Giving discounts on your products can be difficult for struggling new business owners, especially if the products are handmade with love or difficult to procure. It’s natural to always want the full, fair price for what you’ve worked so hard to produce. However, did you know that coupons are second only to word-of-mouth when it comes to influencing customers’ purchasing decisions? In fact, coupons are used by 87% of all shoppers, according to Advertising Age. That’s marketing and outreach power that can’t be ignored.
However, using coupons to attract new customers and promote your online boutique is a difficult line to walk, as too many discounts can see you giving up too much of your profits while approaching the coupon conundrum in the right way can boost your brand’s profile and product sales.
We’ll discuss the pros and cons of offering your customers money-off vouchers to help you navigate the waters of using coupons to grow your business.
That feeling of getting the right item at the right price is what makes coupons so useful when trying to get customers to go from browsing through your online shop to actually putting items into their shopping cart.
Think of a time you were eyeing an item in a shop, but were hesitant about the price. Wouldn’t you be ready to take the plunge after receiving a money-off voucher? Or, think of a product -- a new type of chocolate, a new scent of detergent -- that you wouldn’t have tried if it weren’t for a coupon. If the product was good quality, the coupon likely did it’s job of turning you into a loyal customer by getting you to try it and experience it’s value for yourself.
Want to build your mailing list or social media following? Encouraging an action such as a ‘like’ or ‘follow’ by offering a 10% discount code can do wonders for your social media outreach.
Can you name all the social media icons?
Lastly, coupons have a way of not just garnering new customers, but attracting them from your competitors. Research shows that customers will break their shopping routines to redeem a good coupon, which means that coupons can do the nearly impossible and pull people away from their preferred brands. This is important for new brands, who otherwise may not even appear as an option in the minds of customers who are already loyal to an established brand.
Of course, just making coupons isn’t enough -- how are you supposed to get your coupons in the hands of the ‘right’ customers?
If coupons are a useful tool for attracting new business, imagine their pull when coupled with the all-powerful word of mouth. Try giving a ‘friends and family’ coupon to an existing customer, with the intent that they will share it on social media or forward it to their mates. Since they’ve already had a good experience with your ecommerce store, it’s likely that they’ll include a blurb about what they’ve bought or how pleased they were, making their ‘share’ much more valuable as a marketing tool. In fact, all your coupons should have easily accessible ‘sharing’ buttons, so that they can Tweet, Facebook, or pin your coupon to Pinterest.
Madina-Design a fashion based SupaDupa store, show a great example of promoting a - special 20% discount on their Facebook page.
The one exception to the social media rule of promoting coupons is for coupons that are meant to be seen as exclusive. If your coupon is sent to loyal customers as a reward for repeated purchases, it sends the wrong message to ask them to share it with everyone they know. Instead, make them one-time use coupons -- you can even put their name as the code -- so that they can’t be shared or used again. Coupons sent out to your mailing list usually fall into the ‘exclusivity’ category, but the choice is yours.
Another way to ensure that your coupons get into the right hands is to look to your industry -- specifically, industry blogs. Write to the popular blogs or video bloggers on YouTube that post content that your target consumer would read. Ask them if they’ll post an exclusive discount code, and keep the name easy to remember so that customers who see it on the blog will actually be able to use it. Bloggers will likely say yes, as they’ll be able to offer their viewers exclusive and useful content. Along the way, you’ll get remarkably cheap advertising that’s seen by exactly the kind of people you need.
While coupons can get customers into the door -- and out the doors of your competitors -- they’re not something to give to every customer, every time.
In fact, some people argue that they are only effective when they convince a person who would not otherwise buy your product to make a purchase. Think about it: if a customer who would have bought your product at full price does so with your coupon, you’ve just given away money. This is not a disaster, of course, as research also shows that people who use coupons tend to spend more money. What with the discount they just got, they can afford to throw another item into their cart!
There’s also the problem of reducing the perceived value of your brand if too many coupons are always on offer. If your brand is high-end, older, handmade, or associated with luxury, it can be a detriment to your brand. Louis Vuitton doesn’t sell their overstock bags to outlets or put on sales -- they destroy last season’s bags instead to keep their product scarce and their brand upscale. That doesn’t mean you need to emulate Louis Vuitton, but rather give careful consideration to the exclusivity of your brand and what too many coupons can do to your brand’s image.
Of course, if you have recently decided to start your own online store, it’s very unlikely that you’re at the Hermes level of branding, and very likely that coupons will help rather than hurt your business. Receiving them before making a purchase makes people more likely to buy, while receiving coupons after a purchase makes them more likely to describe their overall experience with your shop as positive. For the cost of a small discount, that’s a marketing no-brainer.
To create coupons within your Boutique, log in to your admin area and click on the "MARKETING" tab in the top right corner and start by choosing “COUPONS”.
Coupon Name - This is mainly for your reference and for you to remember.
Coupon Code - This is the code your customer will use as their coupon when they get to your ‘Checkout’.
Select Coupon Type - Discounts are based on: a percentage of their order value off, a fixed cash value off, free shipping.
Restrict Number of Users - Coupons can be restricted to a set number of customers. For unlimited uses, set toggle to 'NO'.
Start And Finish Date - Decide how long you would like this promotion to last and then set your dates.
Note: Your store is set to your timezone. A coupon only becomes activated when the time and date are reached in your local area.
Apply Coupon - You can apply this coupon to ALL products in your shop by leaving this section as 'Unrestricted' by setting the toggle to 'NO'.
Restrict Coupon - Or, restrict this coupon to a subset of products by choosing Collections or by searching for particular Products to apply using the products search provided.
Save Coupon Finally, click on the 'Save Coupon' button and now the coupon is ready and raring to go!
Why not create a banner image that promotes some of your products and reference a coupon code that can be used to obtain a discount?
Madina-Design a fashion based SupaDupa store, show another strong example of promoting a - special 20% discount by creating a banner for their online store.