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How to Use Online Coupons and Discounts to Grow your eCommerce Store

Consumers in this digital era are always on the lookout for discounts, coupons, and other deals making it an integral part of their overall shopping experience. 

A study by Hawk Incentives found that 97% of shoppers (eCommerce and otherwise) declared that they look for deals as they shop, with 92% saying they are on a constant lookout for promotional offers. 

eCommerce giants such as Amazon and Alibaba and online retailers such as ASOS have round-the-year promotional offers and discounts to encourage shoppers to make purchases, more so during holidays. 

Coupons and discounts are direct influencers in the brand’s growth that leads to increased customer engagement, frequent visits, and amplifies ROI too. 

With shoppers already searching, comparing, and reviewing purchases online, eCommerce stores are presenting apt coupons and discounts such as promotional offers, free deliveries, and cart discounts. 

These offers ultimately unlock a massive opportunity to grow their businesses by implementing the best coupon and discount practices. 

eCommerce discounts and coupons: What are they?

Digital coupons are discounts and promotions offered by eCommerce stores and retailers to present or potential shoppers. Online coupons are typically aimed at attracting a customer to make a purchase at the merchant’s website by supplying a certain percentage of reduction in price, free shipping, or other discounts. 

Digital coupons are here to stay 

Considering the boom in the digital era, eCommerce discounts and coupons do not seem to be slowing down in the inclusion of digital incentives from sellers. Expect a peak in such offers during the holiday shopping season, with added incitement carefully picked to suit the mood. 

By 2022, 5.3 billion QR Code coupons to be redeemed

QR Codes are the fastest moving technology in this digital world. With most smartphones being able to scan QR Codes, retailers and sellers are now including QR Codes in their coupons more than ever. 

They are also extremely easy to make. You can create a QR Code using a dynamic QR Code generator and include them in coupons in emails, digital forms, or even on products. 

With the rising popularity and advancement of user interface design for smartphones, this number is only anticipated to rise as more and more shoppers are more accustomed to using their smartphones for shopping.

Nearly 90% of shoppers use coupons

Consumers love receiving personalized coupons and discounts deeming them seem special. Coupons and discounts instill a positive feeling and reassurance to finish a transaction with the added incentive. 

Coupons drive a realm of growth and purchase factors that push consumers to keep visiting the retailer regularly. 

Emails with coupons witnessed a 48% increase in revenue per email

Emails have already been established as a highly effective means of communication and delivering personalized content in time. 

eCommerce retailers that follow marketing strategies with even minimum personalization such as content, product updates, and even seasonal greetings based on past purchases often perform better than generic emails. 

Including a coupon with these emails could drastically improve its effectiveness rather exponentially when the timing, offers, and product suggestions are mixed correctly. 

63% of shoppers say they prefer coupons

 As a matter of fact, who doesn’t? Retailers who offer discount coupons regularly have witnessed a hike in repeat business from shoppers that may have been otherwise lost and are now used to such offers with privileged incentives. 

Presenting with an excellent consumer experience is vital to every retailer, irrespective of their presence. Reputation and acknowledgment as a trusted retailer depend on it.

7 useful ways to include eCommerce coupons and discount to drive sales 

1. Increase sales by providing free shipping coupons

One of the driving factors for abandoned carts is shipping charges. eCommerce stores generate higher conversion rates in every segment when free shipping is presented. 

Offering free shipping is a great way to avoid cart abandonment and increase conversion. 

Make use of free shipping in conjunction with a minimum cart value offer to increase average order value. Combine free shipping with existing offers depending on the season and requirements such as a 20% discount for email subscribers to increase the value of your offer. 

Bonobos is popular for its free shipping offer on every order. Irrespective of your location in the United States, there are null shipping charges in the total bill. 

free shipping coupons

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2. Cross-sell products to increase cart value with eCommerce coupons

Cross-sells are a great way to raise the average cart value by offering complementary or suitable products ready at the check-out page for customers at the time of purchase. 

The most frequent cross-sell for eCommerce stores is the complementary cross-sell, which fundamentally positions the product alongside the product the customer had added in their cart to improve or partner with it. 

For instance, cheddar cheese with spaghetti. 

Cross-sell products example

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An alternative method to cross-sell on eCommerce stores is by offering an exclusive product that is offered only with that particular product purchased. The fact that something exclusive is available only whilst purchasing another product makes it unique, enticing shoppers to take the bait. 

Regardless of the type of cross-selling option, the most effective ones are both personalized and automated smartly to customize the offer for each individual. 

3. Offer discounts over multi-social media channels

Shoppers are now online more than ever. Social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are gaining maximum traction compared to offline methods. 

Partner with influencers that have large followings to enhance exposure to your brand. Analyze and partner with influencers in your niche to create special referral coupons. They can choose to share these coupons on their blog post or account with their followers in an engaging way. 

This also serves as an endorsement that can boost credibility and attract new customers. 

Another way of implementing eCommerce discounts and coupons is to list a 24-hour only coupon on Instagram and Facebook story, and adverts targeted especially for these platforms. This creates urgency and timeliness for the ultimate exposure. 

With shoppers already searching, comparing, and reviewing purchases online, eCommerce stores are presenting apt coupons and discounts such as promotional offers, free deliveries, and cart discounts. For example, Dainty Jewells offers a $10 coupon to customers that subscribe to SMS alerts.

Dainty Jewells coupon discount popup

4. Provide discounts to new visitors

First-time shoppers usually require a nudge. By providing them with inaugural or welcome discount coupons, they can be converted into a successful customer. 

Clearly offers all its new customers with a 50% discount on prescription glasses with free shipping. 

discount signup form

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5. Customer loyalty membership

Loyalty programs offer a myriad of benefits to customers irrespective of old or new. Rewarding customers for joining your customer loyalty program is an ideal platform to share a bonus incentive. 

Such offers not only reward customers for engaging with your brand but also entices them to sign up for the program. 

Customer loyalty membership can be for subscribing to email newsletters, direct mail subscription, and even in-store purchases. Present QR Codes on direct mail coupons so customers can scan the QR Code and avail special discounts in addition to subscribing to the customer loyalty program. 

According to a report by Forrester, customers who belong to loyalty programs spend $42.33 more over the course of three months.

Big Lots provides a discount of $5 on future purchases when you join their loyalty program. 

Customer loyalty membership

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6. Use limited-time offers

With limited-time offers, the goal is to get shoppers to act sooner rather than later by providing limited access. Reports suggest that millennials are especially receptive to limited-time offers – 50% say that they find such offers appealing. 

Limited-time offers typically arise during product launches or holiday seasons. This approach works very well to attract customers who are still in the consideration stage. These customers land on your site, see the offer, and understand the value with a discount. 

Gauge your competitors and offer customers a tad bit extra in order to be deemed as more enticing. Make use of email marketing to float limited-time offers top of mind for your subscribers. 

In addition, add a sense of urgency to act by also including a countdown timer in your emails to remind your customers of their favorite products. 

limited-time offers

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7. Abandoned cart coupons

Abandoned cart syndrome is an actual problem for many eCommerce store owners and a good way to reduce cart abandonment is to offer a discount with a reminder email or alert. 

Plug-ins such as Abandoned Cart Pro for WooCommerce helps in implementing an abandoned cart recovery sequence and sends out reminders automatically to every shopper that abandons a cart. 

Online shopping websites such as Koovs and Ajio offer an added discount to push customers to purchase products in the cart and increase engagement. 

Why must eCommerce stores introduce coupons and discounts?

Increased conversion rates

Providing customers with discounts and promotional offers entices customers to purchase, thus increasing the conversion rates. 

According to a report by Shopify, eCommerce vendors that actively provide discount codes to customers are 8x more likely to make a sale as opposed to those who do not. In another study by RetailMeNot, 67% of shoppers report making impulse purchases after being presented with a discount. 

This concurs the main reason to offer a discount – adding a little bit of value that tips the scales and converts a prospective customer into a paying customer. 

Minimized losses

Another added benefit of providing online discounts and coupons is that it minimizes the losses accrued with unsold inventory. 

Year-old products immediately drop in price post the introduction of a new product, soon-to-expire produce is often sold with additional discounts at delis, and poorly-selling products get offloaded at bargain prices. 

By providing certain products at a discounted price, losses can be minimized – and recoup some of them as well. This also allows in emptying old inventory and making space for fresh and more in-demand items. 

Increased customer acquisition

Offering online discounts and coupons is a key way to attract customers. 

In fact, RetailMeNot’s survey suggests that 80% of first-time shoppers report to being swayed by a targeted discount of some kind. 

By offering discounts and relevant coupons to fresh and existing customers, you take away some of the risk factors that may be holding them back from making that purchase. In addition, brands that offer discounts to their customers indicate that they are okay with selling their products for a loss in exchange for their business. 

In turn, this also helps strengthen the trust between newbies and customers from the get-go and will set the stage for loyal customers. 

Increased customer retention

The path to long-lasting relationships between customers and retailers is by offering specialized loyalty discounts to loyal customers as a token of appreciation and to keep them coming back for more. 

According to a report by Merkle, 61% of customers say that the most important way a brand can interact with them is by surprising them with offers for being their customer. 

This can include freebies, giveaways, and other physical gifts, the importance of providing targeted discounts and coupons to your most valuable customers is vital. Balance it out via structured loyalty programs and on a sporadic basis. 

Best practices to follow for successful eCommerce discount and coupon marketing campaigns

Be specific and concise about the goals

A promotional offer must be precise and goal-specific for maximum potential. 

Experimental promos and offers are accepted as long as they do not harm your brand recall. Moreover, the approach to “if it works” can lead to a ton of pitfalls that ultimately tarnish the brand. 

Setting clear goals for online discounts and promotional offers will allow narrowing down to specific target audiences and how to set the motion right for the right kind of engagement. 

For instance, if you are aiming at expanding your customer base, create an offer specifically targeting those who have not yet made their first purchase. 

Amazon has a brilliant promotional offer for first-time buyers. 

amazon first order discount

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Or, if increased customer retention is the goal, offer your customers with a loyalty program. The goal eventually is to keep your customers habitually coming back – and more frequently. 

Know your LTV and profit margins

Another important aspect in addition to setting clear goals is to have a clear understanding of the key performance indicators (KPIs) that improves via promotional campaigns. 

The goals in these areas will decide the value you offer your customers through discounts and coupons. 

On the other hand, providing an offer that stands way more than what you stand to receive is a loss to your business. Or, providing an offer that is of little value to customers will most likely fail to engage them. 

It is vital to pinpoint the numbers of every promotional campaign created to determine the optimal discount or offer to provide. 

Be sure of where the business is heading to tweak the value of the promotional campaign to allow you to reach these goals. 

Set the T&C for discounts and coupons

It is important to be transparent with the terms and conditions a discount or a promotional campaign has to offer in order to be clear and set the right expectations. When promotional offers do not lay out its T&C, customers do not know what to expect out of it and this is a definite recipe for disaster. 

Lay out the rules for the promotional offer in an attached file or with the same coupon and direct the customers to it. 

Being transparent about the rules your discount coupons have will also save the company from wrongful termination and upholding brand image. 

Send different discounts and coupons to different target audiences

The importance of targeting the right audience based on their value and engagement levels is crucial. 

But, not all those who belong to the same group are alike. First-time shoppers from a different geographic region differ as opposed to another geographic region, but each will reach out with their own set of needs and expectations. 

Ergo, when providing online discounts and coupons, it is important to take the whole customer into consideration. 

Create deals and discounts or even offer fun facts using tools such as Canva that represent your brand well and tailor-fit to the needs of your customers in a jiffy. 

Depending on the audience’s specific needs, create discount campaigns that offer – 

  1. Discounts on one set of products for a particular segment, and a different set of items for another 
  2. Variety of value discounts based on various factors (geographic location, segment AOV, and seasons)
  3. Autonomy, such as a loyalty program with varied rewards for VIP customers 

Wrapping it up 

eCommerce coupons and discounts are certainly an attractive way to boost sales and volume. Implementing them into the marketing mix can quickly and efficiently build your customer file and increase conversion rates. 

With 67% of millennials and 56% of Gen X preferring to shop online, it is impossible to ignore the sheer opportunity presented for modern businesses.

Having a clear goal in mind, a firm understanding of the brand and the willingness to learn can be used most effectively to meet your objectives, build customer loyalty, and increase revenue.

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