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I woke up to 15 coupons in my email accounts(!) today. Some are things I signed up for and others are part of a rewards program or promotional campaigns. And I suspect I will not use a single one of them. It is not just that I am not looking for helicopter rides this month, it is also because my local pharmacy has sent a coupon that will have to be printed out to be usable when I visit the store the next time.

If the idea of coupons is to win over new customers or to encourage brand loyalty, there has to be ease of use. It seems to me that while the way people deliver coupons have changed this is as hit or miss as those coupon packages that land in my mailbox ever so often. And the sheer volume of paper junk mail has prompted me to drop the whole package unopened into the recycling bin more than once. I will have to start doing enmasse clutter clearance for my e-coupons too.

As a consumer, I want coupons that are relevant and useful to my current shopping needs. I need them to be usable as is without having to print things out. I am sure this is true for most shoppers.

Small businesses and large corporations have jumped on the idea of e-promotions but seem to be thinking in terms of mass mailing without really embracing the promise of new technology. There is no need to replace or replicate one kind of spam with a different kind of spam. Why would I want to friend a parking garage on Facebook to get an occasional deal that may be useless? For heaven’s sake, stand out with innovative campaigns that will make your customers think of you positively and make it easier to access your deals.

Here are my questions to the consumers out there – How do you handle digital coupons? Do you use them? Do you unsubscribe after trying things out? Do you take the effort to print out and take stuff with you when you go shopping? Do you shop for something just because there is free shipping?