How can you convince new customers to buy your products? Past buyers to come back? Stimulate a higher frequency of purchases? And most of all, combat website visitor drop-off?
Add highly-visible coupons to your website.
Coupons have a built-in visual appeal and an innate call to action. A coupon with a limited time offer adds a sense of urgency in a customer’s mind. They immediately start thinking more seriously about how much they want your product for two reasons:
1. If they are going to buy it, they want to get it for the best possible price – this works especially well when you sell a product that is widely available.
2. It might not be there if they come back later- it might be sold out.
Coupon offers can be the difference between a customer browsing your site and a customer making an immediate purchase. First we’ll take a look at 6 examples of companies who are using coupons to increase their sales. And then I’ll give you a detailed step-by-step guide showing you how you can do it too.
1. Diamond Candles
Diamond Candles retails candles with a twist. Each candle has a ring embedded inside, worth $10, $100, $1000 or $5000. Each candle is 100% soy and eco-friendly. They are solely an e-tailer, with no physical retail location.
The above is a screen capture of Diamond Candles homepage. As you can see, they have mixed their coupon alongside other clickables in the center of the page. Their coupon reads “Limited time only! Free Standard Shipping for Any Order Above $45 Use Coupon Code: SHIPDEAL-45” As all of their candles retail for $24.95 each, a customer must purchase a minimum of two candles to qualify for their free standard shipping offer. As shipping can cost nearly half the price of one candle, this is a strong enticement to purchase two candles instead of only one. This is a smart way for Diamond Candles to increase the volume of each sale.
Evo is an e-tailer turned retailer with one location in Seattle, Washington. They offer a variety of coupons for their products as pictured above. As you can see, they don’t require codes for their shipping promotion, reducing hassle for their customers. This also ensures no customers will be left out of the deal, as checkout totals that are eligible are automatically discounted at the checkout. Many become irate when they find they missed out on a promotional offer they were eligible for and have to go through a refunds process to obtain the discount. That does not bode well for customer retention and loyalty. Evo is pro-actively making sure that doesn’t happen.
They display their main coupon offer on the header of their website, which reads “Free Shipping on Orders over $50”. This offer is meant to appeal to all segments of customers which is why it receives first rate billing at the top of the page. After this, varied coupon offers are used to appeal to specific segments of Evo customers such as the offer displayed near the top of the homepage reading “Extra 15% Off All Outlet Use Code: Icecream”. Clicking on the ‘details’ button on this coupon leads to their current offers page, shown below:
Some of their current offers include “Free Shipping on All Casual Footwear!”, “Save up to 50% on Winter 2013 gear! New Markdowns on this season’s gear. No Promo Code Needed- Just the Lowest Price! We guarantee it” and a “Lowest Price Guarantee” claiming that if their price is not already lower than a competitor, they will beat the competitor’s price by 5%.
They invite consumers to sign-up for their e-mails to “Be the first to know about special offers, promo codes, first product to market and (if you’re local to Seattle) parties and events.”
It would appear that special offers are their specialty promotional tool and their competitive advantage as a retailer of brands and products that are available nearly anywhere. Having diverse coupon offers is a good strategy for retailers with a broad array of product, to ensure that all segments of customers are being included in the promotions.
3. Clearly Contacts
Clearly Contacts is a highly successful e-tailer of glasses, contacts and sunglasses that recently opened their first store on Robson St. in Vancouver, B.C.. They run a variety of popular promotions using coupon offers on their website. They are well-known for their “First Pair Free” promotion that runs a few times per year, where customers are given a wide selection of glasses to choose from that are free except for the shipping costs and add-ons such as anti-glare.
At the moment they are running a promotion with the Coupon Code “CANADASUN” where customers can receive 30% off of sunglasses. This offer (pictured above) is displayed on a banner in the middle of their site. The banner switches between this promotion and their two other ongoing promotions. For those who use contacts, they offer “Free Shipping on Orders Over $149”. Eyeglasses are advertised to be currently discounted at up to 50% off.
Coupon offers are a major driver of traffic to their website. Besides stimulating sales of existing stock (a great way to clear out seasonal inventory!), these offers are a fantastic way to cross-sell to customers. Most people wear sunglasses in the summer, and many people who wear glasses sometimes wear contacts and vice versa. Having coupon offers for all three product segments entices customers to make a purchase of more than one type of product.
Clearly Contacts is uniquely positioned to up-sell to its customers as well as they sell all of their products for a significantly lower mark-up than their competitors. So, while the coupon offer draws customers in, they may be easily tempted to purchase a brand of glasses/sunglasses/contacts that is not a part of the promotion as it is still less expensive than found elsewhere.
4. Dr. Jays
Dr. Jays is a successful retailer of urban fashion that has 19 stores in the New York Metro area. They also sell an extensive amount of product online, under a separate ownership and operation. Dr. Jay’s is well-known for running concurrent promotions to appeal to their wide demographic with targeted offers.
Their current deals reflect the season, with “50% off Summer Blowout Use Code 50DEAL” and “25% Off On Any Order Use Code 25HEAT” advertised both on the header of all their pages and on a large banner within the product mix displayed on their homepage.
Using a coupon code makes it easy to track the success of each separate coupon offer. Dr. Jay’s ensures that their offers are both seen and not forgotten by their website visitors by displaying the offer noticeably on their front page and then following this up with a header display on all of their website’s pages.
5. Banana Republic
Banana Republic is a fashion retailer geared towards professionals. They are part of the Gap. Inc group which also operates Gap and Old Navy.
They show their coupons on the top navigation bar of their website, as you can see above. Their current coupon offers free shipping on all orders over $50 and right beside this offer they promote free returns on all orders. This is a way of reducing purchase anxiety. When customers know that they can bring it back with no problem (if they need to), they feel less pressured and are further persuaded to make a purchase.
Banana Republic diversifies their coupon offers, with a recent coupon shown on the header of their website (pictured below) offering 30% off of sale items using coupon code BREXTRA30. This coupon in conjunction with the free shipping on all orders over $50 offer is a great way to combine coupons for a stronger appeal. Here, Banana Republic is encouraging a larger order volume per order, as a percentage discount encourage customers to spend more/buy more to receive a greater discount and the free shipping offer clearly encourages purchases over a minimum of $50.
Banana Republic changes their coupon offers often enough that customers do not become discount reliant. Also, it keeps their offers new and interesting and instills a sense of urgency while not being offered for too limited a time to capitalize on interest customers. Displaying a coupon offer for a week at a time, a couple of times a month is a great way to encourage purchases, especially from new buyers.
H&M is a fashion retailer with stores worldwide. H&M recently used their website coupon strategy to drive sales to their store. This is a good strategy for H&M because their numerous locations are in highly accessible areas. H&M recently advertised “Save On Style! Get a $5 Coupon When You Make A Purchase of $30 Or More! Offer Valid in Canada Only.“ with a button inviting customers to “Find Your Nearest Store”. Their goal with this coupon was clear- to drive traffic into stores and to encourage repeat purchase.
This strategy is good for a ubiquitous retailer like H&M but not as effective with smaller retailers. By encouraging traffic into store, you poach your online sales which is risky, as many customers may fail to follow through and then traffic into store is not gained but a website purchase is lost.
How You Can Drive Sales Using Coupons On Your Website
Set goals with your coupons. Do you want to entice first time buyers? Do you want to increase purchase volume? Are you hoping to drive traffic into stores?
When appealing to new customers, an open return policy is a way to alleviate customers concerns about making a purchase. This is especially strong online as many customers have concerns about items turning out the same way they appear online and as they are advertised. It suggests that your company is credible and believes in the quality of their products.
A free shipping offer with a minimum purchase can be used to entice any website visitor to make a purchase online right away. Shipping costs are a big deterrent for many customers. According to a recent Forrester study, 44% of online customers abandon their shopping carts because of high shipping costs. (Source:http://blog.crazyegg.com/2012/08/14/decrease-shopping-cart-abandonment/).
While offers that don’t require a code to be inputted save customers hassle, not all systems are able to process these orders and it can make it difficult to track how successful the offer was. When creating a coupon code, the best thing to do is to keep the code simple. If it can just be one word such as “CANADASUN” used by Clearly Contacts for their sunglasses offer or as simple as Dr. Jay’s “50DEAL“ for their 50% offer if both letters and numbers are needed for the code to work, this is best. The shorter, the better and avoid nonsensical strings of numbers and letters that will be difficult for customers to remember and correctly input.
You can use coupons to cross-sell by suggesting a product to pair with their purchase, offered at a discount such as “Buy One Get One Free, Buy One Get One 50%” “Buy Two Get the Second Pair For $9”, etc. You can recuperate the cost of these discounts by stimulating higher spending.
Place your coupons where your customer’s eyes will find them right away. The header of your website is particularly eye-catching, like where Evo, Dr. Jays and Banana Republic place theirs or in the product mix like Diamond Candles or H&M. Another option is on a banner, as Clearly Contacts chose to place their coupons. Banner displays work particularly well when there are many offers at one time. It’s a stronger appeal when product photos are mixed in with the coupon offers, with buttons that are clickable to the product segment page directly.
See how Clearly Contacts banner displays the product, the coupon offer and invites customers to “Shop WOMEN” or “Shop MEN”.
It is great to prominently display a coupon on your homepage and header, especially if it is a universally appealing promotion such as free shipping or a set discount on all orders. However, if you retail a wide variety of products, it is strategic to display different offers that will attract different customers. An option is to have a Coupon Codes/Current Offers page such as Evo does.
This is a good place to centrally place all of your offers. Create interest in these coupons by displaying the appropriate offer on the product’s page. Earlier you saw that Dr.Jays displays their latest coupons on their website header and center page of their homepage. However, when you click on products, other offers are shown. As pictured below, when shopping the men’s clothing, an offer for 60% off of outlet clothing is displayed.
Promote your Coupons on Couponing Websites
Since Extreme Couponing aired on TLC, websites that aggregate coupon deals for customers have been more popular than ever. A couponing website will promote your promotional deal to a wide audience that has an existing buyer’s mindset. This promotion will get your brand’s name out and drive traffic to your website and store.
Couponing sites offer unique benefits such as tracking codes so you can track the success of your promotion and see where the traffic you received was originating from. Using a couponing website to target local customers can drive traffic to store whereas targeting other segments of buyers can encourage purchases, whether the focus is on a first purchase or an increase in purchase volume (or both!).
There are numerous such websites available to promote your coupons on, such ashttp://www.couponcraze.com/
Coupon Offers Contingent on E-mail Sign Up
Capturing the e-mails of those that visit your website mean that you can send coupon offers tailored to past buyer’s buying preferences in the future, straight to their inbox. This will make your coupon offers more effective as they will be more specified to your customer’s taste. It also supports your e-mail marketing strategy by growing your e-mail list.
PishPosh Baby offers $10 off to customers who sign up with their e-mails. Offering an enticement to give an e-mail will increase the likelihood that customers will agree to give you their e-mail address and sign up for e-mail communications. It also gives new visitors to your site an incentive to make their first purchase with their coupon.
Adding coupons to your website is a great way to drive sales. Promoting these coupons by correct placement on your website and using a third-party such as a couponing website will help ensure that your offer gets seen. The best part about coupons is that they are visual and therefore highly shareable on all of your company’s social media accounts. If you want to encourage purchases, start displaying coupons on your website!
As discussed, you can vary these offers greatly to meet different goals- entice e-mail sign-ups, promote the quick sale of inventory, encourage a minimum purchase amount and create a sense of urgency in your shopper’s mind. Best of all, everyone loves to think they are getting a deal, so a small offer can go a long way in customer satisfaction.
Read more: Using Coupons To Kill Customer Loyalty