huntington beach pierHuntington Beach Coupons

When Huntington Beach Downtown Business Improvement District began its effort to promote the downtown with coupons (several years ago), the most popular offerings didn't really require any special piece of paper to enjoy. The afternoon happy hour menus at Dukes, Savannah's, Beachfront 301 and other spots were known through word of mouth advertising. People told people, or invited friends to join them for an affordable meal and cocktail at half price. But several of the downtown businesses have requested the organization represent them with coupons, and as a result, Huntington Beach Coupon was launched.

Today, in addition to the Clipper, The Shopper and a new coupon publication called Orange County something or 'nother, our favorite coupons can be had from time to time in the Orange County Register's Wave newspaper on Thursdays, or in the Huntington Beach Independent coming out the very same day.

Salesmen such as Mark Harmon, formerly with the HB Independent and now the Clipper, have gone a long way in making our coupon world brighter (thanks, Mark!)

With The Local News offering a new Gold standard in coupons, we've yet to see the coupons that will be produced, but suspect there will be restaurants among the offerings.

Another program was announced by Council Member Joe Carchio. Reported as city sponsored, one city official said it doesn't endorse any coupon programs that they were aware. We've yet to get clarification on this program the council member mentioned, and to learn the city's role in this new launch.

The Downtown BID's coupon program is heading into full swing soon with downtown merchants stirring up some specials for the public to enjoy through its own program, as well, though many downtown merchants say they are entering their busiest time of year.

While merchants look at coupons as a way to drum up business, many say they are doing better with their special daily offers, nightly entertainment and ongoing offers.

"Coupons are really old-fashioned in their approach," said one merchant, who prefers to offer daily themed events and entertainment and "in house" special drinks. Not using coupons, the restaurant & bar feels it's better to offer value, and they have not noticed decline in business.

While the goal of coupons may be to offer a marketing tool through tracking, or to get would-be customers to try a new menu or product, in down economic cycles, the coupon offers don't necessarily convert new buyers into loyal shoppers.

"We found we were giving away food practically," said one sandwich shop owner, who tried an offer of "buy one sandwich, get one free". "While we did stimulate sales, our profits declined, and we had to discontinue the coupons. We didn't see a significant rise in business after the offer ended, and the customers who found out about us or came only with coupon in hand said they could only eat our sandwiches if they were half price," he said. We found it was better marketing to not have coupon discounts, as the $1 and $2 off offers didn't do much.

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