When a Coca-Cola businessman created the first coupons in the late 1880s, he didn’t expect them to transform the retail industry. However, digital coupons are an everyday part of life for millions of online shoppers around the world. When that little pop-up appears on the screen with promises of discounts, free shipping, and BOGO (buy one get one) deals, it’s hard to resist the click!

E-commerce and online stores of all kinds can use coupons to boost sales, draw in new customers, and establish themselves as competitors in their market. Use the coupon best practices below to increase your chances of making a sale.

The Importance of Digital Coupons in the E-Commerce Age

digital coupons in ecommerce

Coupons serve several purposes when it comes to retail businesses:

Land new customers

Coupons attract new customers who are curious to try your brand’s offerings, but may be hesitant to pay full price for something they aren’t familiar with yet. In fact, 39% of consumers have purchased a product from a brand they otherwise wouldn’t have because they were offered a coupon. The worst case is that even if new customers are one-time shoppers, you still got a sale from them!

Build customer loyalty

Coupons encourage customers to remain loyal, especially when frequent shoppers are re-targeted with “come back” coupons. A whopping 91% of coupon users would purchase from a brand again if they were offered another coupon. Use this to your advantage by sending recent shoppers additional coupons to use on their next purchase.

Promote new products

Coupons help you advertise new products by encouraging both established and new customers to try the product at a discounted price. This is significantly cheaper for your company than funding a full advertising campaign to promote the new product.

Get market research

Coupons give you invaluable market research through their digital tracking codes, which monitor everything from consumer demographics to purchase behavior.

How to Create and Use Digital Coupons to Drive Sales

Create the Perfect Digital Coupon

There are a few basic elements of digital coupons that are necessary for a successful campaign. Include each of these elements and watch your sales skyrocket.

A Clear Expiration Date Taps into the Scarcity Principle

Much of coupon creation relies on consumer psychology. A clearly-listed expiration date on the face of the coupon taps into a principle of behavioral economics known as the scarcity principle.

This principle states that when the demand for a product is more than the supply of the product, the price is driven upwards. When translated to consumer behavior, this principle implies that items in limited supply are perceived as more valuable, and are therefore sought out more intensely by shoppers.

An expiration date on the face of the coupon tells consumers that the deal is time-limited. This simple feature creates a sense of urgency in shoppers, who want to capitalize on the deal before it ends.

Here are a few ways to phrase your coupon’s expiration messaging to create this sense of urgency in consumers:

  • Offer ends [DATE].
  • Valid through [DATE].
  • Use by [DATE] to save!

A Catchy Call-to-Action Promotes a Purchase Behavior

A call-to-action (or CTA) is a well-known element of marketing that encourages shoppers to take the next step in the purchase process. For e-commerce sites, this message helps to convert browsing shoppers to potential customers when they click on the coupon.

Be sure to observe these best practices when writing your call-to-action:

  • Action verbs should be used towards the beginning of the message to prompt a click.
    • Example: “Jump on this deal before it’s gone!”
  • Use budget-friendly lingo to entice money-conscious shoppers.
    • Example: “Save up to 40% with code SHOP40.”
  • Walk customers through the process of using the coupon to eliminate confusion.
    • Example: “Enter code SAVE in the box at checkout to apply.”

Digital Tracking Codes Give You Helpful Consumer Data

Want to run a market research campaign but don’t have the funding? Use coupons! The digital barcode or QR code on coupons gives you valuable data about the demographics and behavior of your shopping audience.

You can track the life cycle of the coupon in a few different ways, but perhaps the most popular is the online coupon redemption tracking tool. This tool shows you data on how your coupons perform, which versions of the coupon are most successful, and which ones are under-performing.

How to Distribute Digital Coupons for the Best Results

The internet is a big place, but there are a few specific distribution channels that are most effective when it comes to coupons.

  • 90% of millennials say they share deals with their friends and family, and 43% of those say they share via social media.
  • Receiving daily deals is the #1 reason people subscribe to marketing emails.
  • 61% of smartphone users subscribe to mobile messaging for deals and incentives.

Whether your online brand sells paperclips or the latest in interior design trends, digital coupons could make all the difference when it comes to growing your sales.

Marielle-Lea200Marielle Lea is a content marketer and writer who works to grow her client’s brand awareness through content creation and promotion. She is a passionate creative who thrives on marketing strategy and keeping up with the latest in SEO trends. She currently writes for Coupon Chief on topics related to e-commerce, personal finance, and small business strategy.

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