How Does an Online Coupon Work?

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Coupons Used Offline

  • Many manufacturers know that individuals increasingly use the Internet to find what they need. This is true of coupons as well. That is why manufacturers have set up sites you can go to to pick and choose what coupons you want and need and print them out right on your own computer. Sites like MyPoints offer tons of coupons for you to choose from. Just click the box next to the coupons you want until you are done going through the list. At the end of the list you can click "Print." The coupons will be printed on your printer. You can cut them out and redeem them at most grocery stores. Each coupon is embedded with a barcode which tells the store's computers what it is for and how much to take off. Each barcode is specific to that coupon so the coupon could not be used for several items.

Coupons Used Online

  • Some manufacturers know that you are going to order online and not take your coupon to the store. That is why they developed another coupon system. This coupon system works by codes. Best Buy may be offering 10% off of laptops one week. To get the deal, you need a code. Online coupons advertise this sale and then give you a coupon code to enter at checkout. Best Buy would have a section for coupon codes in their check out so you type the code in there and click "Update Cart" to see your new balance. This coupon code works much in the same way as the coupons with the bar codes. The written code tells Best Buy which product is on sale and how much to take off. The code is unique to that product.

Coupons That Take You Directly to a Site

  • Many coupons are offered in banner format. When you click on the banner, it takes you to the site with the sale and has the sale prices all set up for you. You don't have to print out any coupons and you don't have to type in any codes. The banner itself is set up with a code by the manufacturers programmer so they do all the work for you. You may see a banner for $25 off your first purchase if you spend $100 at Staples. When you click on this banner, you are taken to Staples where you must spend $100. When you spend the $100 you will then see at checkout that it has automatically deducted the $25. You didn't have to do any extra work to get the discount because the computer was programmed to recognize the banner you clicked.

  • Photo Credit Screwtape
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