In a world where a "grande" latte with extra foam and a squirt of mocha costs $4.75, the word "FREE" is reason enough to look twice at anything.Â Panda Express, the popular Chinese food takeout, is using free online coupons to give their dedicated, and maybe no so dedicated, customers the chance to score some free grub. Panda Express requires their consumers to print out their coupons and bring them to a Panda Express restaurant in order to be redeemed.
The internet is being used not only by Panda Express, but by other companies to promote deals and special offers. Many smart shoppers have become familiar with the site Retailmenot.com, a site that features coupon codes for free shipping, 10-15 percent off of purchases, and other special offers that would otherwise be unavailable in the stores.
The internet is not the only technology being used to draw in customers. Fast food chains such as Subway have begun to utilize text message coupons as a way of drawing customers in to their restaurants. While in college my roomate and I would look forward to the days when she received the "buy one get one free 6 inch sub" texts, prompting us to jump into the car and make a special trip down to stuff our faces with a Subway Sub on the cheesy Italian bread.
One benefit of this new electronic coupon trend is the reduction of paper paper waste. How many times have you looked over the sunday newspaper and thought,Â "What a waste in paper the clip-out section is. I don't even LIKE prunes!" Hopefully, the days of mom clipping select coupons out of the sunday penny saver will be gone for good.Â Instead, she can check her text messages for the three dollars off a dozen hair ties at CVS, while surfing the internet for free Panda Express meals.