You may not know it yet, but you have it in your power to draw in a massive segment of the buying public…like, 95%’s worth of a massive segment. It’s well within your reach, and it’s simpler than you think.
It all depends on one word: Coupons.
Shocked? You shouldn’t be. The concept of the discount may sound as though it’ll most likely cost you money, but the reality is that coupons can yield mega returns in the long run.
In a January 2017 post, Business Know-How revealed Advertising Age reported 87% of all retail shoppers actively incorporate coupons into their buying processes. The post went on to cite a Nielsen Company finding that a full 95% of shoppers “like” coupons (which would seem to imply that these buyers enjoy using coupons on at least a semi-regular basis). Similarly, a March 2014 Business Insider piece noted that 90% of “financially savvy and deeply conservative” Millennials tend to utilize coupons when developing shopping lists, according to the results of a marketing survey. In addition, a hefty 60% of Millennial survey respondents admitted to sharing and trading discount offers across social media platforms.
Need even more proof? Neil Patel’s Kissmetrics blog reports an impressive 86% of consumers to say coupons are a deciding factor when shoppers are faced with a choice between brands. Plus, Huffington Post’s Danny Wong observes that coupons themselves may have a positive psychological effect on recipients; a single voucher can mean higher oxytocin levels, reduced heart rates, and slower respiration (yes, you read that correctly—a decrease in prices can mean a decrease in anxiety).
The numbers are in, and the evidence is overwhelming: If your retail business employs a coupon plan, your company vastly increases its chances of getting on a customer’s radar. And that, to paraphrase one of America’s greatest entrepreneurs, “is a good thing.”
But by now you may be thinking, “Appealing to consumers is one issue, but translating customer interest into dollars is quite another.” And you’d be absolutely right.
So…what can coupons do for you specifically?
A quick rundown of the benefits:
Coupons help you keep the customers you already have.
Everyone knows maintaining a customer base is often just as hard, if not harder, than reining in new consumers. Why not make that job a little easier by showing the customers you already have some added love?
A coupon can help you remind your existing customers that you’re still around and simultaneously telegraph some positive buyer reinforcement (“We know you have a lot of options, so thanks for choosing us!”…that sort of thing). The experts at Shopify advise using coupons as a “way to show your appreciation” for your fans, adding that an occasional coupon code in the email inboxes of your long-standing customers can be an effective form of “thanks.” Little (or big) discounts here and there will probably make customers hungry for more of what you offer and will keep you foremost in their minds the next time they need one of your products—even if that need doesn’t immediately coincide with a discount offer.
They can also widen your customer circle.
Say you’ve mastered the art of holding on to your customer base. The next logical step would be to expand your audience, no? Of course, it would be. (We know you knew that.) And coupons have you covered in that area, too.
Marketing gurus seem to be in agreement that an upswing in discount offers generally leads to increased traffic. In its January 2017 retrospective, Business Know-How announced that frequent use of a “good couponing strategy” is a surefire way to gain “a steady stream of new customers and [new] high-quality sales leads.” And the benefits are even greater if you own brick and mortar stores. “We know that customers will travel far to redeem a valuable coupon,” Business Know-How added. It seems that offering a tantalizing discount can help you get your foot in the door by…well…getting customers’ feet inside your door. Once you get them inside (or get them on your site if you’re working digitally), you can mine them for basic demographic data and create a solid lead.
The POS will also prompt your sales associates if a customer has unused coupons.
And, think about this: We’ve all considered checking out a new product simply because we had a coupon for it. Discounts are an instant attention-grabber, even for consumers who may be faithful to other brands. Who says “no” to a half-off voucher for a scented hand soap, even if the soap isn’t their usual go-to? Not many people. Coupons may hold the key to jumpstarting mass interest in your inventory.
Customers may come for the coupons, but they’ll stay for whatever else you have on hand.
Let’s be real. How often do any of us stop at the minimum purchase level when we’re shopping with a discount offer in our pockets? A quick check-in with the lending platform and customer data monitor Kabbage gives a pretty definitive answer: “none of us.” “If you offer a coupon that takes $10 off when customers spend $30 or more, they are more likely to spend at least $30 just to receive the discount,” Kabbage observes in its blog. And it makes perfect sense. Just the presence of a coupon can sometimes make consumers feel as if they have more money to spend, which may, in turn, lead them to spend more money. Why not leverage this phenomenon to better your bottom line?
Review a list of coupons — active and inactive — in the back office.
A well-placed coupon may look like a deficit on paper, but it can ultimately yield bigger profits for your business. A Seewhy.com study found that a discount can often tip the scale for customers and eventually turn idle online shopping cart items into full-blown purchases (shopping cart recovery rates jumped a whopping 244% upon the introduction of a coupon, according to the study). The Huffington Post likewise credits coupons with kicking consumer buying habits into high gear. “Sometimes, the welcome surprise of a promotional sale in a customer’s inbox is enough to spark an exciting shopping spree,” Danny Wong of HuffPost notes. A single discount may be all you need to unleash a newer, more forceful stream of revenue.
Think of coupons as friendly allies in the fight for healthy returns. Discounts can be just as useful to you, the retailer, as they would be if you were on the other side of the cash register. But obviously, you should proceed with caution. If you try out a coupon or two, and the results leave you in the red, you maybe want to re-evaluate and try a different battle tactic.
Review the details of a coupon. Is it tied to a promotion or a standalone offer? At which locations?
Concerned as to how to put the above knowledge into practice? Here are a few tips on coupon usage before we go…
- Don’t focus on your product, focus on your consumer. Digioh Lead Generation Blog counsels using “emotional engagement” when reaching out to your customers with a coupon. Don’t ask them to consider how great your items are, ask them to think about themselves and what they need instead. If online store owners are feeling ambitious, Digioh also recommends catering discount offers to specific customers using site statistics and following up on purchasing progress with strategic remarketing emails.
- Lean towards dollars and not percentages. Business Know-How cautions retailers that discounts offering “dollars off” are more likely to resonate than coupons that give a percentage number.
- Don’t make your customer search too hard. Make offers legible and easy to comprehend. And be sure to display them clearly (online and in-store). Digioh suggests online retailers employ discount popups at various stages of the buying process and use obvious calls to action.
- Don’t flood the coupon market. Consumers are often savvier than you think. If you keep the same discount on offer for an extended period of time, they’ll likely catch on and get bored. Be sure to mix things up.
- Don’t forget print media. Kissmetrics finds a full 62% of shoppers still comb through the newspapers for coupons. Business Insider also states that over 50% of Millennials “prefer” receiving coupons in print form. Don’t neglect this outlet when implementing a coupon plan.