Business Professor Tulay Girard of Penn State Altoona recently talked about how important couponing has become, especially with the current economic recession that the country (and a number of other countries as well) is experiencing. Couponing’s nationwide popularity really started to spread rapidly when TLC’s show ‘Extreme Couponing’ was aired and ran for a number of weeks.

According to Professor Girard, companies create coupons because of extreme competition. Companies offer coupons when the product is at its introduction stage and companies want to create brand loyalty for that product. Coupons are also offered by companies if the product is at a decline stage, in order to increase product sales. Companies also caution themselves from frequently offering coupons because it might lead consumers to buy the product only if coupons are available.

On the subject of online coupons, Professor Girard said that it would be better for consumers to download only from trusted coupon sites in order to prevent malware that collects a user’s private information.

On the subject of daily deal sites like Groupon or Living Social, Professor Girard said that sites like Groupon inspire impulse buying in its members. Also, these sites carry a certain risk, because shoppers will need to enter their credit card information regardless of whether that particular Groupon reaches the minimum number of buyers or not.

As a piece of advice in order to avoid being scammed, Professor Girard said that trustworthy sites like Groupon reveal important information on the website (privacy statement, terms and conditions, the process of securing credit card information, etc.). If consumers cannot find this important information on a particular site, it would be better not to continue subscribing to the site.