
  • If you’re shopping in person at a store and you saw but didn’t bring an online coupon, ask for the discount. You might get it, especially if you’re making a large purchase.

What are your favorite strategies for finding and using online coupons?

 

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