Retail Customer Experience: Eight insights for maximizing online coupon use
By Christian Gordun, CEO, Coupon Craze
Through a special arrangement, presented
here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Retail Customer
Experience, a daily news portal
devoted to helping retailers differentiate the shopping experience.
to Borrell Associates, online coupon redemptions are projected to jump more
than 50 percent to $12.7 billion in 2010 and to $22 billion by 2014. By definition,
online coupons are codes and special activated links and/or landing pages
for online retailers. They are solely meant for the shopping cart checkout
process and are not valid in brick and mortar stores.
Here are eight key insights
about online coupons that will help prevent customer disappointment and frustration,
protect brand reputation and decrease cart abandonment.
- Think Beyond Discounts: If you have a luxury brand and don’t
want to discount items, there are other creative ways to offer customer incentives,
including free shipping or gift wrapping or throwing in bonus items. You
don’t always need to cut the price!
- Beware of Expiration Dates: These are always a big problem since
some retailers don’t put expiration dates on their offer when it is
in limited supply. Others don’t clarify times (i.e., time zones), but
those few hours can make a difference to a shopper. It’s critical for
a merchant to offer all the details up front and in a clear and concise way
to avoid customer frustration.
- Mix it Up: Don’t keep recycling the same offer over and over
again each month. The monotony will stall sales since users come to expect
the discount. Create urgency with new offer and expiration dates.
- Keep it Simple: Using lingo such as "$10 off after MIR" (Mail
in Rebate) or unclear combinations such as "10 percent off purchase
plus free shipping with $50 purchase" will leave consumers confused
and unlikely to apply the discount. Restriction details also demand clarification.
Clearly outlining details on landing pages will prevent customer disappointment
when they arrive on the site.
- Watch Number and Letter Combinations: Careful using coupon codes
with "0" and "O" in the sequence. People often confuse
the two and usually get upset at the merchant when the discount doesn’t
- Test Out Different Offers: Retailers often assume there’s
one coupon that works better for them, e.g. new customer offers, dollars
off, percentage off, free shipping. The flexibility to add and change offers
online is easy though, so never assume only one works best.
- Align Coupons to Company Goals: Is the goal to increase basket size
or raise minimums? Are you trying to clear inventory or reach new customers?
There are many different strategies that can be applied to coupons so always
be sure to test and align with what the company’s goals and needs are.
- Be Transparent with Minimum Price Points: Deals are often listed
as "20 percent off" but when customers get to the landing page
it may say "20 percent off $100 purchase." This can be misleading
to consumers and cause a negative impact on a brand. Always provide as much
information as possible up front so that users clicking through are fully
aware of the amount they must spend.
Discussion Questions: What do you think of the suggestions offered in the
article for maximizing online coupon redemption? Are there other items you would
add to the list?