Valpak is Hiding $100 Checks in Some Coupon Envelopes

Direct-marketing business Valpak is known for its monthly envelope of coupons, but the company is using a new tactic to keep people from tossing its budget-savers: $100 checks.

Valpak announced that it has tucked $100 checks inside some of the envelopes. The checks will show up in random envelopes each month of this year. The chances of winning are roughly 1 in 50,000.

Valpak says there are “no strings attached” to the check. The move is merely a tactic to get people to actually open the coupon envelopes.

The envelopes will say “Look inside! $100 could be in this envelope.” The checks will be wrapped in an insert.

Valpak has been offering $100 checks for decades, but they normally only use this strategy in certain markets. For the first time ever, the company will be offering the checks in each of its 150 markets, all at the same time.

The next batch is scheduled to be mailed on April 7.

Last year, Valpak delivered 36 checks in the Grand Rapids area, but only eight people cashed them. The company is spreading the word about the promotion in hopes of getting more people to participate and cash their checks.

News of the $100 checks comes as eBay has officially shared another spring savings coupon: 15% off nearly everything sitewide. The coupon can be obtained through major coupon sites like CouponVario and on eBay itself. Consumers need to spend at least $25 in order to use the coupon.

There are restrictions on certain items, like gift cards, real estate, coins and paper money.

eBay rarely runs promotions that offer sitewide discounts, but earlier in March, they ran a similar deal: 20% off items priced $25 or more with a $100 discount maximum.

The reason these types of promotions are rare is because eBay foots the bill for the discount – not the sellers. Because the promotions aren’t heavily promoted, many sellers say they haven’t seen much of a change in their sales.

When the online auction does run this type of promotion, it’s typically for one day only.

Only registered users in the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada are eligible for such promotions. The coupon is only valid on cafr.ebay.ca, ebay.com, and ebay.ca.

The sitewide promotions come just ahead of eBay’s Spring Black Friday sale. During this special promotion, eBay will launch new deals every day until April 3.

All of eBay’s sales and promotions use digital coupons, a growing trend in the industry. Data from 2013 through 2016 suggests that the number of mobile coupons has increased from 61 million to 104 million.

Digital coupons have seen five years of double-digit growth.

Loyalty cards are another trend in the industry, widely used in grocery stores. Buyers load coupons to their cards and enjoy savings at the check-out line.

A new study has found that coupons have a significant impact on buyer behavior. About 45% of shoppers in 2017 said they loaded coupons to their loyalty cards. That’s up from 37% in 2016. Among those who load their cards regularly, 90% say the coupon changed their buying behavior.

Coupons cause buyers to buy more, buy sooner and to make purchases from brands they may not have otherwise considered.

Among those surveyed, 39% said they would buy from a brand they otherwise would not; 39.1% said they’d buy sooner; 18.1% said they’d switch back; 29.9% said they’d buy a different product from a brand; 38.5% said they would buy more.

Load-to-Card coupons have seen growth of 587% between 2013 and 2017. Free-standing inserts and print-at-home coupons have declined by 21% and 27% respectively.

Among those who participated in the survey, 40% said they looked for digital coupons before going to the store.

Distribution of load-to-card coupons has increased by 38% between 2016 and 2017. Redemption of these coupons has increased by 67% in the same time period.

While coupons from free-standing-inserts, like those found in the Sunday newspaper, account for 90.8% of coupons distributed and 34.6% of coupons redeemed, load-to-card coupons still accounted for 10.9% of coupons redeemed while only accounting for 1.1% of all coupons.

Shoppers are searching for more convenient ways to save money at the register. Online coupons, like those offered by eBay, fill this need. While there are still many consumers who prefer free-standing-inserts, like those offered by Valpak, the shift to mobile and digital coupons is hard to ignore.

As retailers determine that digital coupons and load-to-card offers are more convenient and preferred by shoppers, there will be a continued shift away from print-at-home and free-standing-inserts.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.