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Once upon a time, coupons were seen only for stay-at-home moms or fixed-income seniors trying to stretch dollars, or for folks with tons of time on their hands for competitive shopping recon. Today, almost all online shoppers have used a coupon in the last few months. And that’s why you should seriously consider WordPress coupon plugins for your eCommerce site.
Actually, the question is not whether you should offer coupon, but how coupons can be used strategically to improve your bottom line, retain loyal customers, attract new ones and enhance your business.
Try these WordPress coupon plugins
A number of WordPress coupon plugins are available to facilitate coupon creation and distribution. Consider some of these popular options:
Uses a custom post type with settings to configure. Once set it up, generate a coupon shortcode and place the coupon on any post or page you want, where it will stay visible until the defined expiration date.
Allows you to sell coupons, vouchers and licenses directly on your website. It links seamlessly with payment gateways such as PayPal, Authorize.Net and Stripe, and inserts easily into any WordPress page using a shortcode. This global plugin supports multiple languages and currencies, allowing you to reach a wider audience.
Provides incentives such as coupons, PDFs, templates, or files as rewards for email list subscribers, allowing business owners to easily grow their mailing list.
Offers website visitors the chance to purchase gift cards to your WooCommerce store for later use. After making a purchase, your site visitor will receive a customized gift card via email, including a discount code. Ideally your visitor will send this gift card to a new, potential consumer who will make a purchase and become a loyal follower.
This WooCommerce extension adds a social coupon system to your website. Site visitors get instant discounts for sharing your pages.
But just finding and installing the right coupon plugin isn’t enough. You also have to think about how you’ll use the plugin to support your online store.
How would you use WordPress coupon plugins? Ponder the pros.
Coupons would not be so popular if there were not many advantages to using them. For example:
Coupons provide an introduction. They’re a great way to get new customers into your store.
Coupons facilitate re-engagement. They can provide the incentive needed to encourage return business from customers who left you for competitors.
Coupons introduce new products or product lines to current customers. They might also encourage your faithful shoppers to try a new brand of something you already carry, and hopefully that new item has a higher profit margin.
Coupons clear out inventory. They can help you get rid of unwanted or older items if you need space to bring in new items. In addition, off-season discounts allow you to clear shelves before the upcoming season’s “new and improved” models are introduced.
Coupons can build your email marketing list. Requiring an email address to receive the coupon hands you contact information that you can use later to maintain connection.
Coupons can build your social audience. Including them in your social media strategy can help build up your page’s audience. Once customers are following your page, you can continue to communicate with them at no additional cost.
What about the downsides?
Then again, coupons don’t always provide a benefit to your business. Among the arguments against WordPress coupon plugins:
Coupons cost you money. If you offer a discount, you’re handing coupon users money right from your wallet.
Coupons only help if they don’t adversely affect the profit margin of the item covered by the coupon, or if they bring in enough additional income to offset that loss.
Coupons encourage procrastination. If you frequently offer coupons, regular customers could get in the habit of waiting until you send the next one — and that may ultimately reduce some income you would otherwise have received if they were going to make that purchase anyway.
Unusable coupons can lead to unhappy customers. If coupon codes don’t apply — perhaps because they are only for new customers, there is a minimum purchase amount, or they can’t be combined with other offers — a prospective shopper might be discouraged from shopping with you.
Coupons can lead to cannibalization. If the coupon’s only effect is to get customers to buy a comparably priced different brand of the same item they already planned to purchase, there may be very little financial gain.
Coupons don’t guarantee long-term buying. They may also attract non-loyal discount shoppers who won’t stick with you for further purchases.
Offer coupons that support your goals
Before considering what type of coupon to feature (or even whether to offer them at all) identify your objectives, which might include any of the following:
- Differentiating your business from the competition.
- Increasing your brand awareness.
- Increasing overall sales.
- Increasing the average total value of the shopping cart.
- Compensating for seasonal sales losses.
- Targeting specific markets or customer segments.
- Introducing new products to current customers.
- Bringing in new customers.
- Retaining current customers.
- Recovering former customers who have not shopped with you in a long time.
- Rewarding customers as part of a loyalty program.
- Promoting cross-selling or upselling.
Develop a coupon strategy that optimizes results
As part of your strategy for implementing WordPress coupon plugins, consider the following:
- Target audience — new customers, previous customers who have not shopped with you recently, regular ongoing customers, your competitors’ customers.
- What action you want the customer to take — Shop more often, increase transaction totals, try a new product, help you reduce inventory, leave your competitors.
- Distribution methods — Email, website, text message, printed on mailers or flyers, printed on receipts.
- Timing — Promotions tied to holidays or events (e.g. graduation or back to school), off-season discounts to help move inventory that otherwise doesn’t sell in that time period.
- Purchase requirements — Minimum spend, quantity, order total.
- Customer requirements — First-time buyers, buyers who have not purchased within a timeframe.
- Product requirements — New purchases only (excluding renewals), items not already on sale.
- Competitor offerings — What coupons others are providing to entice customers.
- Success measures — How you will determine whether coupons are affecting revenue, profits, merchandise shelf time, customer retention, number of new customers.
Installing WordPress coupon plugins is the easy part
Keep these points in mind to productively integrate coupons into your marketing. Start working on your strategy today for WordPress coupon plugins to achieve improved customer retention and increased profit tomorrow.
Image by: eschipul on Visual Hunt