The purchasing power crisis is pushing Belgians to look for good deals to fill their shopping cart, but “free or 100% refunded products are increasingly rare”

Contests with prizes to be won, free products, partially or fully reimbursed, paid polls and surveys: Guillaume de Ryckel has been identifying tips for Belgian consumers for almost 10 years.

Launched on February 14, 2013, in the midst of the economic crisis, the website now has 150,000 subscribers to its weekly newsletter with the latest tips and offers. But ten years later, he sees a new, more insidious crisis for Belgian consumers. “When I launched the site, brands sometimes distributed 10,000 or 20,000 free products per campaign. But the difference with 2013 is that in the current crisis, companies are also suffering and are cutting their marketing budgets in particular. And so, today, the campaigns have changed. We are rather on 500 to 5,000 free products per campaign. Moreover, 100% free products are increasingly rare, with brands preferring offers such as 50% money back, or the 2nd at 70% free…”

Reimbursement formulas have also changed. If before, the consumer simply had to print his voucher and give it when going to the checkout to take advantage of the free product, he must now enter the photo of his receipt, his contact details, the data of the product purchased via his smartphone. in order to be reimbursed a few weeks later… “The problem being, when you have a very small budget for your shopping, you have to advance the money for these items before being reimbursed”, notes the creator of facealacrise .be

“But if these products or these free samples are pleasant, what pays the most, and what arouses the most interest on the part of our subscribers, it is all the perks that are paid. Paid online surveys, interviews by videoconference or on site, product testing, mystery shopping actions to test services… You can really save 30 or 50 hours for a little of your time, one to two hours in general “.

Marketing agencies and brands are also very fond of this type of operation, to be able to take the pulse of consumers and understand how they buy, what makes a particular product more attractive, etc. “The only problem is that the profiles sought are sometimes very strict, recruitment companies being very selective. There are therefore few lucky winners in the panel of candidates.

“Fewer offers on the Belgian market”

If many Belgians have made the choice in recent weeks to cross the border to do their shopping in France, it is also because the promotional offers are even more numerous and more interesting there. “Sometimes there are up to 50 simultaneous offers, free products, partial refunds, and the brands also apply their own reductions. It is enormous. But it’s us, there is less competition, fewer brands, and marketing costs more with labels and packaging to be created in two or three languages”.

But if we don’t live on the border, what do we do? “I live in Rixensart. My thing already is to look at the weight per kilo. Because even a branded product on promotion is often more expensive than the distributor product when we refer to the price per kilo. Then, I buy from Delhaize, Aldi and Carrefour products at -50% whose use-by date is about to expire. It is often necessary to pass at the end of the day, on Saturday or before a public holiday. I consume them directly or I put them in the freezer. On October 31, for example, I bought products at half price at Aldi which were still good until the 3…”

Small gestures that save on the shopping budget at the end of the month…

Cut-out coupons, Belgians love them. He is one of the main users of this type of offers in the world. This is called e-couponing, and brands use it to discover or rediscover their products, or to boost their sales at certain slower times.

With the drop in purchasing power, Belgian consumers are looking for this type of voucher, and are using them even more than before. “Carrefour is noticing an upward trend in the use of discount coupons,” the brand points out. An observation that other channels are also making.

These are both financial reductions directly applied to the purchase of certain items, but also additional “points”, accumulated for certain purchases via the loyalty programs of certain large supermarket chains. “However, this type of internal actions within the brands, as Delhaize or Carrefour did in the past, is becoming increasingly rare”, regrets an observer. “A few months ago, customers received personalized letters with vouchers to be cut in order to accumulate points and therefore discounts. This is no longer the case, or less often, today.

Fortunately, sites list these coupons to print in particular. But be careful because in general, there are many sites of this type in France, and the vouchers issued will not be valid with us…

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