Everyone loves a deal, and e-commerce shoppers are no different. Coupons, discounts, and other offers can draw in new customers and build loyalty with existing ones.
In fact, according to a recent survey by Vericast, 83 percent of consumers bought at least one item in the last six months — and 62 percent shopped with a brand for the first time — because of a coupon or discount. Those figures suggest that shoppers are, perhaps more than ever, drawn to brands and products at least in part by money they will save.
“Discounts and coupons can boost sales and brand awareness for e-commerce businesses the same as for brick-and-mortar locations,” Sarah O’Grady, vice president of brand marketing for Vericast, told the E-Commerce Times.
“While the in-store shopping experience will bring a sense of normalcy to consumers, there’s also an incredible opportunity for e-commerce businesses to build on what attracted shoppers to their businesses and incent them to continue shopping online.
“Catering to the increased value consumers place on discounts and savings, brands can connect more deeply with consumers by addressing their wants and needs with targeted, timely and relevant offers,” she explained.
Consumers are bombarded continually with advertising and purchase opportunities, and discounts can help them to make a decision in the demanding and sometimes difficult-to-navigate digital world.
“Particularly in this kind of accelerated digital environment, where competition is fierce, discounts and coupons create a strong sense of urgency, encouraging prompt decision making, and the prospect of a completed sale,” Nate Burke, CEO of Diginius, told the E-Commerce Times.
“As well as engaging with new and existing customers, it promotes and directs users to interjoined mailing lists and newsletters, so that communication with the customer can be set up moving forward,” noted Burke.
By helping consumers to make decisions, discounts can help ease their shopping journeys and guide them effortlessly toward a purchase.
“Today’s shopper isn’t just shopping at brick-and-mortar stores,” Ken Platt, managing director of e-commerce and sponsored search for Quotient Technology, told the E-Commerce Times.
“They’re buying online, they’re placing click-and-collect orders, and they’re having things delivered. Ultimately, I believe that shoppers are going to shop however they want to shop. It’s up to retailers to make that consumer journey as frictionless as possible.
“If e-commerce and omnichannel businesses can enable coupons on their platform the same way that shoppers are used to redeeming coupons in-store, that makes it all the more compelling for consumers to choose their platform the next time they need to purchase something,” he reasoned.
Sometimes, discounts are just what consumers need to push them toward completing a purchase, since they lower the stakes a bit and encourage shoppers to try something new.
“Just as with traditional brick-and-mortar retail, e-commerce coupons can be a strategic way to convince on-the-fence customers to pull the trigger,” Katie Capka, marketing manager for Kaspien, told the E-Commerce Times.
“Specifically, on Amazon, coupons can be an effective way to boost listing performance, even providing residual benefits well after the coupon has concluded. Amazon’s A9 algorithm takes into account many factors, one of them being listing conversion rate.
“Coupons are a sure-fire way to boost the listing conversion rate, which will help Amazon’s A9 algorithm recognize the listing as one worth showing higher on the search results page, ultimately helping with sales even after the promotion has ended,” she explained.
In addition to prompting consumers to make purchases, discounts and coupons can help to facilitate a sense of loyalty toward a brand. That loyalty, in turn, can help bring customers back in the future — even when they don’t have a coupon.
“Businesses today need to show value to their customers and offers or coupons are one way to do that,” Ty Lim, senior vice president of marketing for Formation, told the E-Commerce Times.
“Creating engaged, long-term customers with loyalty programs and offers ensures e-commerce businesses are growing their business in a scalable, efficient way. Companies have a 60 to 70 percent likelihood of selling to an existing customer, compared to just five to 20 percent for new prospects,” said Lim.
Discounts introduce customers to a company’s products and philosophy, and in so doing might engage those customers so much that they return of their own accord.
“While on the surface discounts and coupons are ways to market products and engage customers, the real driver is to build loyalty,” Sean Turner, CTO and co-founder of Swiftly, explained to the E-Commerce Times.
“The lines between e-commerce and in-store purchases have blurred, and with the right technology solution retailers can provide brand funded coupons to shoppers that drive volume without hurting the bottom line. Retailers must find ways to deliver value, and if you’re not offering all the discounts you can, you’re leaving money on the table,” he maintained.
Offer True Value
Coupons and discounts are evolving with along with technology and shopping trends, but there seems to be one constant: consumers want to feel like they’ve gotten a deal.
“When communicated properly, coupons or discounts should feel like a reward,” Matthew Reevy, SEO manager for Ueni, told to the E-Commerce Times.
“From the consumer perspective, I should feel like I am getting an excellent deal on something that has real, tangible value. If I get the feeling that a business is just trying to shift some old stock or that the promotional price on offer isn’t that much different from what I could find anywhere else online, I’m most likely not going to bother with it.”
Ultimately, even as they evolve, coupons and discounts will likely remain an indelible part of e-commerce sales.
“They’ve become something of an expectation now,” said Reevy. “It may well be that with the genie out of the bottle, coupons and discounts become less of a promotional exception and more of a regular cost of doing business for e-commerce companies.”