With the pandemic comes the mad scramble for businesses to sell online. There have been many incentive grants like the Digital Mainstream Grant in Ontario and the Shop Here eCommerce development programs however once the website is built, now what?  Canadians are a little less likely to shop online with new stores than in the US. Business owners are always looking for ways to draw attention on social, get site visitors and convert them to sales.

A coupon is a great way to do that. Its psychology. People love value. Using coupons makes people happy according to a Claremont Graduate University study.   But, couponing is not always about lower price,  we can’t keep discounting! There is a real cost of doing business and small businesses especially can not compete with Amazon and shops from out of country. But what you can do, is create a coupon that allows a special product bundle, a free gift, free shipping or allow a discount only when a threshold is reached.

In ecommerce, a $5.00 online sale is not making you any money. With shipping costs, credit card fees and your time.

Try couponing to increase the cart total!  What how do you do that?

Example; Buy two save 20% instead of buy one and save 20%  this way the cart total is higher.or Spend $250 and save 20% with coupon.  People with strive to spend the 250 just to get the $20% off.

Make it a bundle. This is a great way to clear old stock or Point of sale items items and offer a bundle of complementary products. The customer feels they are getting a deal and you get a higher total sale. Curated bundles are great.  A coupon can be applied to a bundle and since they are receiving 5 items and a discount, it seams like a good deal.

Example: AJ’s “Quilting Essentials” Kit  – 5 must have items in your sewing room for one price.

Add Ons– in a shopping cart you can have add ons that are additional or complimentary products that go with the original product, that increase cart totals. The coupon can discount the add on.

Example: Buy 2 metres of fabric, you can add on matching thread for $3 (save $2 with coupon)

Spend a minimum and get a free gift with purchase. This is a great coupon strategy, people strive to hit the dollar spend to get a Free item.  Now the free item does cost you money so buy bulk promo items or select some point of sale items kicking around to use as a free gift.

Free shipping coupons– Now this is a big and somewhat controversial issue. Shipping is a real cost, especially with smaller online eCommerce stores.  There is time, cost of shipping material and actual shipping cost from the provider.  How to take care of this?  You are going to have to up-charge your prices for products to cover the shipping.  But if you do that, you must advertise the heck out of FREE shipping.

Also you may need a free shipping minimum spend.  You don’t want to be stuck shipping a $5.00 item for free.

Example: Free shipping over $250 with coupon or not.

Always know your costs before applying any coupons. It idea is to make money and move product not break even

If you have a “one of a kind” or “maker” website, couponing is not as prevalent unless you have high stock volumes sitting around or if your product has an expiration date.  One of a Kind items tend to sell based on the uniqueness, quality and reputation of the seller. You certainly can apply coupons for in stock items but I do not recommend discounting custom items.

Hope you found some use in these couponing techniques for eCommerce.