Listen to Coupons as a Growth Strategy
Coupons can be an effective strategy for growing not only your sales but also your average cart value as well. Another often overlooked use of coupons is SEO. Most coupon sites allow you to add your site and create a link back to your site. When you combine all of these factors, you can successfully use coupons to both increase sales and increase your site’s ranking.
Using coupons for blanket discounts can work, but you can increase revenue if you are more strategic with generating your coupons. An example is what one of my clients used to do. She sold products for $20 apiece. She offered free shipping on orders over $60. At the time, her shipping cost domestically averaged around $5.50 per order. Orders under $60 were charged $8 for shipping. So what she did was market a 10% off coupon for orders $60 and over. Close to 70% of orders would use the coupon at the $60 mark, discounting the order to $54, then adding $8 for shipping, putting the total back up to $62.
The extra $2 might not seem like a lot, but it would account for tens of thousands of dollars at the end of the year. Dollars that would otherwise be lost if she were not strategic on coupon use.
Beating MAP pricing
Another strategic way you can use coupons is to defeat the minimum advertised pricing. MAP pricing can be problematic, different manufacturers allow different methods to defeat it, but coupons are the primary way most sellers use. Most MAP policies will not let you show the lower price, but you can emblaze your site with the “Save 10% off any item by signing up to our Mailing List” text. This method will allow visitors to get a coupon and for you to provide a lower price point than your competition.
This method could also be used with removing free shipping or modifying shipping amounts. Or it could also be used to provide free shipping instead of a discount. You will have to dig into your manufacturer’s MAP policy to see how you can defeat it.
Coupons for SEO
Did you know that you can use coupons to build backlinks to your site? There are dozens of coupon directories of varying popularity around the internet. These sites represent a great place to create listings for your site, add a coupon, and get a backlink. Creating listings on these sites can also help with discovery since most of the coupon sites list similar sites on pages. Below is a list of popular coupon sites you can build out profiles and backlinks from.
- Krazy Coupon Lady
- Southern Savers
- Coupon Pro
- Capital One Shopping
- RedFlag Deals
- Brad’s Deals
When setting up your profile on these coupon sites, the key is to make a low-value coupon, say 5-10% off, and use a unique code for each site. You can track which sites are actually bringing traffic and which ones are the most popular for your customers. This can help you down the road in determining if you want to pursue an advertising campaign with one of the sites.
When setting up on these coupon sites, the key is to make a low-value coupon, say 5-10% off, and use a unique code for each site. You can track which sites are actually bringing traffic and which ones are the most popular for your customers. This can help you down the road in determining if you want to pursue an advertising campaign with one of the sites.
Unfortunately, this will be the most challenging part of using coupons. People will abuse the system, and it will be hard to stop them. You could limit guest accounts in the past, but anymore that becomes problematic with Google Shopping, they require guest account functionality.
Preventing abuse is the main reason for the lower value tracking coupons. It allows you to keep those coupons active in your system and rotate out high discount coupons without affecting SEO or conversion values.
When Not to Use Coupons
Coupon referral systems are still somewhat popular, but they are the one system I recommend against using. The reason is that coupon apps and browser extensions scrape your checkout when a user with an extension places an order. If they see a working coupon, it will be added to their directory. While this is through no fault of the referral partner, it will likely either break your terms of service or generate huge referral revenue. In one case, I had to track down why one referral partner had almost 100 times the revenue of the second-highest partner. I figured out Honey had swiped the code and added it to their database. So partner referral tracking is the one area that never needs to be done via coupons anymore.
Have any questions or want to share your thoughts about coupons? Use the comment box below, and let’s talk about it.
About the Author: Lesley Paone
Lesley has worked in e-commerce for over a decade, and is the founder of dh42. Starting out with PrestaShop and brancing out into other platforms like Shopify. He loves all things e-commerce and loves a challenge, in his spare time he helps moderate several forums on SEO, e-commerce, as well as the PrestaShop forum. If you have any questions for him about any of his articles just use our contact form to contact him.