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How to Effectively use Coupon Codes

From a consumer’s standpoint, few things are more rewarding than applying a coupon code and reaping in savings. From a retailer’s side, coupons can be either a positive or negative experience. In one sense, coupons can help you maintain competitive pricing, win sales, and influence buyers who may not have made a purchase without a coupon. On the other hand, coupons can hurt sales when codes are invalid or entered incorrectly and when customers refuse to make a purchase without receiving some form of discount. Here are a few tips to successfully use coupon codes.

Target Cart Abandonment

Emailing a coupon code to prospective customers who have abandoned their cart is a great way to stay on their radar. As another option, you can implement retargeting ads to these potential customers that display coupon codes. The ads will follow customers as they continue to browse the web and hopefully lure them back to your site to complete their purchase.

Reward Loyalty

Rewarding your loyal customers with coupons is a good way to recognize their devotion to your store. This allows you to suppress the coupon entry field to visitors unless they arrive through a specific link or email campaign.  These prospective customers are identified by a URL parameter which is stored in the shopper’s session. At checkout, the parameter is looked up and the discount will either be applied automatically or the promo box appears for the customer to fill in.          

Promo Box

If a prospective customer arrives at your site and sees a promo code during the checkout process or as part of your shopping cart, it is likely they will search for codes. When potential customers resort to search engines to score deals, it is likely they will find coupons from your affiliates. “Commissions get paid out to affiliates that never referred the sale in the first place. Even worse, you condition these customers to never pay full price again” (getelastic.com). If you do decide on implementing a promo box, you can use it as a way to grow your mailing list.

Promo Box

By clicking on “What’s this?” a pop up appears stating that by sharing your email you will receive 15% off your first purchase. By enticing customers as soon as they encounter the box, they are less likely to leave your page in search of coupons.

Landing Page

Another solution for store owners who wish to keep promo boxes visible is to have a dedicated landing page with coupon codes. Macy’s has an entire page dedicated to ‘Deals & Promotions.’

landing page

When it is time for checkout, customers without a code can simply follow the ‘find one now’ link to receive a code. By offering a dedicated page you can ensure that customers are getting valid coupons directly from your site.

Conclusion:

When used effectively, coupons can be great for your business. Coupon codes can be used to lure back shoppers who abandoned their cart or to win deals over your competitors. However, codes can hurt your sales if customers are aware that you have codes but they cannot acquire them. Offering dedicated landing pages and private codes ensure that customers are receiving valid codes, which will discourage them from abandoning their purchasing process.