First, a few quick promo code stats by Statistica Research:
- 57% of consumers use digital coupons (2023).
- The number of digital coupons distributed in the United States increased 13.3% in 2021 (2022).
- 40% of consumers seek out digital coupons before online shopping (2023).
- The 18-34 age group leads in digital coupon usage, compared to other age groups (2022).
- Honey was the most used digital coupon site, with RetailMeNot in 2nd place (2023).
Promo codes, also known as promotional codes or discount codes, are vital parts of the modern e-commerce machine. Appearing at the bottom of an email or on popular coupon sites like Honey, these alphanumeric combinations unlock special deals, discounts, and exclusive offers at the checkout screen.
They exist to push consumers over the fence, making that $45 pair of jeans $38 with the stroke of a few keys.
Promo codes are a rare win-win for shoppers and retailers alike. Shoppers enjoy the thrill of the deal, while businesses can drive sales, reward loyalty, and promote new products effortlessly, and for a fraction of the cost of other channels.
If you’re an e-commerce business, you should be marketing with promo codes—period. And if you already are, several common areas can be optimized for even stronger campaigns.
Where are promo codes important?
1. Coupon Websites
Two types of consumers frequent coupon websites.
First, there’s the consumer who is already on your checkout page. They might see the “promo code” box above their product total and do a quick search online, in the possibility that they can shave a few dollars off their cart total. These people already know you and likely are already committed to the purchase.
Stumbling upon a coupon code will make their customer experience a bit better, but these aren’t the people you’re looking to target by establishing a partnership with a coupon site. You want the other type of consumer: The deal-seeker.
These shoppers start their purchase journey from the coupon site, combing through deals and looking for the best buy, regardless of brand.
If you’re a lesser-known brand in the market, these are the people you want to entice and convert. Realistically, they’re buying your product because it’s cheaper and it’s on their go-to website. But once they leave that website for yours, the customer service and product quality will leave a lasting impression. Dare we say loyalty?
Your high-percentage-off coupon might not pad your bottom line, but it has the potential to build long-term followers. Arguably, that’s much more important.
Just getting your feet wet? Start your affiliate marketing journey here.
2. Influencer Marketing
E-commerce brands partner with influencers because they offer what traditional paid advertising struggles to do: authenticity.
Dedicated followers know they’re being advertised to when their favorite YouTubers “drop a link below.” Still, there's weight to this person’s endorsement, trusting they wouldn’t promote a product they don’t believe in.
When working with influencers, having them offer promo codes is the highest credibility push possible. It means the influencer will back a product beyond one 30-second ad, and that they’re confident enough to enter a longer-term partnership. Influencers also deliver the offer in a way that makes it exclusive, which is also why these promo codes tend to include the influencer’s name.
From an analytics perspective, these codes serve as a measurable way to view the success of an influencer collaboration. They allow you to track conversions and assess the impact of specific influencers on their audience.
3. Email Marketing
Unlike the first two channels, email marketing allows you to tailor your promo code to the individual.
If you’re not familiar with segmentation and automation, this probably sounds like a lot more work.
Really, it’s not.
Today, most major email platforms have the ability to set up automated emails when an audience member meets a certain set of conditions. They don’t even need to meet those conditions in the moment of setup—campaigns can anticipate and respond to future behavior.
For example, you can create an email campaign that sends promo codes to welcome first-time visitors who provide their information in a pop-up. Usually, these codes contain the words “WELCOME” or “HELLO,” but you decide what makes sense for your business.
Before any of this though, you’ll need to integrate your website with your e-commerce platform, whether that’s Shopify, Squarespace, or something else. After that, the possibilities for personalization are endless.
A few possibilities:
- Provide a promo code for your customer’s birthday.
- Offer a promo code to reengage a customer who hasn’t purchased in X amount of days.
- Bring a customer back to their abandoned cart with a promo code.
From coupon websites to influencer marketing and the personalized realm of email campaigns, these alphanumeric codes can transform a hesitant shopper into a loyal customer. If you're an e-commerce business, they offer a competitive edge that you simply can’t ignore.
Whether you're just starting or looking to enhance your current strategy, there's always room for improvement. At Informatics, we’ll work with you to explore the endless possibilities of promo code optimization. Just reach out!