Judy’s Book, which has gone through a very interesting and very public change in its business model – from local directory with reviews to shopping site – has now launched a search engine for deals and coupons: CouponLooker.com. It seeks to be an aggregator of deals online to enable people to find them more quickly and easily. There’s also a widget strategy for affiliate distribution.
Of course, people love deals and saving money. But you still might be surprised to hear that the total face value of distributed coupons in the U.S. was a whopping $332 billion in 2006 (most of which were never redeemed) and that more than 79% of the U.S. population uses coupons. There are also data that show more than 50% of Sunday newspapers are purchased for the coupons.
Given all this consumer interest in coupons and the value of the market as a whole, it’s also something of a surprise there really hasn’t been a good place to find them online since the bubble burst in 2000-2001. That might give Judy’s Book an opportunity here versus some existing sites that haven’t seemed to grab solid mindshare.
Among existings sites, there are Coupons.com and CoolSavings, which have been around for some time. There is also Valpak.com, the online companion to the popular direct mail couponer. There’s also Boodle (not to be confused with classifieds aggregator Oodle), which offers grocery coupons. Finally, there’s IAC’s Entertainment (“The Entertainment Book”), a hit offline but so far a non-entity online.
I’m sure there are others; but the point is that there’s no “top of mind” coupon site for most consumers. And most coupon sites, because of uneven coverage, are “push” models instead of “pull” (the search model). As an aside, coupons are interesting for two additional reasons: their application to mobile and the way that they help track the relationship and “close the loop” between online advertising and offline purchases.
Google has added coupons to Google Maps through deals with Valpak and, only this week, signed a deal with PennySaver. It also allows local businesses to create coupons in its local business center (Yahoo also allows businesses to add coupons and introduced a coupons “shortcut”). Still coupons have not been highly visible on Google or Yahoo either.
As I said, Judy’s Book has a real opportunity to build a consumer destination for coupons. And while online coupons are still a tiny fraction of the total market, they’re poised for growth. I previously estimated that the total face value of online coupons will be worth just over $16 billion in 2010 and the redeemed value of those coupons will be about $2.4 billion.