It’s likely that you’ve already come across this scene: a consumer shows a coupon to the cashier for some discount. This kind of action is quite common abroad, especially in the United States, and should become frequent for Brazilians as well.
Brazil‘s Cuponeria counts on it. The company was responsible for the first discount coupon of the fast-food chain McDonald’s in the country. The startup was founded in 2011 by friends Thiago Brandão, Nara Iachan and Lionardo Nogueira. At the time, the trio saw an opportunity to popularize the format in the country and help consumers save money.
Cuponeria: a startup from the “coupon culture”
Brazilian startup Cuponeria develops a platform that distributes around 1 million coupons per month, has 7 million users and a thousand partner companies, including Americanas, Marisa, Amazon, iFood, Casas Bahia, McDonald’s, among others.
The startup completed ten years in October and continues to invest heavily in promoting coupons. Today, consumers and brands are more used to this kind of discount, which encourage consumers to close deals and also serves as a strategy to increase retailers’ sales.
“When we founded Cuponeria, companies did not believe in coupons in Brazil. Retailers did not have the technology to accept it”, notes Cuponeria’s CEO Thiago Brandão. “During our growth journey, we need to teach companies the value of coupons and learn from them what kind of technology we should build to make the format work.”
With the pandemic, Cuponeria saw the search for coupons grow — especially for e-commerces. According to Google Trends, the search for discount coupons during the pandemic increased 20% from the previous period. During this period, the company has estimated to handle more than BRL 180 million.
It was also during this time that the Cuponeria doubled its turnover and size, reaching 100 employees on the startup’s team.
However, this dive into digital was not easy, as Cuponeria focused its solutions, mainly, on coupons for physical retail. By changing its strategy to meet the volume of online demand, the startup came across another common benefit abroad, but little known to Brazilians: cashback.
From discounts to cashback
Another tool that has been gaining influence in Brazilian e-commerce, cashback is still far from popular. In this format, a percentage of the cost consumers pay on their purchases is returned as a credit to a wallet selected by the seller. Cuponeria’s CEO comments that the pandemic has boosted this form of consumption due to the increase in online sales.
“Cashback was very much driven by the pandemic. Companies needed to find ways to get closer to the consumer. And cashback is an interesting format because the consumer always wins. You don’t need to get a coupon or run a campaign, because every day you have some cashback. This increases brand loyalty”, explains Brandão.
For the co-founder of Cuponeria, the two formats are complementary.
The executive believes that the experience of “getting your money back” is still linked to a small niche. The startup intends to scale the cashback so that they are present not only in large purchases, such as electronics and furniture but also in everyday expenses. For the CEO of Cuponeria, the way in which the future of shopping experiences will be greatly influenced by the duo “coupon + cashback”.
“The new way of shopping is more connected to the user experience than the old one, in which you just put the product in the cart and that’s it. The arrival of these platforms like Shopee is very interesting because it takes many retailers out of their comfort zones, of not making campaigns, promoting coupons, not developing gamification on their sales process”, comments Brandão.
With the return of economic activities in physical commerce and the growth of online, the company maintains positive expectations for the future. “For 2022, we want to win over 30 million members and the expectation is to close the year 2021 with BRL 300 million in cashback transactions and BRL 700 million in all types of transactions”, says co-founder of the startup Cuponeria, Nara Iachan.
Corporate benefits as a service
In addition to solutions to help consumers save money, Cuponeria has also been expanding its operations to offer more services to corporate customers. One of these is a loyalty program for financial brands.
With Bradesco, one of the largest banks in Brazil, the company developed the technology to plug its coupon and benefits service into the banking application. Thus, the startup offers the service of a loyalty program to complement the experience of brands in the financial sector.
“Today, when you choose a bank, you are not just interested in an account. You want to know what cashback it gives, what the benefits are, what more the bank provides. But for the bank, the essential part of its business is to take care of the financial part of its experience, not to mention discounts. But that’s what the consumer wants. And that’s where we help the banks and other financial institutions”, explains Brandão.