Online Store Coupon Ideas

15 Effective Coupon Ideas for Your Online Store

If there’s one thing everyone knows about shoppers, it’s that they cannot ignore a good deal. And coming up with new coupon ideas is a sure-fire way to attract new customers. Don’t believe me? Well, in just 2021, 145.3 million Americans used coupons when shopping.

Even crazier, shoppers are 80% more likely to buy products from a new store if they have some form of a discount coupon to use. The bottom line is if you give people a way to save money on something they were going to buy anyway, you just got another customer.

Today, I am going to cover 15 coupon ideas to help your store attract new customers.

Are These Coupon Ideas Free To Use?

Honestly, it really depends on the tools you are already using. For example, many eCommerce platforms support discount codes at no extra cost to you, while others make you pay extra for it.

If it is already supported, then you are good to go. If not, get ready to pay extra.

Some ideas may require you to pay a third party, like an influencer to distribute the code for you. And that can get really expensive depending on the rate they charge and what industry you are in.

The bottom line is that you will most likely pay money to use some of these ideas, but as the saying goes, “you gotta spend money to make money.”

15 Coupon Ideas to Attract New Customers

1. Buy One Get One Free Coupons (BOGO)

There is nothing that will attract customers faster than a BOGO coupon. It makes the customer feel like they are getting something for free, which they are. However, these types of coupons or sales are trickier to pull off.

They are best used on products that you simply have too many of and are not selling. In some cases, you might need to adjust the default price to make a BOGO profitable. That said, even just breaking even can be worth it from a marketing perspective.

2. Percentage-Off Coupon

When it comes to must-have discount coupon ideas, a percentage off an order is the most common type of coupons visitors will use. And you should even take advantage of them further by offering them as part of an email subscription.

You get to send out marketing material to customers, and they may be able to get a 5% off their next order. It’s a win-win situation and they are pretty simple to create.

You might want to consider making a minimum purchase required to use them.

3. Free Shipping

As an online store, one of the most important aspects is how you deliver products to customers, or in other words, the shipping aspect. Amazon has changed the standard of shipping, and no one can match them.

But if you offer a free shipping coupon or offer when buying certain products, or perhaps products that are worth a certain value, you can really save customers some money.

Let’s face it, shipping can add up fast. When you get to the cart and see shipping, taxes, and other fees, you may rethink that purchase.

4. Money-Off Coupons

When it comes to classic coupons, money-off discounts are the most iconic. They are still widely used today, especially in supermarkets. For example, when you get behind that one lady that seems to have a coupon for every item in her cart?

Yeah, those are money-off coupons. They will typically give a small amount like $1 off of a certain product. They are easier for customers to use because they don’t require figuring out a percentage, but they’re not as popular in an online environment.

5. Referral Codes

It can be difficult to spread the word that a new online store is open for business. And one way that all businesses try to combat this is through a referral system.

This is where one customer is rewarded for inviting their friends or family to also shop there.

The rewards for this tend to vary on a store-by-store basis, but the most common is usually a small discount code or a small amount of store credit. While this is highly effective, it can be a bit difficult to create a system for one.

6. Free Item With Every Purchase

While this might not technically be a coupon, it’s pretty much the same thing. This tactic is very successful in the beauty supplies industry. Most are aware that they will get free samples sent to them if they buy certain products.

However, this isn’t exclusive to beauty products. It’s even common in restaurants. For example, if you go to Moe’s, you get free chips and dip with every order. It’s a small thing, but it really makes the customer feel like they are getting a good deal.

7. Loyalty Program

Loyalty or reward programs are designed to keep customers coming back for making multiple purchases. They are extremely common in food industries. For example, a sandwich store will usually give you a small card and add a sticker every time you buy a sub.

Perhaps you have an app on your phone for reward points at your favorite coffee shop.

Once you reach a certain amount, you will be entitled to a free sub or coffee. The same can be applied to online products as well, and it is much easier since consumers don’t have to remember to keep/bring the card.

Of course, there are other ways to reward customer loyalty.

8. Give Customers A Free Gift Card

You might think this has nothing to do with a coupon. But let me ask you this; is there a difference between a coupon that gives you $10 off your next purchase and a $10 gift card? The truth is there really isn’t, and in many cases, a gift card sounds more glamourous.

Obviously, this does mean your store would need to support a gift card, but there are a lot of ways to do this in today’s world.

It’s especially effective when you give it as a reward for signing up for a subscription. That way, they come back to do some shopping with their new gift card.

9. Prelaunch Coupons

Do you have a new product or service launching soon? If so, one of the best ways to promote it is to hand out prelaunch coupons. These are coupons that will let customers get a discount on a brand new product or service you offer.

Many customers will choose to wait for reviews to come out on a new product. But by giving them a limited time window to use a prelaunch coupon, they feel like they’re missing out if they don’t buy it on day one.

It’s a great marketing tactic.

10. Automatic Coupons

Sometimes, customers can forget to enter a discount code. They then realize this and do one of two things. They call up your customer support and request the coupon to be accepted, or they cancel the order outright and try to buy it again with the coupon code.

Both of these really suck for a business.

One way you can avoid this is just by making the coupon codes automatically applied. This has two advantages. The first is to avoid what I just mentioned, and the second is that customers unaware will benefit and be more likely to come back to catch another deal.

11. Influencer Discount

On some level, this is no different than the referral codes we talked about earlier. But there is a big difference when the referer is your mom and your favorite YouTuber.

Look, it’s no secret that YouTubers are trying to make money, and as a result, they get to give out exclusive discounts to their audience.

For example, anyone that follows gaming channels has probably seen a discount code for GFuel. The main difference between this and a referral code is that you are essentially getting a marketing ad at the same time, but it does cost more.

12. Mobile Coupons

We do just about everything on our phones today, so why should discount codes be any different? A mobile coupon is when a store sends out a discount code via an SMS or MMS message (texting).

This works well because a customer is more likely to read a text message than open an email. The bad news is that customers are less likely to give out their phone numbers than give out an email.

So while it’s effective, it’s harder to pull off.

13. Holiday Codes

When the holidays come around, most stores make the majority of their money for the year. Thus, there is a special focus given to creating excellent deals at key shopping moments.

If you don’t, your competition will. So, it’s important to be ahead of the game.

This can be on Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Black Friday, and much more. In fact, it’s understood that some store types will have holiday sales available. For example, just about every mattress store has a discount on memorial day or labor day.

14. Abandoned Cart Discount Codes

Visitors abandon carts all the time. It’s just a part of business operations. But what if I told you you could incentivize customers to come back? Well, you can with discount codes that are exclusively made for this situation.

So, how does it work? When a customer abandons a cart, an email is sent to them (assuming they are not a guest account) and in it is a message that will give them a percentage off if they go back and make the purchase.

15. Social Media Offers

Want to give customers a reason to follow you on Facebook or Twitter? Then try sharing discount codes for your store that have a short expiration timer. This will ensure that customers who follow you on these platforms are the first to know that there is a coupon available.

By making that code expire fast, you help mitigate that code from spreading around the internet to users who don’t follow you. Granted, coupon tools like Honey are making this much harder to do. But this is still a highly effective way to distribute discount codes.

The Darkside of Using Coupon Ideas

Coupons are a great tool to use, but they do have a dark side that you should be aware of.

Unfortunately, sometimes customers may only shop at your store when you offer a discount code to them. While this can work out well for some, it can also lower the number of customers who shop with you when there is no deal going on.

Even worse, some customers will abandon a cart to go look for discount codes. And after they fail to find any, they decide to not make that purchase. Ultimately, this can hurt your brand reputation because some customers will only recommend your products when they’re on sale.

Of course, customers are only half of the problems that can come from offering discount codes.

I mentioned referral codes as a great way to reward customers who spread the word, and that is very effective. However, some people can take it a bit too far. In some cases, they will even a step further and create fake accounts to refer to themselves and reap the rewards.

In other cases, browser extensions like Honey could spread an influencer’s discount code automatically. Thus you end up overpaying that influencer.

And most obviously, discount codes often mean less profit for the business. Avoid discount codes that result in losing a lot of money, as it’s an unsustainable business model that will end you faster than not having customers in the first place.

Use Your Favorite Coupon Ideas Today!

While there are risks to using coupons that you should be aware of, it doesn’t negate the point that virtually every major online store offers them to customers. Not offering them could be more detrimental to your brand in many cases.

It really comes down to making sure that your store is benefiting from the types of discounts you are offering.

What kind of coupon ideas has helped your business? How do you decide what coupon deals to offer?

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