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On Site Coupon Codes
Why Doesn't Everyone Use Them?

 4:10 pm on Dec 2, 2008 (gmt 0)


Since Weds last week I have had a coupon code banner for free overnight shipping and 5% off all orders on our site. I had a big nice banner on the homepage, category pages and product pages. Looking through the stats for the past 5 days I noticed about 75% of my customers did not use it!

I then talked to a friend of mine that owns a Christmas related online business and he said he did the same thing and about 50% of his customers did not use the on site codes either.

My question is why don't people use them?

1/ They are so interested in the products on the site that they somehow do not see them?
2/ They don't know what coupon codes are?
3/ They don't know how to use coupon codes on a site?

Next sale I am going to consider just dropping my prices and offering the free shipping without a coupon code and I am worried visitors may have not know how to use them and didn't purchase.


Did anyone else experience this?



 4:49 pm on Dec 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

I can't speak for all, but I can tell you why I often don't use them: they're everywhere. Beverage companies hand them out on the bottom of caps, every email I receive seems to have at least one, there are whole pyramid schemes based on these coupons. Whole parked sites dealing with coupon codes....

I assume that most of the codes are fake or outdated or give me "free desktop wallpaper" etc. Real, true junk. So I rarely use them. That really rules out #'s 1 and 2.

I probably would have used yours as it was posted on the site I would be purchasing from and the value of the code is clear...


 12:22 am on Dec 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Interesting subject.

There was a webmaster here a few years ago from a large ecommerce company who said everyone should cover their site, even the cart, with juicy coupon deals because 1/2 the customers ignore them. That guy was a font of web marketing info.

He believed that shoppers were influenced by the codes but never got around to actually entering the code. Crazy, eh?

OTOH, I'd be worried about customers later wanting to know where their coupon deal was or thinking we had scammed them.


 2:56 am on Dec 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Our experience is similar. We heavily promote coupon codes, have a very visible box for coupon code entry during checkout, and yet the majority of customers don't enter a code.

We typically offer a different mix of 5 to 10 coupon "deals"; anything from 10% off with no minimum, to free widgets with purchase of $40 or more, free shipping offers, etc.

In our opinion, coupons work well to get eyeballs looking at your site. In that sense, they are similar to brick 'n Mortar "mail-in rebates"; they attract customers with good deals, but who actually spends the time to lick the envelope to mail them in?


 8:45 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

We still use coupon codes but now enter it for them during checkout. At first they had to enter the code themselves but 50% never did. We found that nearly 90% of those that didn't called or emailed wanting the discount... it was quite the hassle on our end so we do it for them now. The easier the process for the consumer, the better. We now promote a "no hassle" coupon automatically applied during checkout and it's working quite well for us.


 10:02 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Next sale I am going to consider just dropping my prices and offering the free shipping without a coupon code and I am worried visitors may have not know how to use them and didn't purchase.

We've done this in the past and while it had excellent sales volume results, there was one unwanted result as well.

Multiple competitors complained to some of the larger manufacturers that we were selling widgets well below standard retail. Even though the sale only lasted two days, we narrowly avoided a price war and frozen wholesale accounts.

It depends on the market, and it depends on your competition. I'd be very careful automatically entering customer coupons/discounts. You never know who's watching.

It might sound petty, especially around the holidays, but it happens.

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