Ecommerce Coupons: Making Them Work for You

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Many e-commerce website owners wonder whether coupons are right for their business. Indeed, these can be a great way to bring in new customers and also to encourage them to make purchases. On the other hand, there are drawbacks as well.

Coupons obviously cut into your own profit margins, and they can distract customers from the buying process as well. They are marketing tools that have to be handled with care.

The first step is to decide which kind is best for you. Here are a few ideas.

Different Types Of Coupons

Limited Time Discounts

These can be available for a day, weekend or even a whole month. The whole point is to create a sense of urgency by putting a time limit on the discount. The discount is not even really that important; it is merely the catalyst that brings the customer to your website.

However, the time urgency has to make sense and be logical in the context of the product or service that your website is selling. Customers are very sensitive to false claims and will distrust your business the moment they get a hint of falsehood.

Think very carefully about the time limited coupon you are offering. Is the time constraint a genuine one? Would you not offer the discount or coupon ever again after the deadline?

Holiday Coupons

The holidays are the biggest shopping season in North America.

Customers are already looking for places to buy the gifts that they need, so a well-placed coupon in their inbox can be a huge boon for your business.

Try an early bird special or an eleventh-hour deal including free upgraded shipping. If people feel that they are getting a good deal, they will be happy to get their holiday shopping over and done with.

Use social media effectively to promote your holiday coupons well in advance. It would pay to have paid advertising on platforms such as Facebook and Google Adwords.

Create interesting and attractive holiday coupon campaigns that would play into the worldview of your target audience rather than simple and blunt campaigns that simply scream “sale”!

Deals of the Day 

These usually include a special mobile sale on just one item or one narrow class of item. There are many websites that specialize in promoting these deals (including ones that cost you nothing) so use this and other publicity tools to their full advantage.

Deals of the day coupon are best effective if you have huge traffic to your website or have robust social media campaigns. They would also work well with paid advertising.

Which type of coupons are most effective?

Now that you are planning your next coupon campaign, you may be wondering exactly what types of coupons are most effective. This varies according to your exact market, but there are a few different types that have been shown to be successful. Here are a few ideas.

  • Free shipping coupons. This is perhaps one of the most popular promotions available to an e-commerce website. Many people are almost afraid of shipping costs, and a coupon such as this alleviates their fear. 
  • Dollar or percentage off purchase. This is best handled by setting a minimum purchase amount; you would be surprised at how many people will pay several dollars in shipping for an item that they don’t need merely because it is free. 
  • Free with purchase. Whether you are offering a BOGO or another value-adding proposition, any coupon that gives a customer something for free is bound to be well received, even if the free item has little intrinsic value.

Hopefully, these ideas should get you started on your very own coupon campaign. This can be a very successful way of encouraging sales, and it often builds a sizeable customer base in a short amount of time. However, it is important to approach the deal with the right attitude and to ensure that you will be able to absorb the cost of your campaign. Coupons may be difficult to plan at first, but soon they will become just another part of running an e-commerce website business.