There are two types of categories that all coupons that can be used at grocery stores and drugstores fall into. These are Manufacturer Coupons and Store Coupons. Both are distributed to shoppers different ways including as printable online coupons, eCoupons, mobile coupons and the traditional paper coupons.
Manufacturer CouponsManufacturer coupons are distributed by the companies that make the products. They are treated similar to cash at any store that accepts coupons.
What Do Manufacturer Coupons Look Like?Manufacturer's coupons come in all sizes and designs, but there are certain elements in the design that most have for marketing and control purposes. This includes:
- The words "Manufacturer Coupon" will usually be on the top of the coupon.
- Usage terms describing how the coupon can be used, including any limits and expiration dates.
- An address to where the stores should send the coupons for redemption.
- One or two barcode images with a series of numbers.
Finding Manufacturer CouponsManufacturer coupons can be found in a variety of places including in the Sunday newspaper inserts, magazines, direct-mailers, inside product packaging, inside of stores and from Catalina coupon dispensers.
Another good source for manufacturer coupons is online sites that offer printable coupons. These sites work with the national manufacturers to help control and distribute the coupons.
Store CouponsStore coupons are distributed by the stores and redemption is usually limited to the store that has issued the coupon.
For example, if you have an Albertson's store coupon, it can only be redeemed at Albertsons. The exception to this is in stores that have a coupon policy that will accept competitor's coupons.
Stores distribute their own coupons as a way to promote products for a short span of time. This is often seen over holiday weekends, weekly promotions, on special purchases such as seasonal produce and with promotions that are coordinated with national campaigns.
Store coupons are also used as loss leaders. Loss leaders are products that stores sell at drastically reduced prices to entice customers into the store. It is the hope that once the customers have entered the store they will purchase other items along with the loss leader.
What Do Store Coupons Look Like?
- Most store coupons will either have "Store Coupon" or the name of the store printed on the top of the coupon.
- You will also see store coupons with specific requirements that must be met in order to activate the coupon. For example, the terms on a store coupon may require that your total purchase is over a certain dollar amount before the coupon can be deducted.
Finding Store CouponsStore coupons are distributed in the Sunday newspaper or mid-week through direct mail. Small neighborhood stores often put coupons in subdivision newsletters. You can also find national store coupons online at the stores' websites and at printable coupon and eCoupon sites.
At drugstores like Walgreens, CVS and RiteAid, you can find coupons online and inside of the stores in the form of pamphlets or hanging around the end-caps of store displays.
At many CVS stores there is a coupon dispenser that prints store coupons.
Walgreens has a monthly coupon book filled with store coupons that you can pick up at the front of the store.
Manufacturer Coupons With Store Names AdvertisedProbably up to this point you were doing okay with understanding how to identify manufacturer coupons and store coupons. But then comes along the coupon designed to confuse us all -- the one that is actually a manufacturer's coupon, but uses the space on the coupon to sell advertising to a specific store.
Does this mean that you cannot use the coupon at other stores? No, not necessarily. Unless the words, "Redeem Only at (Store Name)" or "Good Only at (Store Name)" is printed on the coupon, you should be able to use it just like any other manufacturer coupon.
Why is It Important to Know the Type of Coupons?You may be wondering why you need to know if you have a manufacturer or a store coupon. They all redeem, right? Well, yes, but you will learn as you begin using coupons that depending on the type of coupons that you have will determine how the coupon can be redeemed.
For example, stores usually do not allow customers to use more than one store coupon on one item. However, many stores will allow customers to use a manufacturer's coupon and a store coupon together on one item. This is one example of the coupon strategy called stacking coupons.
Say that you have a manufacturer's coupon for $1 off Campbell's soup. You are shopping at Target, and you have two store coupons (Target printed on top) for the same soup - both for $1 off.
You only want to buy one can of soup. Target will not allow you to use both your store coupons on one can of soup, but you can use the manufacturer's coupon and the Target store coupon together on one can.
Coupons and Store PromotionsRetail stores do not always allow store coupons to be redeemed on items that are advertised in the weekly circulars.
For example, the store may be running a buy-one-get-one free weekly discount on soups. If you happen to have a store coupon for the same soup, many stores will not accept it. But, if you have a manufacturer's coupon for the same soup, they will accept it.
Bottom-LineDeciphering the different types of coupons will become a lot easier once you get more involved in using coupon strategies to save money at the grocery store.