6 Ways to Create Effective Coupons to Increase Sales

Wondering why so many customers fail to follow through with a purchase? In a study by PayPal and comScore, they identified the following reasons for online shoppers abandoning their carts:
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Consumers could give you a variety of other reasons for abandoning their shopping carts, but there is one way to address all of those reasons:


Coupon use is on the rise, especially among mobile phone users. One thing is clear: you should definitely be implementing coupons for your online shoppers. The next steps involve optimizing those coupons so that they lead to more purchases.

Strategic Coupon Offers for New Clients

There should be some strategy behind how you decide what coupon to offer customers. If most of your customers are new business, will you see results from offering 10% off for repeat customers? Probably not. You’ll need another coupon to entice more new customers to your door first. Decide what type of special will bring in new customers versus repeat customers, such as a particular product, an overall store discount, or a service that comes free with a purchase.

Coupons will be more effective if you align them with your current marketing strategy. For example, if you are a dentist’s office and your SEO campaign is currently focusing on clients looking for teeth whitening, then create coupons for “free teeth whitening for new patients” or “10% off teeth whitening with exam.” This is also a great way to test what coupons and ads bring in more business.

Custom Deals for Repeat Customers

Generally, it should be easier to guess what your existing clients want from you once they’ve already done business with you. Offer customized coupons based on the customer’s interests, such as these:

  • Birthday discounts you send to loyal clients on their birthday
  • Service reminders to clients who need service at routine intervals
  • Holiday specials
  • In-season products

Try to rise above “coupon spam” with your strategy. Consumers get tired of being bombarded with emails and texts that offer discounts they aren’t interested in. Give them coupons they really want and use.

Making Coupons Mobile Friendly

Now that you have a strategy, you need to push the coupon out to your customers. If your goal is to drive online conversions and sales, then you have to optimize your coupons for mobile users and online shoppers.
coupons mobile

Format your coupons for easy access on mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. You can format mobile coupons in a number of ways:

  • Text only (for text messages)
  • Images (for social media posts and emails)
  • Web-based coupon (for your website, an app, or other webpage)

Remember, your website should also be mobile-optimized, especially if you want mobile users to be able to find or redeem coupons on your website.

Distributing Coupons

It’s up to you to decide how your targeted demographic prefers to receive coupons. Some of the most popular methods are:

  • Text messages
  • Emails
  • Social media posts and updates
  • Apps
  • QR code scans
  • A clickable banner on your site

You may need to do some testing to see which distribution methods get the best response. Here’s a look at some customer-preferred methods:

recieving mobile coupons

Keep in mind that you have to capture the customer’s phone number or email before you can send them a coupon code. QR codes work great for customers who are already in the store. Social media coupons can also entice customers to follow you or submit their phone and email to receive future updates. Social media coupons are a great way to bring in new leads, because you can urge users to “share this coupon with friends.”

Managing Coupon Logistics

It seems obvious, but make sure the terms of your coupon are clear. The coupon should state where and how to redeem the coupon and provide a clear window before expiration. The urgency conveyed by your coupon can also affect how likely the coupon is limited to one per customer, per visit, etc. michael scott

You don’t want to lose money with coupons. Use Michael Scott from “The Office” as an example for good or bad. It’s great to start with a cute coupon idea like a “golden ticket,” but make sure the discount doesn’t backfire and cause you to lose money because you didn’t establish terms or set limits on who can redeem the coupon and how often.

Tracking Coupon Redemption and Sales

Finally, set up a redemption code to help you track the coupon’s performance. Some websites offer unlimited coupon use for whoever enters the code at checkout. Others offer a completely unique redemption code for each customer. It’s up to you. Just make sure you can keep track of how often those codes are used at checkout and whether it improves purchase rates.

Want to improve customer retention as well as first-time purchases? Update your coupon strategy often and keep them coming!