Joyce Riebe runs a dog rescue in her home.
Each week she buys lots of dog food and laundry detergent. And she has a favorite brand: P&G's Tide. "Having dogs, I do a lot of laundry, and it has come out smelling nice. I love Tide," she said.
So she was stunned to open up the latest P&G Brand Saver insert in her community newspaper, and find the coupons missing.
"They had what looked like coupons that are not coupons," she said.
Instead of the usual $1 off Tide coupon (or even bigger coupons for Tide Pods, Downy, Bounce and Gain) that she clips from the Brand Saver, was a little box that told her to go online and register for digital P&G coupons.
"If you are not reading them closely, you don't see that," Riebe said.
Doesn't Want Digital Coupons
Riebe says she likes to clip coupons the old fashioned way, not register for them, where marketers then have her email address.
In addition, she says she struggles with her home printer, and doesn't want to have to print her coupons. And don't even get her started about downloading them to her phone. She doesn't want to attempt that.
"But if you don't go onto their website, you can't get coupons for them anymore, not out of their P&G Brand Saver," she said.
Riebe says she's noticed a real cutback in coupons lately, in the fliers that arrive at her doorstep or are in the newspaper.
She says there are a lot of ads, but fewer and few coupons to clip, pointing out that dollar store ads are taking space that used to be for product coupons.
And the coupons she does clip require you to purchase more items to use them. "They are tougher, because you have to buy more to get the same amount off," she said.
Fewer and Fewer Coupons
Time Magazine says paper coupons have been declining about 6% a year, as brands switch to digital coupons, that lead to more shopper loyalty and lets stores better track usage.
Kroger, for instance, has made a big push to digital coupons that you download onto your smartphone.
We contacted Procter & Gamble, which had no comment on the change at this point.
However, the coupon blog Coupons in the News.com posted comments from P&G's Facebook page, that explained it is experimenting with new ways to deliver coupons in the digital age, that better reward loyal customers.
"The value and variety of coupons will vary from month to month and even by region“ P&G continuously tests ways to reach consumers and extend more valuable offers to our most loyal customers," P&G said in Coupons in the News.
Other shoppers say their Brand Saver inserts still have real coupons inside, so it appears to be a regional marketing strategy: your insert may still have them for now.
But for old fashioned coupon clippers like Joyce....the great deals are getting harder to find.
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