How to Market Your Business With Coupons

In the early 2010s, iconic American department store chain JCPenney was struggling. It wasn't connecting with younger consumers, and sales were stagnant. The company's management decided that one part of the problem was that shoppers were barraged with coupons, so they stopped issuing coupons, shifting instead to a strategy of lowering their regular prices. But it didn't go well: Sales tanked. Study after study has indicated that customers really like coupons, and JCPenney proved those findings in the real world. Coupons offer a unique way for businesses to market themselves to customers and even improve customer relationships with the business.

Now more than ever, shoppers are looking for ways to save money, and offering coupons and discount codes is a big incentive that could encourage customers to support one store or another. A good coupon strategy deployed at an optimal time for your business is a great way to bring in new business, which could create repeat customers down the line! This can be especially important for e-commerce businesses faced with plenty of competition and breaking through it is essential to create a solid customer base. There are many different couponing strategies you can use with your business that could put you ahead of your competition:

  • Single-Use Promo Codes and Coupons: Most coupon strategies, both for online stores and brick-and-mortar locations, involve a generic promo code. It's a simple strategy that offers a generic discount or promotion for all of your customers and potential customers. However, while it may be simple, it's a solid strategy that businesses have used for years because it brings in new customers and gets people to spend time browsing your shop when they might have otherwise missed it.
  • Personalized Coupons: Generic coupon strategies can be great for bringing in potential clients, but personalized coupons can go the extra mile and keep people engaged with your brand. Most consumers prefer discounts tailored to their past brand interactions, but you walk a fine line in offering these kinds of coupons because while customers may want tailored interactions, they aren't always comfortable sharing details. Things like birthday discounts or customer anniversary discounts can be a great way to get around that and make the customer feel appreciated.
  • Urgent Coupons: The goal of urgency marketing is to remind the customer that they have a limited time to act on a deal which drives up response times and use rates. Many times, with coupons, if there's plenty of time attached to their use, people will put it off and eventually forget, but if you create a sense of urgency, people are more likely to purchase immediately. It's a great option for customers who may be on the fence about ordering and can limit shopping cart abandonment. One great example of this is Shein’s promo codes which typically feature a count down timer on their website.
  • Game Couponing Techniques: We all love a good game, there's nothing like going through an activity to win a reward, especially if not everybody gets the reward! It makes it feel special. While real life doesn't always work like that, you can still create a game out of your coupon strategy by having a handful of different rewards for customers that click on email links within a certain period of time, social media games that reward sharing and replying, and even mystery rewards where customers get coupon codes for clicking on links in an email campaign!

You can use different coupon strategies for your business to draw customers to your brand. No matter what size a business may be, issuing coupons can be an effective marketing strategy.

about the author

Clay Cary
Senior Trends Analyst
As an e-commerce analyst at CouponFollow, Clay enjoys spending his time collaborating with brands to make helpful content for consumers and finding great deals to share on CouponFollow. As a recent college graduate, his primary focus is creating resources for consumers, especially students, to save money through online shopping and everyday life.