As consumers, we are quickly moving from a group that pushes carts to one that pushes computer keys.
Online shopping, in some categories, has usurped the bricks and mortar experience: think movie rentals and travel. Consumers opt to buy online for convenience, price and broad product selection. With the present economic downturn, price has come to the forefront as the driving force for online shopping.
Shopping online for deals: How low can prices go?
For those who have made the transition to online consumerism, obtaining a promotional code is the Grail Sangraal of Internet shopping … ensuring the lowest possible price on the purchase being made. Offered by retailers, those short strings of numbers and/or letters are proffered to thank consumers for past patronage, as a promotional offer or to make amends for a service problem. Promo codes most often come in the form of a discount or free shipping. The downside is that they are bestowed upon us at the retailer’s whim and tend to appear post-purchase. They are only of use if we plan to return to the retailer to purchase again, and usually within a limited time window. Bottom-line: we are not in control.
Ever the deal hunter, I was thus intrigued when I learned about CurrentCodes.com. Touted as a clearinghouse for promotional codes, it follows more than 2,000 top retailers – everything from fashion and computers to travel and food – and offers timely and accurate lists of coupon and discount codes. The site also lists sales and other discounts that are in effect at the retailers it follows. Now, with some sleuthing, the “control” shifts back to the consumer.
According to CurrentCodes, when the site launched and began sharing promo codes with the public, retailers resisted. Promotional codes are a marketing and customer service tool and there was a logical desire by the retailers to control distribution and usage. However, once the benefits became evident – increased traffic to their sites and a measurable uptick in sales – CurrentCodes was seen an ally. Now, mega-stores such as Amazon.com and Overstock.com pay CurrentCodes for every customer who links to their website from CurrentCodes and makes a purchase. The site also receives a certain percent of the amount spent. The customer saves money, and both CurrentCodes and the retailer make money.
A visit to the site on July 5 – with fashion as my focus – found promo discount codes at numerous retailers, including Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Bloomingdale’s, BlueFly, Chico’s, Gap and Saks Fifth Avenue. The site is easy to navigate: browse by merchant, alphabetically, or by category. A quick Google search uncovered additional sites such as promotionalcodes.com, RetailMeNot.com, CouponCabin.com and DealHunting.com and using similar parameters (women’s fashion) found Calvin Klein, Linea Pelle, Kate Spade, Steve Madden and many others.
Now if only I can locate a code for that cute Pucci handbag….