A few weeks ago, a reader asked me about coupons in Israel. In particular, the reader wanted to know why coupons do not exist here the way they do in the USA and what alternative steps can be taken to reduce the cost of shopping.
To begin, I’d like to take a look at the reasons that companies offer coupons and see which apply in Israel:
(1) store bait – Many companies use coupons to bait you to come to the store. Super Pharm is probably the best Israeli company at using this tactic; their coupons keep people coming as often as possible selling not only the items on sale, but the entire range of their products as well. Many supermarkets such as Mega Bool and Shufersal take this even further, only offering their promotions if you spend beyond some a particular amount. This more primitive method of coupon strategy is alive in Israel just as much, if not more, than in the USA.
(2) promotion – Another common marketing strategy is for a company to use a coupon in order to get you to notice or try something new. When Muller brought all of their yogurts and cheeses into Israel, they kept a high price in order to market themselves as a high end product, but sent a number of coupons all over Israel, offering cheaper and even free yogurt and cheese. The more extreme case of this is yoplait, which prefers giving out samples in the store for customers to eat on the spot. The promotional coupon does exist in Israel, but is much more common in the United States, where more new products are introduced on a more regular basis.
(3) price discrimination. Just like authors sell their books in hardcover to get money from the die-hard fans and then sell a softcover to other readers who would only be willing to pay a lower price, so too, coupons allow for regular shoppers to pay more and those who plan in advance to pay less. A planned dollar (and shekel) gets you more; companies know it, and they want to make sure they can still benefit from it.
In my opinion, and I have only observation and speculation to back this up, it is in this area that Israel differs greatly from the US. In the US, consumers tend to hunt for a good price; in Israel, they go to the shuk and bargain for it. This explans why the Israeli businesses that I have seen offer the most coupons are the ones where people tend to bargain least – hotels, restaurants, spas and attractions.
How to get coupons: Unlike the Sunday circulars of yesteryear, nowadays coupons are all about the internet. In Israel, before going out to dinner or even ordering a pizza, a quick google search is likely to bring up a site with some sort of coupon. Below is a list of sites that offer coupons for hotels, zimmers, attractions, and restaurants.
In addition, lots of coupons are offered on the website of a particular restaurant or attraction, so the best thing is to google the attraction, find its site and see what they offer.
Unfortunately, this does not help very much with food shopping. In my opinion, when foodshopping, it’s more about where you shop, not how you shop (see this previous post about where to go foodshopping).
Do you have any additional places where you look to find coupons in Israel? If so, please mention it in the comments below.