Coupons vs vouchers vs promo codes: a guide for eCommerce managers

Promotions have always been a fundamental aspect of business success, and this is only becoming more the case as competition heats up. With ever-emerging eCommerce companies fighting for the hot spot, promotions hold power to both make and break business efforts.

As daunting as that can seem, it also provides an exciting opportunity to leave even your fiercest competitors in the dust. All you need to do is understand exactly which promotions are on offer, and what each can do for your company.

Too often, promotion is used as a blanket business term, but that’s often an oversimplification. In reality, understanding the ins and outs could see you utilising eCommerce offers that no one can object to. To help you achieve that, we’re going to consider the different promotions you’re facing, and how each can take your company further in 2020 and beyond.

 

What are promo codes?

Promo code is the term you’ll hear and use most often in your eCommerce-focused promotional efforts. Put simply, a promo code is an alphanumeric sequence, often personalised, that consumers can use to redeem money off purchases online or in-store. Also commonly referred to as discount codes, voucher codes and coupon codes, businesses can either send codes like these directly to consumers or implement them into QR barcodes and more. Promo codes traditionally take the form of either percentages or dollar amounts of money off and can apply to both individual purchases and complete orders.

In many ways, promo codes are the umbrella of the promotional world. They certainly offer an overarching promotional strategy, which is vital in an age where 75% of consumers expect some form of money off. In fact, 62% of consumers now state they won’t complete a purchase without it. Promo codes can help you to meet that need and boost your eCommerce business moving forward.

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Coupons vs. Vouchers

Within and slightly separate to the promo code umbrella are coupons and vouchers. While each of these utilises promotional codes in different ways, understanding and testing each format is vital for finding techniques that work for your unique business model. 

In and of itself, a promo code is incomprehensible and unusable. It’s only when paired with the visual representation of coupons and vouchers that these base codes develop meaning and value to customers. The question is, are you better off displaying promo codes through coupons or vouchers?

In reality, there’s no right answer here. The terms vouchers and coupons are mainly synonymous, and each can work in a business setting. That said, there are subtle differences between the two. While these aren’t always universal, understanding the basics can help you to choose the right method for your business needs.

  • Discount vouchers typically pass from a retailer straight to consumers. Taking the form of emails, gift cards and even loyalty cards, vouchers can be used as rewards, compensation, and more. While mainly providing one-time discounts, vouchers tend to work on a depletion basis, encouraging repeat purchases if money remains.
  • Coupons are typically distributed by either a marketing team or an independent reservation. Unlike the depletable nature of some vouchers, coupons tend to cover one-time purchases on food and drinks, retail items, and more. Unlike vouchers, many companies use online or printable coupons to attract new audiences. Much like offering a free sample, coupons work well for encouraging first-time purchases that lead to repeat custom. 

 

Applying these differences to your bottom line

Once you understand the fundamental differences between vouchers and coupons and how promo codes fit within that, you can work to apply these methods to your business bottom line. First, you’re going to want to consider the different deliveries of each, and how you can implement them into your business efforts. 

Vouchers are much easier to deal with in this sense because you already have a customer base to utilise through email and more. Still, you can hardly send a blank promo code. Instead, consider the different creative ways you can make use of artwork and personalisation within promotional emails or cards to dress vouchers in a way that both appeals and increases conversions. 

Coupons generally involve a much broader reach. While presentation still matters, you also need to focus on marketing techniques that include social media efforts and connections with third-party sites. Engaging with influencers is also an invaluable tool here. By providing coupons for influencers to share with their audiences, you can enjoy the power of personalisation with audiences that are more likely to buy from you.

 

Implementing single-use codes

In the case of both coupons and vouchers, it’s also essential that you consider single-use codes instead of generic offerings. Single-use efforts can help you to eliminate promo code misuse on even your wide-scale coupon efforts by removing the risk of repeat purchases and ensuring only those you want to use your codes do. With an increased focus on personalisation, they can also impress and even evangelise your existing customer base which will help you reach a wider audience.

Single-use promotions of all kinds also make it easier for you to track customer response and promo code usage. This is the case whether you’re offering loyalty discounts or influencer codes, and can help you to perfect and tailor your efforts moving forward.

As if that weren’t enough, single-use promotions in both coupon and voucher strategies allow you to implement techniques like scarcity marketing, where diminishing or time-sensitive offers provide a much-needed incentive for conversions.

 

Technology and automation can help you make the most out of promotions  

As you can see, promo codes can boost your profits however you choose to implement them. In fact, both can help you to appeal to a wider customer base. But unique codes are fundamental to that process. On the surface, this can seem like it will add a great deal to your workload, but that needn’t be the case.

Getting vouchers and coupons right primarily comes down to the technology you implement. Automated promo code generators can guarantee that you don’t even need to think about this process to succeed. This software will not only help you to generate a large number of unique single-use promo codes for your customer base, but also will help you monitor the effectiveness of the codes you offer. Analytics can help you evaluate the promo code campaigns you implement so that you can continually change and improve them. 

These features then free you to focus on more creative aspects of your efforts such as artwork and distribution that can guarantee both coupons and vouchers get you a sizeable profit moving forward.

discounts ecommerce strategy

Topics: Coupon Marketing

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