Something very common in the eCommerce industry is online promotions. So popular are coupon codes, online discount vouchers, and gift certificates that there are entire sites dedicated to promoting promotions. That’s right! Sites like fatwallet.com, couponcabin.com, and others create online user forums or setup affiliate programs with specific products and plan their business ranking high on the search engine results page (SERP) for commonly search terms.
I’m sure you are offering types of gift certificates and promotions using vouchers or coupon codes on your shopping cart but are you measuring the effectiveness of the promotions? Even more important are you loosing potential online shoppers because they are confused or frustrated with out of date or inaccurate coupon codes they found on another website not partnered with you? Well here are a few tips to make sure that your shopping cart promotions are netting you new business not customer frustrations and abandoned carts.
- First off if you are going to offer promotions you need to have a page or section on your site with all currently available vouchers neatly organized and that page needs to be highly SEO’d or optimized for search. Some eCommerce merchants will actually direct their PPC campaigns like Google adWords to their coupon page. This ensure higher conversion rates for one but more importantly, if done right allows your page to rank on the SERPs when a customer searches your product and coupon together.
- Using alternative naming conventions is another nice way to curb the frustration potential shoppers have when they reach a site with outdated coupons. You are less likely to show up on their page if you don’t have traditional “coupon codes” . Why wouldn’t you want the free traffic you ask? Well let’s say that a potential customer is searching for your widget on discount. They may end up on one of these pages feel like it is a potential spam site and bounce immediately. Even if they do make it to your site the chances are the coupon is old and not working and they are now frustrated.
- If you are already dealing with the dilemma of shopping cart abandonment after coupon code errors try building a custom page for these customers and offering a different promotion. This obviously applies if you have a low conversion rate after an error on the checkout page but most likely it is low. Offering even a small discount with an explanation that the promotion they thought they were going to get has expired makes online customers feel special. This is very effective at salvaging sales.
- Eliminate coupons all together and find alternative ways to market discounts and promotions. Let’s face it coupons are a great marketing vehicle but adding it to your checkout page is clearly not a checkout optimization feature. Just by having the box there for a customer to fill a code in most cases prompts them to go to Google and search for a promotion. How likely are they to come back after a frustrating search. Or how likely are your competitors to be found with a similar or better promotion on similar products? This is something to take into serious consideration.
So moral of the story is coupons can be great for eCommerce business but they can also be a potential threat to your revenue if not analyzed and monitored effectively. You should have a very sharp method of tracking every promotion you’ve run. Knowing what customer profiles respond well to vouchers also allows you to better market to them in the future. For example, customers who first bought from you via promotion may very well be waiting for that next opportunity to save 10%. If you use email marketing campaigns maybe you want to select just those customers for a special? That’s it for tonight. Happy selling!