A simple, "not to be used in conjunction with any sale, or price reduction" on store coupons will solve any problems with understanding and implementing promotions. Manufacturer's coupons are to promote manufacturer's products, and I see no incentive for them to implement any coupon wording or policy that may reduce sales of their products. With Extreme Couponing, it is the conjunctive use of manufacturer coupons, store coupons, sales, and any additional promotions (such as doubling, tripling, additional dollars off, etc) that makes free products available. If couponing is impacting the availability of sale product, impose limits. I'd think that if you have a couponer in your area, have managers create a relationship so that they can have product available, maintain coupon policies to ensure that they are prepared for the total that they will incur, and even to help eliminate overstock of sale product at the culmination of a promotion. Say you order 100 cases of Brawny 8 ct. towels before a sale. You sell about 80 cases worth as of the day before the sale ends. By maintaining a relationship with your local couponers, you can contact them about the remaining product and see if they want or need any. This helps to eliminate your overstock, you've suddenly become her/his favorite retail location, and you still get reimbursed for your product. We all want to sell our product at full price. Couponers are not your typical customer, and will not habitually come to your store for regular shopping. You may even be able to get some positive community relations through the couponers, who tend to donate any product that they cannot store or that will expire before they can use it. With positive mentions and active relationship building, you can gain customers apart from the couponer. You can even ask him/her to call before he/she comes to the store so that you can have a register ready to reduce the impact on other customers. This still doesn't eliminate the costs. Merchandise whose sale price is reduced below the store's cost as a loss leader, when subjected to extreme couponing, can be detrimental to your bottom line. You gain no additional sales from the customer to balance the loss, you expend greater resources accommodating a couponer, and you don't even have the hope that they will come back in the future for a true purchase. Finding a balance between limits and coupon restrictions and maintaining your customer base may help reduce the occurrence of extreme couponing in your stores, but as long as manufacturer coupons, store coupons, sales/promotions, Catalina coupons, etc. can be used in conjunction, extreme couponing will continue. Building a relationship with couponers, anticipating their visits, and even tapping that relationship to suit your needs can help reduce the impact on your business and your customer base.
This kind of behavior makes it very difficult to measure the true effectiveness of a promotional campaign...If one person is clearing a shelf of product and getting it for free, how does that accomplish the manufacturer's objectives to invite trial, build brand awareness, etc?