Jul 11, 2023

Everything You Need to Know About Digital Coupons

Are you trying to save more of your hard-earned dollars? Digital coupons come to help. These days digital coupons have taken over paper coupons. This means that understanding and using them can help save even more. Here are 7 steps to get started with digital coupons.

Why would you want to heavy up on coupons this year? Well, with the rising food prices, coupons are a great way to save money. Digital coupons are a way to go! So what are digital coupons? They are coupons that you can use like paper coupons, but these coupons come in electronic form. There are several types of digital coupons: store or manufacturer coupons, offers in rebate and cashback apps.

In Canada you can find digital coupons inside mobile apps whether it's your grocery store or fast food chain app (say, McDonald's Canada). The digital coupons usually include a scannable bar code or a discount code. Certain coupons may included both.

Digital coupons push paper coupons away. It's now easier to show your smartphone to the cashier to take the code or scan the coupon. Digital coupons, also known as promo codes, give discounts and savings when you shop online. 

The role of digital and electronic coupons has not changed. They are meant to create more incentives for buyers to purchase a product or service. The biggest advantage of digital coupons is that their reach is much bigger than paper coupons'. Also, digital coupons are less expensive to get to consumers. Setting up digital coupons on a site or in an app is cheaper than printing and mailing.

Let's explore more in depth what other advantages digital coupons can offer and how to get digital coupons in Canada.

1. Digital grocery coupons inside your store's app or website

Grocery store apps and websites are your first source of digital coupons. Some of these electronic coupons are store coupons (issued by stores themselves) and some of them are manufacturer coupons (brand coupons). 

Download the store's app, create an account, and check the coupons and offers section for the newest offers and discounts. Read the conditions as certain digital coupons can be in-store only, the other ones can be applied on both in-store and in-app purchases. Also, check the expiry date on the coupons.

Here is a list of Canadian grocery stores and direct links to their digital coupons and apps.

2. Digital retail coupons and promo codes

Retail stores are probably the second most active users of digital coupons and promo codes. Michael's, The Bay and many more use digital coupons and offers to introduce new products or to move older products off shelves.

Some retails and brands allow to stack up 2 online digital coupons or codes in one purchase. Gap Canada promotes that actively, for example. Since Gap has different promos all the time, you can use the promo's coupon and apply it along with another sale coupon on their website.

If you are not familiar with the term "stacking coupons", it refers to using more than one discount on a single item or within the same transactions. "Stacking coupons" gives the best discount... No, the best discount is when the item is already on sale (like 30% off), then you apply at least 2 coupons!

A lot of extreme couponers as shown on TV are pros of coupon stacking, which helps them tons of money. You should always stack digital coupons if there is an opportunity for that.

3. Download cashback apps

Cashback and rebate apps are not digital coupons, but they offer savings that can match the savings you usually get from traditional coupons. 

The most interesting scenario is when you get a rebate from a purchase on which you already applied a digital coupon. What's that?

You get a product into your shopping cart in your grocery store of choice. You get to the cashier, show the digital coupon on your smartphone, get a discount, go to your car, take the receipt out, scan it inside your rebate app, and get an additional discount.

Here are the most popular cashback apps in Canada:

4. Digital coupons are usually taken first

Most stores apply coupons and discounts in a specific order. If you have several coupons to use, digital coupons usually come first. The research by a US website shows that this is the usual order of how coupons are added to in-store purchases:

  • Digital coupons
  • Minimum-purchase-required coupons
  • Manufacturer coupons
  • Store coupons

5. Look for weekly digital coupons and digital freebies

Every now and then you may be getting notifications from your apps about new coupons and offers available. Make sure you are signed up to the email list of that brand or app. Make also sure your notifications for the apps are on on your device. You don't want to miss these delicious offers.

Let's see an example. Wendy's Canada has recently announced a free breakfast inside their app. That offer was valid for several days only. It was one per person for the duration of the promo. A nice freebie that I would have missed if I was not signed up to their email list in the Wendy's app.

6. Don't give up if your digital coupon does not apply correctly

If the digital coupon does not apply correctly, do a couple of basic things.

  • Clean up your phone's screen so that the coupon is scannable.
  • Make sure you haven't already used this coupon.
  • Make sure the digital coupon is not expired.

Digital coupons are a fun adventure if you are a dedicated couponer or if you want to spend some money on your weekly groceries and retail shopping, both online and offline. 

7. Download brand apps

This is a very valid point if you visit fast-food chains like McDonald's, KFC, Harvey's, A and W, Wendy's. The fast-food companies are moving away from offering paper and print coupons. Their offers are solely present in their mobile apps. Find time and room on your device to get such apps in the mix.

Here are some more resources to start your digital coupon journey:

Bonus Point

The traditional coupon sites that used to send out printed coupons have switched to digital coupons. Over 90% of the coupons that you find on sites like Websaver or GoCoupons.ca are digital. It's worth checking these sites out and getting the maximum of the coupons they offer.