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Motivating Shoppers with Online Coupons (Part 1 of 2)

Online shopping continues to grow at leaps and bounds. Depending on who you ask, the numbers for increase in e-commerce have been consistently coming in at 20-30% year over year. These numbers present a great opportunity for online stores of both products and services. But despite these staggering figures, increasing competition continues to dilute the marketplace. One great opportunity for sellers to increase traffic and revenue in their virtual stores is to offer online coupon codes and discounts through an affiliate program and their advertising. Coupons and discounts have always been a great way to motivate buyers in brick and mortar stores, and now that opportunity has migrated to web shopping!

Coupon codes with expiration help motivate buyers into taking advantage of a one-time discount. Suggesting creative such as "10% off home and garden orders over $50," for instance, gives not only buyers a great opportunity for a deal, but it allows sellers to push a sale or take advantage of seasonal fluctuations in the marketplace. Online coupons can also be a great way to push a specific product in excess inventory or a service that is high demand. By offering a coupon like "Save 20% on Rossignol Zenith Ski's," or "Web hosting only $3.99 a month ? hurry expires in 5 days," sellers are able to create a real or fictitious supply or demand by offering these deep discounts to their website visitors. A great place to find examples of these online coupons for some of the web's top merchants can be found at Coupon Chief.

Another great opportunity to use coupons is with free shipping discount coupons. Many smart online shoppers are beginning to realize the incremental cost to purchasing online due to shipping, sometimes increasing their end price by 10 ? 20%! One source of substantial motivation to these buyers can come from giving a free shipping deal. This allows those customers who can't leave the house or prefer to shop in the privacy of their home to realize the same (or even discounted) cost to making their purchases online.

And don't forget the code! Offering a coupon code or promotion code that a buyer can enter at checkout is a great way to give them a sense of entitlement and make them feel like they're getting the best deal out there. Think about it to yourself for a minute ? when you're using coupons at a grocery store, don't you feel that you're getting the most for your money and stretching your dollar in the most significant way? Shoppers of any product or service get this same feeling when they can input a special coupon code into a box to get an additional savings at checkout.

Another great aspect of coupons is expiration dates. Coupons with expiration can give a sense of urgency to a sale. Again drawing on an analogy to grocery coupons, when you have a coupon for toilet paper that is expiring within the week, do you go ahead and make that purchase knowing you will eventually need to buy the product [without the coupon]? Of course you do, you want to make sure you're getting the best deal! It's easy to see that by putting a time limit on a coupon or discount, you easily can add a sense of urgency to the sale to get a higher conversion.

Online coupon codes can be a great way to market your web store, and is a unique tool to increase sales and boost traffic to your e-commerce website. Next time we'll talk about landing pages and the use of affiliates to further maximize the benefits of online coupon codes, so stay tuned!

Gary Gray - http://www.couponchief.com - provides free online coupon codes and discounts for hundreds of popular internet retailers. With a newsletter and RSS feeds, they syndicate new coupon codes and discounts to motivated online shoppers.

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