Thursday, December 17, 2009

Just Say No to Coupon Codes, Part II

I've long argued against the coupon code. My primary concern has been that customers without the customer code would be turned off as they are missing a sale. Several clients (one in particular which will remain anonymous) thought that customers missing out of the sale would be more inclined to sign up in order not to miss future sales. I always thought that it would be preferable to include the customer code in the email link. This way the customer wouldn't have to remember the code. One could always entice others to sign up by having notices posted during the check-out process that if they signed up they would be able to take part in future sales.

How nice it was to see The Guru of Gurus, Prognosticator of all Prognosticators, Jakob Nielsen, mention these same points in his column: Short-Term Memory and Web Usability

Instead of using coupon codes, encode offers in special links embedded in your email newsletters and automatically transfer the coupon to the user's shopping cart. This has two benefits:
  • The computer carries the burden of remembering the obscure code and applying it at the correct time.
  • It eliminates the "enter coupon code" field, which scares away shoppers who don't have coupons (and who refuse to pay full price when the checkout flow blatantly signals that other users are getting a better deal).

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