If it’s Not Broken, Don’t Fix it!

Written by: Julie Determann, Account Supervisor

EVERYONE knows about the Bed Bath & Beyond 20% OFF coupons. We selectively pick them out from our mailbox clutter, saving and stock piling them until needed…And, unfortunately for our wallet, that time comes along more often than expected. Every time a Bridal Shower, Graduation or Housewarming Party Invite arrives, we dig into our stack and head to the retail store, determined to purchase a perfect “cost-efficient” household gift.

Bed Bath & Beyond has successfully developed a well-known and coveted direct mail identity. These fun jumbo postcards have been arriving in our mailboxes for years. They are simplistic in terms of design and copy. No fancy product or store pictures, just big, blue and always 20% OFF.

Best part, these coupons we’ve grown to love never expire. Cashiers do not even check the expiration date because the coupons are always valid. They are also always for the same set amount 20% OFF a single item. Occasionally we might even get a surprise, “20% OFF an entire purchase”. As an added bonus, we have the ability to use “up to 5 coupons” per shopping transaction. Why would anyone choose to shop elsewhere? At Bed Bath & Beyond, you are guaranteed an automatic savings as long as you surrender your coupons.

I don’t have actual proof, but I believe due to this clever couponing tactic, Bed Bath & Beyond has become a #1 bridal shower registry destination.  Everyone wants to shop where they feel they are getting a deal. And Brides and Grooms alike encourage guests to tactfully save a little cash on registered items, in hopes that guests can afford to buy them even more!

So after praising Bed Bath & Beyond’s very smart marketing technique, it pains me to share the coupon I recently received (see below). The once welcome and expected offer is now a variable, time-sensitive discount (save 20% or 10% OFF — save more the sooner you use it). They’ve also changed the postcard color from blue to black (almost as if the card itself is depressed that it isn’t valued as much).

As a direct marketer, we always encourage clients to set an expiration date to “create urgency” and “drive traffic” into their store.  That is a key technique when developing an offer, however it only works if you have a strict non-flexible redemption policy that holds to those terms.  Bed Bath and Beyond has decidedly taken a stand against preset expiration dates and limit one coupon policies…this leniency  will be difficult to reverse and likely cause ill will among their very loyal customers.

To my knowledge theh 20% OFF Bed Bath & Beyond online, email and mobile coupons have not been affected so hopefully this is just a short-lived direct mail marketing ploy or possibly I was part of an offer redemption test to see if they can increase sales numbers by urging customers to shop now instead of hoarding their coupons for a later date.

But, if Bed Bath & Beyond wants to back peddle to change/reduce their coupon incentives, it could potentially hurt their sales and their reputation. In my opinion, shoppers will not be as inclined to go to their store for a meager 10% OFF, especiallly when they feel as if they are entitled to more, that their deserved 20% discount was revoked.