Coupon Code Best Practices: Real-Life Examples & How to Use Them

Dec 10, 2018
Holly Millar
Customer Success Manager
Min to read
It is estimated by eMarketer that 66.2% of internet users will use digital coupons this year, and this will increase to 68.4% by 2022. -eMarketer

Are coupon codes part of your business? If not, it’s time to get serious about your coupon strategy.

Coupons are a great way to boost customer acquisition, enhance retention or reactivate customers that haven’t been active for a while, but launching a successful coupon campaign can be tricky.

What does a good coupon code strategy look like? What kind of security, tracking and budget limits do you want to implement? How will you communicate or display your coupon codes?

To help answer these questions for your business, we are going to share some best practices we have collected from helping all types of companies and customers launch successful coupon campaigns.

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Customer Acquisition: Onsite Coupons

If gaining new customers is one of your goals, try using onsite coupons. You can show them directly on your website or in a “Special Offers” section. The combination of a time-sensitive coupon and a generic coupon that is available to all customers makes this a great tactic for increasing your customer base and reducing acquisition costs.

Example: Casper Discount Code for a 10% discount on any order for a mattress

Image of Casper code
Source: Casper

How Casper does it:

  • Custom discount code is displayed at the top of the homepage
  • Unique and engaging animation highlights the limited time frame
  • Additional coupon details are shown in a pop up to clearly communicate the offer (products involved, time frame, terms and conditions)

Why it Works:

  • Coupon code is available for anyone who visits the Casper website
    10% discount is a great incentive to purchase items with a higher price point.
  • Time-sensitivity pushes customers to make a purchase during their first visit to make the purchase faster

Customer Retention: In-App Coupon

Customer retention is no joke these days and most likely one of your business' top priorities in 2019.

Increasing customer retention rates by 5%, it can increase profits by 25% to 95%. -Harvard Business Review

A simple referral program is a great idea to boost customer retention while also increasing customer loyalty.

Example: Uber In-App Mobile Referral Coupon

Image Uber coupon code
Source: Uber

How Uber does it:

  • Personal referral code is displayed in the app and can be shared directly in the app
  • The friend that gets referred can redeem the code when booking the first ride
  • Both the advocate and the friend are rewarded with ride credits

Why it works:

  • Rewarding the advocates incentivizes them to keep choosing your service over other companies
  • Discount on the first ride encourages new customers to try your service
  • It helps increase customer loyalty and customer base

Customer Re-engagement: Holiday/Event Coupons

Maybe you already have a solid customer base, but some of them haven’t been active in a while? Consider sending your inactive customers a coupon code with a discount for their next purchase.

Real-life example: Westwing Valentine’s day coupon

Source: Westwing

How Westwing does it:

  • Email to celebrate a special holiday or event with an offer for products related to the holiday and your customers interests
  • Use a unique “clock” to show the customer the time period to redeem the coupon is limited
  • Offer exclusive, personalized code which can only be redeemed once the monetary value of code is valuable and enticing

Why it works:

  • Email with an exclusive coupon is a great tactic to get in touch with inactive customers without being too pushy
  • A personalized email ensures a good customer experience by making the person feel valued
  • Images and creative email is engaging and relevant
  • Limited time frame incentivizes the customer to make the next purchase soon

Brand Loyalty: Personalized Reward Coupons

Is brand loyalty a priority this quarter? (Hint: it should be!) Then use email marketing to reward existing customers with a personalized reward that is redeemable only with a specific code. This is a great tactic to ensure customers choose you over the competition.

Real-life example: Liebeskind Exclusive Birthday Coupon

Liebeskind coupon code
Source: Liebeskind

How Liebeskind does it:

  • Send an email with a personalized coupon code as a birthday gift for a loyal) customer
  • Copy and creative are relevant and engage the customer
  • A “Happy birthday” message is an opportunity to show how much you value your customers and increase brand loyalty

Why it works:

  • Personalized coupons work as an incentive for the next purchase
  • A birthday gift ensures a great customer experience and makes the customer feel valued.
  • A great customer experience makes your brand the customer’s first choice.

Which kind of coupon features do you need for your coupon strategy?

Now that you have some great ideas for launching a coupon strategy, you will need to think about implementation. Having the right coupon software is key to a successful coupon campaign. If you are new to the coupon game or want to level-up your strategy, the right coupon solution should have the following features:

  • Generic or random, personalized codes
  • Choose code length, prefixes, suffixes, case sensitivity
  • Coupon redemption limits
  • Time frame limits
  • Proper rule validation to ensure coupon security
  • Webhooks to trigger emails to customers by using third-party programs
  • Tracking and coupon redemption analytics

There is a wide variety of coupon tools on the market, but few offer a full range of flexibility for all use cases above. So remember to choose wisely! If you are at the “build or buy” crossroads or want to ask our promotion experts about your use cases, please get in touch.

Next Steps

There are many different ways you can grow your business with coupons, but the right technology is often a huge limitation.

Coupons might seem like an easy bet, but even the most basic campaign can bring your business major losses by targeting the wrong customers or falling victim to fraud. You’ll need the right kind of promotion infrastructure to make sure you achieve your business goals.

We know it can be tough to get the perfect mix of pricing, reward and effort to get your promotions right.

Get in touch with any use cases you want to implement and we'll show you how we'd do it with our Promotion Engine.

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Prevent Coupon & Discount Fraud: Download Your White Paper
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How to protect your business
How to thrive in uncertain times
Insightful tips for your promotion solution
Download Your Talon.One Loyalty Playbook
Loyalty Playbook Cover
Best Practices for loyalty programs
How to gain a competitive advantage
Your definitive guide to loyal customers