Outside of active advertising through commercials, billboards, or other physical means and word of mouth, one of the arguably best forms to draw customers to your store is through coupons. The constantly shifting modern economy has made consumers a little more wary about where they spend their money. They like to feel like they are receiving a special benefit for choosing whichever business they spend money. Coupons, both physical and digital versions, are a perfect example of how you can encourage consumers to spend their hard earned money with your business instead of a competitor. According to Mashable, a digital coupon could take a number of different forms, from an email promotion a customer needs to print out and bring to the store or a code sent through an app that can be entered online or via phone to provide a discount. Social media can also be used to distribute digital coupons or codes. These sort of promotions also have the added benefit of drawing potential customers to like your businesses Facebook page or follow you on Twitter so they can access these sorts of exclusive offers.
Creation and Distribution
When it comes to creating your promotions and online coupons, you’ll have to decide on a format. Will you send them out via email, or perhaps do you have an app you want people to download in order to access them? Creating an app specifically for this is a completely viable option, it will just require more work. A membership program is another route that you can look into for your business, as it will motivate customers to remain loyal to your business through not only their investment in your membership but also through the unique and exclusive discounts and promotions you can offer through the program. If you decide to use a membership you must decide on whether you will charge customers for entry into the program. More people might be willing to join a free membership program that offers periodic bonuses, but a paid membership that offers a constant discount can generate even more business as customers will want to get their money’s worth from the program and may return to make purchases or to use your services more often than they may have otherwise.
A previously mentioned, social media can be a fantastic medium to draw in customers through coupons and discounts, requiring consumers to follow your Twitter or like your Facebook page to access exclusive promotions can help not only increase your viewership and customer base, but can help drive loyalty as customers who are always on the lookout for special offers can end up talking to all their friends and family about the phenomenal offers your pages release. Another point in favor of digital distribution of your promotions and offers is the money saved on your end; Media Bistro discusses how distributing a coupon through the mail to a few thousand people can cost a couple hundred dollars. Sending promotions to an email list or through social media is free for you and helps bring more customers in.
When it comes to redemption of promotion codes and coupons, you can run into a unique problem. According to Entrepreneur, a study done by Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management discovered that having a prompt in the checkout section of an online store that asks whether the customer has a promotion code can turn people away from completing a purchase. If a customer sees that there is a promotion available but they don’t have access to the code, they may feel they are being deprived and either just not finish the purchase, or go in search of a competitor who offers better prices. A route you can take to avoid this issue is to integrate a system into your checkout where any current promotions you are running can be automatically entered for customers through a click of a button instead of requiring them to input a code. This method does have its drawbacks, though; you will need to be extremely careful about what these blanket promotions offer, otherwise you could potentially lose a lot of profit margin when heavy traffic of your store during deep discounts occurs. Integrating a system like this into an online store offered by ecommerce solution provider such as Shopify can work to avoid people being turned off, but it might be useful to keep the blanket discounts to a minimum and utilize other means of distribution to give out the heavier discounts. As for redemption of coupons in a physical store, the same sort of issue shouldn’t ever really crop up as you can have a physical copy of a coupon, or just know the codes for when customers ask or complain about not receiving the discount.
Featured Image by Scott Beale