Ecommerce Coupons: Making Them Work for You

By Eva Alsis (550)

Many ecommerce website owners wonder whether ecommerce 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 something that has to be handled in moderation. The first step is to decide which kind is best for you. Here are a few ideas. 

Limited Time Discounts

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

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.

Deals of the Day 

These usually include a special 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.

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. This is perhaps one of the most popular promotions available to an ecommerce 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 ecommerce website business.