How to use coupons in your e-commerce strategy

Who doesn’t like getting money off items? We do and more importantly your customers do too. Coupons are a great way of luring consumers to your site, with offers of an added incentive.  Digitally speaking, they are easy to administer and involve minimal updates to the back end of your website. They’re uptake and usage are easy to monitor and you will be able to measure exactly the depth of their effectiveness.  Whether you are facing an unprecedented slump in purchases or you just need to get the ball rolling with some initial sales to get your business off the ground, coupons are a fantastic short term strategy. Here’s why;


Coupons work in a very straightforward way. Generally what you need to do is give out a code to all or a select group of customers, which those individuals will need to enter at the checkout stage of the buying process, in order to redeem the coupon and get money off their final purchase. When customers enter the code, this will trigger a notification in the backend of the site, which will then enable the discount to occur at the checkout section. It is advisable to set a time-based deadline or quantity-based limit on your coupons, for cost effectiveness.


Notify your customers of the discount offer and the coupon code they can use via onsite banners. Create an eye catching, distinguishable banner featuring the money off offer and coupon code, with a clear call to action. You may also want to send news of your offer and the promotional code out to all previous customers.


It’s really easy to get your brand out there via coupons. By distributing coupons to your partners and affiliates encouraging them to pass them on to their contacts, you will increase your reach significantly. Your affiliates will love pleasing their contacts with your freebies.  When the coupon codes are redeemed, track the affiliate’s sales. It’s a triple win situation. Consumers get discounts, your affiliates get commission (if you choose to grant them it) and you get new customers.


Coupons can also help you work out exactly where most of your traffic comes from. You will also be able to track and measure your advertising ROI. Simply use a unique coupon code for customers that come from all the various search engines, to see exactly how many sales each campaign generates. You can also use coupon codes to track down to the keyword level of your search ad campaigns , which is critical for optimization.


Instead of just firing out coupon codes right left and centre, it is much better for your brand image to hand them out as a reward to your most loyal fans. Send them out to those who purchase most frequently from you, or further more reward your most passionate Twitter and Facebook followers. Customers who promote you frequently on social are worth their weight in gold, as they are essentially giving you free promotion. Message or DM them your coupon codes.


Coupons also encourage action, when you make it clear that you are only giving out codes to the first handful of buyers. This creates the impression of scarcity of supplies and will urge those consumers who are fence sitting to take the plunge and buy your items.


Lastly, if you have exhausted all other avenues of coupon promotion, try giving them out at random. Now and again send them to a couple of consumers a day with a warm message, telling them how much you appreciate their custom. This will go a long way in encouraging brand loyalty.


Though never a permanent long-term strategy, coupons are a brilliant way to keep your customers engaged and feeling appreciated. They can cleverly allow you to track ROI on various ad-word campaigns, so you can analyse closely what’s going right and what’s going wrong with your efforts. Send them out to your affiliates to widen your reach and you never know a little money off could be just the incentive consumers need to bite the bullet and buy your offerings.