Bed Bath and Going Beyond Coupons

Credit: NBC News

Credit: NBC News

You’ve probably gotten that all too familiar bright bluish coupon above in the mail, encouraging you to come save 20% off one item by a certain date. Then if you’re too late, it drops to 10%. Turns out, that coupon business doesn’t seem to be doing the retailer many favors to its bottom line.

Abha Bhattarai, writing at The Washington Post:

Mikki Madden doesn’t shop at Bed Bath & Beyond all that often. But she keeps a stash of hundreds of the retailer’s coupons, just in case.

She sorts them by type -- 20-percent off in the front, $5 off $15 behind them -- and keeps them in a pouch in her car.

“I feel like if I throw them away, I’m throwing away money," said Madden, 53, a retired math teacher who lives in Seaford, Del. “I don’t think I’ve ever shopped there without a coupon."

Bed Bath & Beyond has built a business on coupons. The housewares chain began mailing out 20 percent off “Big Blue” coupons nearly 30 years ago, at a time when sweeping discounts were a novelty. The idea was that the coupons would draw shoppers into the store, where they would then buy other items at full price. And for many years, it worked.

But now, after years of stalled sales and declining profits, the New Jersey-based retailer is pulling back on coupons in a broad effort to turn around its business. The company is mailing out fewer promotions and is choosier about how those offers can be used. (It is common knowledge, frequent shoppers say, that coupons can be used after they’ve expired, and that multiple coupons can be applied to each transaction.)

In 2016, the company rolled out a new loyalty program, where for $29 a year you could get 20% off your entire purchase, as well as free shipping if shopping online. However, unfortunately with trying to obtain loyal customers that way, it has also eaten into company profits. You might recall awhile back that JCPenney had also tried to do away with their coupons, and instead switched to “low” prices. Needless to say this didn’t go over well, and ultimately the company would bring the coupon program back the following year.

I’d like to open it up to readers for your thoughts on this. What tends to get you into a store more? Loyalty programs? Coupons? Lower prices? All of the above? Feel free to comment below!