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Coupons first saw general use in 1909 when C.W. Post gave people a one cent discount on Grape Nuts, followed by other products. Today, more than 2, 800 packaged goods companies furnish coupons for discounts on their products. They can even be found on the grocery shelves next to the products or fixed directly to the product to provide an immediate incentive to try the product. In 2010, coupons for consumer packaged goods generated more than 3. 5 billion dollars in transactions within the U. S alone.

Coupon clippers can now enjoy many distinct types of coupons such as simple discounts, free shipping, volume discounts, product pairing and free giveaways.

 Role for Corporations

Coupons can be used to research the price sensitivity of varying groups of buyers (by sending out coupons with different dollar values to isolated groups ). In addition, it is often assumed that buyers with the discipline to collect and use coupons are more price sensitive than those who that do not. Accordingly, the gap in price paid by price-insensitive buyers can be increased by using coupon discounts to target the  the  price - sensitive ( who would not buy at a larger price ).

 Internet Coupons

 Online retailers recurrently cite to coupons as " coupon codes, " " promotional codes, " " promotion codes, " " discount codes, " " offer codes, " " promo codes, " "  " " shopping codes or " " voucher codes. " [citation needed] Internet coupons typically provide free or upgraded shipping,  a specific dollar or rate discount, or some sort of product upgrade or bonus to help close the sale or attract deal conscious online consumers.

 Coupon Fraud

Many retailers and manufacturers employ various methods to avoid unintended use of coupons and coupon forgery. Methods include barcodes. meaningful coupon id numbers, holographic seals, watermarked paper and dealer numbers to call for offers over a certain value.  Since online coupon codes are stored in a database, fraud isn't a problem.