Everybody loves a bargain, no matter who they are. You think any self-respecting shopper would ever turn down a good deal? Many people are actually willing to spend more money than they originally planned to, just because they got a good price on something more expensive. Maybe it doesn’t make logical sense, but it doesn’t have to. The point is that any e-commerce store worth its salt should offer some sweet deals to draw in the bargain hunters.
There are many types of deals you can offer.
Storewide sales are one, as are discounts for buying in bulk. However, one of the most effective methods is by accepting discount codes. A discount code is like a coupon for an online store, one that can be used one time by any number of shoppers, for as long as you accept the code. It’s possible to limit the discount code to one user per customer, or have some kind of deal which gives a qualifying customer their own unique, one-use code. However you use them, they make for an excellent deal for shoppers, at little or no cost to you. Discount codes are particularly advantageous for online shops because they can easily be shared from one customer to another; in fact, Pew Research found that eight in ten Americans shop online. This makes discount codes an important marketing tool for stores in the e-commerce industry.
When should you offer discount codes? A common strategy is to offer a discount code that’s only good for a shopper’s first order. This is a great way of bringing in new customers, because that discount might be enough incentive to convince somebody to make an account with you. Grubhub, for example, lets restaurants offer their own discount codes with deliveries, which incentivize people to get an account for that juicy discount on their next meal. For stores where their products can be repeatedly bought on a weekly or monthly basis, discount codes are incredibly effective. 15 percent of surveyed Americans shop online on a weekly basis, according to Pew Research, and the repeated purchases will not only increase sales but also generate higher retention rate.
There are many different ways that your discount code can be applied to a purchase. When you’re considering what kind of discount to offer, think about what your goals are for this particular promotion. After all, there are many different reasons to have a sale, and bringing in new customers is just one of them. If bringing in new shoppers is your goal, consider having the discount code apply to your most popular items. Other goals might include getting rid of overstocked products. If that’s the case, you might want to offer a BOGO deal with an associated discount code.
Remember, a discount code is useless if it’s not promoted.
If it’s a public code, share it across your social media, or even have different codes for different platforms, as an incentive for customers to follow you. Be sure that the code itself is memorable and short. If you’re using personalized promo codes instead, with a referral program for example, be sure to advertise that as well. Send the offer to everybody on your mailing list, and send a follow up email following online purchases.
Another way to offer discount codes is by sponsoring social media influencers. Whether it’s a YouTube channel, a podcast, or an Instagram, influencers love to cross-promote with brands that are relevant to the interests of their audience. You can pay an influencer to promote your store, and give them a promo code for their followers. That way you can associate yourself with that influencer, get a great deal of exposure for little cost, and bring in new customers who are eager to get a great deal on a product advertised by somebody they respect. In fact, Vogue Business found that this method, termed influencer marketing, “appears to have come of age” and is effective.
Now, how do you actually create those promo codes?
Every major e-commerce platform gives its users the option to do-so, but figuring it out can be tricky. Shopify allows for the creation of up to 20,000,000 unique promo codes, so you’re not likely to have any problems with running out of them. Here is a step-by-step guide to offering discount codes on your Shopify e-commerce store. If you don’t use Shopify, your platform of choice probably has a tutorial in the help section of the website.
Your first stop is your Shopify admin page. From there, find the Discounts page. Inside, you’ll see a link to create a new discount. Then you have the option to enter a new discount code. Shopify can also generate one for you at random if you prefer. Next, you’ll be presented with options for what kind of discount the code applies to. You can select a specific value or percentage to take off, a free shipping discount, or a buy X get Y offer.
From there you can customize the promotion even further. You can set what products the code applies to, what customers are eligible, and how long the promo code will be active for. You can even limit the number of times the code can be used in total, and specify that it can only be used once per customer. A more detailed breakdown of the options available can be found here.
That’s all there is to it! Using discount codes is a fun way to engage new customers, rack up more sales, and promote your brand beyond your usual base. So long as you are thoughtful about when you offer them, and to whom, you’ll make a lot of your customers very, very happy.