Digital coupons are among the most effective shopping incentives, a recent whitepaper by Forrester Consulting reports. Shoppers prefer coupons and coupon codes over other types of promotions, and when they’re using a coupon, customers abandon their shopping carts far less frequently.
With that in mind, should coupons be part of your holiday marketing strategy? The key word here is strategy. Coupons, like any other marketing tool, should be used sensibly to move you closer to your business goals. Creating coupons haphazardly, without a clear plan, just because ‘everyone’s doing it’ won’t, in the long run, help you meet your business goals. Take the time to create a strategy, however, and coupons’ value will soon make itself clear to you.
Here’s what you need to know in order to create a successful coupon campaign:
What items are you going to discount?
Coupons that offer a discount on everything in the store or a total purchase are popular, but they’re hardly your only option. You can create coupons putting your highest margin items in the spotlight. An obvious option is to discount items that have been sitting in inventory for some time and you’re motivated to move! Another smart choice? Don’t discount any of your merchandise, but create a free shipping code. Customers love saving on shipping, which can be a relatively small cost compared to any discounts you would otherwise offer.
How are you going to spread the word about your coupon campaign?
For best results, you need as many people as possible to know about your coupons – particularly if you haven’t already trained your customers to expect coupons from you. Ways to do this include posting about the coupons on your website, via social media, using in-store signage, and including the coupons in your email newsletters. If you’re doing any radio or television advertising, devote some of the spot to telling customer where they can find their money-saving coupons!
How long will your coupons run?
Timing and frequency are crucially important considerations when planning a coupon campaign. Decide exactly when you’d like to start and stop offering the discount, and when it makes the most sense to offer it to your customers. Coupons can be deployed strategically to lure in early-bird shoppers, the type who start their holiday shopping now, and as a way to make the last-minute buyer choose your store rather than anyone else. Use your calendar to plan out how many coupon campaigns you’d like to conduct throughout the year, and make sure your staff is fully informed on what the offer is and how it works. That’s the best way to make sure you’re thrilled with the results of your coupon campaign.