Using Coupons and Promotions

Virtually every major eCommerce system allows for coupon codes as they have become such an integral part of modern life. Offering discounts for your online store can be a powerful weapon in your conversion arsenal, however, used haphazardly, and you can do significant damage to your brand or worse, become unprofitable. Here are some basic tips to use coupons and promotions effectively.

  • Free Shipping offers – Shipping costs are often cited as the number one reason for shopping cart abandonment. Offering free shipping is a great way to mitigate this and increase conversions. Often this is used in conjunction with a minimum order size to help increase the average order value.
  • Free Gift offers – A free gift with a purchase can be a great way to provide additional value to customer. If used strategically, it can also be used to increase average order size and/or to get rid of product that isn’t moving.
  • Prelaunch Offers – If you’re still in the prelaunch stage of your business or maybe even launching a new product, you can use prelaunch offers to help drive traffic and peak interest.
  • Holiday/Season Offers – Yes, you need to jump on the bandwagon. Seasonal sales and promotions work. Increased profit and brand recognition by offering specials. Offering a teaser deal, that which is limited profit but high in demand can sometimes lead to more sales. Be cautious if you offer a standard “across the board discount”, and if you do, set a dollar limit on how much a person has to spend before they get the discount… i.e. 10% off all purchase of $99 or more. Black Friday, Christmas and New years are the big ones, but the whole year is sprinkled with holidays that you can use to stretch revenues with offers.
  • Track and Measure Return on Investment (ROI) – Coupon codes are an excellent way to track and measure your advertising ROI. Simply use a different code for each ad outlet (i.e. Google vs. Bing vs. Facebook) so you can see exactly how many sales each campaign generated. With a little bit of tech work, you can also use coupon codes to track — down to the keyword level of your search ad campaigns — which is critical for optimization.
  • Reward Loyal Social Media Fans – Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and many more fan pages. You can offer coupons and discounts to your fans right through Social Media, or you can choose to use third-party apps. Instead of just offering a coupon to everyone, I think it’s neat to reward your most loyal fans. , The gemstone jewelry company offers discounts and promotions, but only to their top fans, which it determines through an app. It also is a good measure to keep your fans active and also measure the rate of return from these social media sites.
  • Track Revenue Sources at Events– Codes are great for tracking which sales channels are performing the best for you. For our Entrepreneurs Unplugged events, we give our marketing partners unique discount codes to distribute, so we can see which channels refer the most sales and concentrate on optimizing those channels.

  • First Time Shopper Offer – Providing a first timers offer could be just the nudge those first-time visitor needs to be converted to a paying customer.
  • Customize and learn – Many businesses make the mistake of simply using coupons to increase conversions. The bigger opportunity is to utilize them to also learn more about your customers’ behavior along the way. Create unique codes to be used through a variety of channels, create custom codes for partners and then test different discount formats to maximize conversions based on real data.
  • Collaborate with Affiliates – Want to encourage affiliates to market for you? Give them a coupon code they can give to their audience. When the coupon codes are redeemed, track the affiliate’s sales. In the end, users get discounts, your affiliates get commission and you get new customers.
  • Email/Newsletter Subscription Offer – As you probably already know, building an email list is extremely important for online retailers. By providing an offer in exchange for visitors emails address, not only do you increase the chance of a conversion, but you also get their email, providing you with the opportunity to market new products and offers to them in the future.
  • Volume/Cart Size Offer – An offer based on the total value of a shopping cart is an effective upselling tactic to encourage customers to spend more, increasing your average order size. A strategic way to incorporate this into your online store is to calculate your average order value for the previous few months and offer a discount or free shipping on all order 10-20% over your average order value.


Offers and discounts isn’t right for every online business. Therefore, a firm understanding of the brand and some experimentation, you can most effectively utilize offers to meet your objectives, building customer loyalty and increasing revenues. For more information or assistance in setting up coupons or discounts, please feel free to contact us.