A few posts ago I talked about some of the challenges that online retailers face when dealing with coupon boxes, notably the potential of such boxes to distract shoppers from completing the purchase process.
Unfortunately, some people got the impression that I was opposed to the use of coupons in online retailing. I assure you that’s not the case. It’s obvious that coupons are wildly popular on the web, the question is: Are you making money with them? Before I talk about some techniques to make sure that you are making money with coupons, let’s recall why this is not always the case.
What do online shoppers do when they get to the checkout page and see an empty box labelled “Coupon” or “Discount Code” or something similar? If they have a code they enter it; if they do not have a code, they are apt to go looking for one (as evidenced by our experience with coupon-related Monetate campaigns and by the PayPal comScore survey).
Working with e-retailers we have found that selectively covering up a coupon box produce an improvement in purchase completion in cases when a shopper is unlikely to have, or need, a coupon. Now, some readers have asked the very sensible question: “Why not just remove the coupon box?” The answer is that a. some ecommerce systems make it technically challenging to remove the coupon box, and b. you may want to use that box in some promotions.
So what would a good example of a coupon code promotion look like? Consider a promotion designed to present a specific segment of your site traffic with a special offer code. Let’s say the targeted traffic segment is defined as visitors arriving from comparison shopping sites. The purpose of the discount code is to give these visitors an incentive to stop surfing from site-to-site and make their purchase on your site, on that visit. To ensure that this coupon campaign is a money maker for you, make sure you can answer these questions in the affirmative:
1. Can the coupon code be used without slowing down the purchase process?
2. Do you explain the terms of the offer without taking the shopper away from the checkout page?
3. Do you reassure shoppers that the promised discount had been applied?
If you can accomplish these three things you will likely be rewarded with a significant lift in revenue and average order value from the traffic segment targeted by the coupon campaign. At Monetate we have seen that when retailers handle coupon codes with care they deliver real value and definitely deserve a place in your online marketing playbook.
- Here is a link to the previous post on coupon boxes which received numerous comments.
- You can find more online marketing case studies here.
- Why not share your online store’s experience with coupon promotions by leaving a comment.