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Hackernoon logoDigital Coupon Marketing — Now is the Time to Jump on the Bandwagon by@EVelyn.J

Digital Coupon Marketing — Now is the Time to Jump on the Bandwagon

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@EVelyn.JEvelyn

A writer by day and a reader by night, Evelyn is a blogger and content marketer from Australia.

When the COVID-19 outbreak sent the whole world home, many predicted the rise of online shopping. 

And that’s exactly what happened. 

In June, online sales reached $73.2 billion in the United States, up 76.2% from the last year. Retailers are now investing much more in their online departments than they did in pre-COVID times.

If the competition was tough previously in the eCommerce industry, it is ruthless now. 

Businesses need to utilize every promotional tool at their disposal to stand out. Perhaps the most important of these tools in the current are digital coupons. 

What Are Digital Coupons?

Back in the day, coupons were something you would clip off a Sunday magazine. While this still happens, customers now have a more convenient option in the form of digital coupons. 

Web stores these days use coupons to entice customers to make the final purchase. Most of the time, the retailer offers a certain percentage of discount, free shipping or a BOGO deal. 

Digital coupons exist in the following forms:

1. Coupon Codes

eCommerce businesses these days rely mostly on coupon codes. It is extremely convenient on part of customers as all they have to do is type in a few characters or copy-pasting a code. 

The retailer promotes a unique combination of numbers and letters which customers enter at the check-out page to receive a discount. For instance, Nike may promote its new footwear with NIKE20 code where you get a 20% discount on your order. 

2. Automatic Discounts

To make the discounting process more efficient, many stores utilize automatic discounting. Customers don't even have to copy a code or download something to attain a discount in this process. 

Discounts are automatically applied at the checkout page, which gives customers an incentive to make the final purchase. Automatic discounts play an important role in bringing down cart abandonment. 

3. Mobile Coupons

Mobile eCommerce has become extremely big in recent years. It’s estimated that 62% of smartphone users have made a purchase using their device. Retailers who want to capitalize on this are integrating coupons into their mobile applications. Ultimately, the goal is to drive more sales from this powerful channel. 

4. Downloadable Coupons

Although their popularity seems to be waning, downloadable coupons are another way many brands offer discounts. Customers can download these from a company’s website or receive them through email and social media. Since downloading coupons might seem like a hassle to many consumers, most retailers don’t utilize this method. 

Why You Need Coupons in eCommerce?

Did you know 48% of consumers are likely to make a purchase sooner if offered a coupon? Yes. This means almost half of buyers would waste little time in clicking the “order” button if you have the right coupons. 

There are enough coupon statistics out there to convince the harshest of skeptics. Here are 6 of the most interesting ones.

1. 97% of Online Shoppers Search for Deals

Customers these days expect to be given some sort of discount or deals while they’re buying online. Perhaps that’s the reason 97% of them search Google for deals for a product before going ahead with the purchase. 

2. People With Higher Income Are More Likely to Use Coupons 

Many people perceive couponers as necessitous individuals down to their last pennies. But in contrast, it’s not just budget savvy people looking for discounts on their purchases.

People whose annual income exceeds $100,000 are in fact twice as likely to use coupons than those in lesser income brackets. For this reason, coupons are also used for promoting luxury items. 

3. 90% of Customers Use Coupons

Consumers feel a sense of achievement when they’re able to gain a discount. Perhaps that’s one of the big reasons why coupons have become so popular. Of course, money-saving is a good motivator too. 

4. 57% of Shoppers Try New Products due to Coupons

It’s hard to get people interested in something new. But when you offer a coupon, the equation is completely changed. This is one reason why many brands introduce new items along with a dedicated promo code. 

5. Free Shipping Increases the Chances of a Sale by 5 Times

Nowadays, every other store is offering free shipping and there’s an extremely good reason for this. Turns out, customers would rather buy a $7 product with free shipping than $4 product that has a $3 shipping cost. Again, the psychological factors come into play. 

6. 31 Billion eCoupons Were Redeemed Worldwide in 2019

The coupon industry has become a behemoth ever since the advent of the internet. The latest promo codes statistics reveal the number of eCoupons being used is currently in billions. 

Where to Begin? 

By now, you may have realized the significance of coupon marketing. So naturally, the next question on your mind should be: “Where do I start?”

Well, it’s not just enough to integrate coupons in your promotional efforts. Instead, you have to craft a potent strategy to make the best of this tool. 

These five steps should help in creating a strategy that best fits your company’s needs. 

1. Conduct Research

Before anything else, you should first evaluate the marketing strategy of your competitors. Understand how the players in your industry are approaching couponing, which channels they are using and how they are making discount offers more enticing. 

Also, look for the ideal coupon expiration date by examining the current industry climate. Most importantly, you would want to conduct thorough research to determine the right value for the coupons. 

It’s important also to set benchmarks and revisit them to see if you’re gaining any benefit from coupon promotion. 

2. Customize the Operation

Coupon marketing is a complex operation with no one-size-fits-all solution. Rarely, would you send one coupon to all consumers. Instead, most of the time you’d need to decide which segment of consumers should be targeted with a particular promotion. 

Mailing one coupon to all customers will only end up confusing them, which is why it's imperative to create a mailing list that reflects the consumer base. Divide recipients by age, genders and income groups. Even if you’re promoting coupons on social media, take these factors into consideration. 

At the end of the day, it’s all about making sure that the right coupons reach the right people. 

3. Put a Time Limit on Offers

Marketing is all about creating a sense of urgency. When consumers think they have all the time in the world —they don’t feel the need to take immediate action. It doesn’t matter how amazing the coupon is, consumers will stall if you give them a chance. 

People will forget offers and go on with their lives if there are no time-frames. That’s why there should be an expiration date in bold letters whenever a promotion is sent out. 

Marketers can even experiment with a greater sense of urgency by creating unique coupons with a 40-minute time limit. Soon as the consumers click the email, a reverse clock will start and they’d have less than an hour to use the offer. 

It’s all about letting the consumers know they can miss out on a once in a lifetime offer. 

4. Choose Appropriate Channels

While promoting coupons, you need to select channels to maximize your reach. Conventional mediums here would be your social media pages and email lists. 

It is estimated that 67% of consumers follow a brand’s page after being offered a discount. This goes to show that integrating discount promotion with social media has multiple benefits. 

In order to reach customers that might’ve never heard about your brand, you need to team up with coupon sites. Websites such as RetailMeNot, ClothingRIC and EMUCoupon will introduce your brand to a group of money-conscious customers. 

But make sure there are no communication gaps between you and these platforms. Let them know the correct value, terms of use and expiration date of every coupon. Any inaccurate information will have misinformed customers ending up on your sites and leave with a bad impression of your brand. 

5. Monitor Performance of Coupons

Coupon marketing requires a certain level of investment. Marketers need to monitor these campaigns to determine whether they’re having an impact on overall sales. Tracking coupons not only tells the return-on-investment but helps in crafting better offers for the future. 

Digital coupons and promo codes have an in-built tracking mechanism which lets you examine their performance. Since promo codes are often shared beyond their intended audience and original platforms —it’s extremely important to monitor data coming in from major coupon sites. 

Almost any business can benefit from coupon promotion but not all have the same approach. It all depends on the nature of the business, your product and the audience. 

Why is this the Right Time?

Retailers who are still not indulging in coupon marketing might miss out on a golden opportunity. Turns out, this might be the perfect time to churn out some enticing coupons for your product. 

Here’s why you should waste little time in making the right decision:

  • People Are Looking to Save Money
  • The COVID-19 outbreak has created an unprecedented employment crisis. Around the world, millions are facing payment cuts, furloughing and in worst-case scenarios, terminations. In such an environment, people are generally looking to save on any and all purchases. Naturally, this creates a large demand for coupons. 

  • The Holiday Season is Coming Up
  • We are headed to the later part of 2020 where deals and discounts will be ubiquitous on the web. In November, customers will search for coupons for their favorite items. If you began working on a coupon strategy from now, you will be well set to make the best of the coming Black Friday. 

  • More Customers Are Using Coupons
  • In March of this year, digital coupon redemption increased by 56.5% compared to the previous year. Discounts on grocery items is being sought by customers who are stuck at home, purchasing food items online for the first time. 

Are there Any Drawbacks to Coupon Promotion?

It will be disingenuous to mention all virtues of coupons without highlighting some of their shortcomings. Like any other business tool, there are some hidden risks involved in coupons that every business takes into consideration. 

So before you jump head-first into the world of discounts and promo codes — make sure it doesn’t have the following detrimental effects on your business. 

  • Excessive couponing leads customers to believe your products are cheap which damages your brand image. 
  • Depending on traffic from outside the target group can lead to high acquisition costs, low repeated sales and exhaustion of the marketing budget. 
  • Customers who are extra-conscious about pricing are hardly loyal to any brand, so you might miss out on creating a devoted customer base.

All of these can be avoided by approaching coupons strategically and not relying on them as the only promotional tool. Coupons are an important part of the overall marketing puzzle but shouldn’t be viewed as the ultimate solution. The perceived value of your product will decide it’s success at the end of the day.

Conclusion

At a time when thousands of players are vying for the market share in eCommerce —effective couponing can spark consumer interest and give online retailers a much-needed competitive edge. 

However, it’s important to understand a customer’s frame of mind before crafting an offer. Unique coupons that directly address a consumer’s concern (be it shipping cost or high price) can result in more orders being placed. 

Like any other marketing investment, there should be certain parameters for coupon promotion. One needs to have the necessary tools to track results too. 

Coupon marketing gives us a skill that’s hard to perfect overnight and you will learn about new outcomes along the way. This will help you shape an effective strategy for the future. 

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@EVelyn.JEvelyn

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A writer by day and a reader by night, Evelyn is a blogger and content marketer from Australia.

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