Coupon-clipping the competition: the benefits of voucher incentives

Vouchers, coupons, discounts, and special offers are some of the oldest techniques in a marketeer’s toolkit. The promise of a better price or a complimentary gift of some kind entices customers towards making a purchase, and trains them to look out for further, similar deals from the same retailer. This creates a sense of trust and fulfilment for repeat customers and thereby builds brand loyalty.

However, the proliferation of discount codes in ecommerce has also raised alarm among many retailers, who fear that customers at the point of purchase become opportunistic and go searching elsewhere than the retailer’s main website for deals on other sites, allowing affiliate sites to ‘cannibalise’ organic sales in order to claim commission.

This is a legitimate concern, yet this fear should not outweigh considerations of the substantial overall value which is brought to online merchants through the provision of consistently strong, appealing voucher offers. According to Statista, around 60% of online shoppers worldwide search for deals prior to making an online purchase, making the presence of accessible online offers for your ecommerce store a pragmatic necessity.

But what is the best strategy for setting up vouchers for your affiliate program, and how best can you ensure that they are driving higher sales and strengthening your customer base?

This article lays out some of the best practices for making your vouchers a crucial asset in your affiliate marketing strategy.

Be visible, have presence:

In an increasingly savvy shopping landscape, people will and do hunt for vouchers before making a purchase. An absence of offers therefore puts your brand at a disadvantage to competitors with comparatively more ‘generous’ deals.

By making your offers transparently accessible across a variety of platforms, the customer’s journey from product discovery to checkout is streamlined, building consumer trust as well as boosting conversion rates.

Keep it simple

Designing your offers so that they are easy to use and apply is also key to retaining customers, who can be fickle and abandon carts if they feel misled or find the purchasing process too clunky.

  • Make codes easy to understand. Don’t use random sequences of letters, special characters or phrases that are meaningless to the consumer (i.e. don’t use the name of your affiliate network or ecommerce host ‘SHOPIFY10’!)
  • Make sure that the Ts & Cs and validity dates are clearly mentioned in the description of your voucher, and update your vouchers with new ones once the old ones have expired.

Make it special

Avoid generic ‘10% off all items’ when you aren’t running a flash sale: instead, curate selections of best sellers or themed bundles to showcase specific product lines. This will not only appeal to a customer’s sense of novelty and guide their choice of product, but can also improve conversion rates, since you can then set up your vouchers to direct customers to specific product URLs.

Stand out, be creative

Vouchers can also be used as bitesize pieces of copy for your brand. What you choose to promote with an offer and how you describe it can set a certain tone. For example, a ‘Free article’ could be an item to maintain a personal, high quality item (think shoe polish for shoes), or could be that you make a donation or plant a tree with every purchase made.

Being creative this way increases the sense that your customer’s retail experience is unique, personalized, and allows customers to become familiar with your brand’s authentic identity.

Create urgency, complement festivity

Scheduling and promoting offers in advance, setting clear validity dates, and timing your offers to coincide with key marketing dates are all crucial strategies to pushing customers to purchase.

Regularly rotating the vouchers you offer allows you to balance the appeal of exclusivity and scarcity alongside a more general sense that your brand appreciates and rewards its most attentive customers.

Going Further: Exclusivity and PPC Rights

One of the best ways to work with voucher publishers is through providing voucher offers exclusively to their members and audiences for a limited time. This works well for Closed User Groups, content ambassadors, as well as standard voucher networks and browser extensions.

Click here to find out how to set up exclusive vouchers on the Grow platform

You can also negotiate with voucher publishers to give them exclusive PPC voucher rights for your brand, i.e. allowing them to include search terms which would include “[your brand name] + voucher/ code/ discount / deal” to allow them to appear at the top of search rankings.

These can be especially powerful when used in rotation, and setting up a voucher cycle in this way will also allow you to test out the different audiences of voucher affiliates to see which are the highest converting ahead of key promotional dates.

Curious about coupons? If you are a Grow advertiser, speak to Grow Support to find out more.

Ellen Kemp
Grow Client Support Executive - UK and US Markets

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