10 Ways to Use Coupon Codes on Your eCommerce Store

Everybody loves a discount, so if you’re an eCommerce retailer you need to ensure you’re giving your customers what they want.

Enter online coupon codes.

For many eCommerce retailers, building a loyal customer base can be challenging. However, if you take the time to use coupon codes on your eCommerce site as part of a purpose-built strategy, you can quickly begin to change your fortunes.

In the article we’ll show you how to effectively use coupons on your eCommerce store. From where and when to present coupons to your customers using proven web design techniques, to implementing action-based email marketing campaigns, to off-site coupon promotion; soon you’ll begin to realise how powerful coupon code marketing can be.

1. Discount bundled items with coupons

One of the most profitable ways of using coupon codes on your eCommerce site is with bundled items.

For example, if you offer a discount of 20% on a bundled item (i.e. two or more items sold as a bundle), there are a number of positive effects:

  1. Increased gross revenue through the sales of multiple items
  2. You’ll save on postage costs as you’re sending more than one item at a time
  3. The loss in revenue per item will be covered by an increase in sold products, and
  4. By increasing the number of products you’re selling to an individual you’re building customer loyalty as a “go-to” online seller

Coupon codes when applied to bundled items are gold and can be one of the most effective means of building loyalty within your customer base, achieving a steady flow of sales, and maintaining steady profitability, resulting in a win-win for both sellers and customers alike.

eCommerce Bundled Item

2. Offer coupon-only discounts on second-item purchases

Another great way to use coupon codes on your eCommerce site is by offering a discount when a second item is purchased in a transaction. The benefits of this strategy include:

The great thing about targeting customers with a discount on a “second item”, is that you’ve already made a full-price sale. The second sale is a bonus, and there’s a small profit to be made. Not only this, but you’re going to save on shipping when you send your customer more than one item. If you're not building in coupon-related discounts for second item purchases, you're definitely missing out on potential revenue.

3. Use coupons with short-term expiry periods

The clock is ticking on the expiry of your coupon codes...if you’re a clever online marketer.

This is a tactic frequently used by many of the world’s most successful online retailers to drive sales. Because humans by nature hate missing out on a deal, or are at least keen to make a purchase at the best possible price, by adding an expiry period to your coupon codes, you should have no troubles expediting the purchase of items on your eCommerce store with this clever strategy.

When implementing coupons with expiry periods on your eCommerce site, we recommend:

Last minute shopping

4. Integrate your coupon strategy with on-site actions

One of the really interesting strategies a number of eCommerce retailers are employing these days is action-based coupon rewards. What we mean by rewards, is essentially rewarding customers for paying enough attention to a particular area of your site with a coupon code designed to incentivise them.

For those of you thinking this sounds too advanced for my online store, thank again. With CMS’ such as Magento backing your system, monitoring the movements of your users is a snap, and something you can start doing today to really step up the smarts of your site.

A few of the strategies we have seen work well in this space include:

5. Coupons work extremely well with segmented lists

If you’re new to building segmented email lists, you’re definitely missing out on an incredibly powerful means of online marketing...especially when combined with coupon codes.

Email marketing has been proven for some time now to be the second most effective means of digital marketing, second only to SEO. This means you have an incredible opportunity to turbo-boost your emails with discount codes!

If you take the time to craft an attractive coupon-based offer and send it to a segmented list of targeted users, the likelihood of picking up some sales is strong. How strong? Well, a poor performing email marketing campaign usually generates sales of approximately 1-2%; so if you turbo-boost your email marketing campaigns with relevant coupon-based offers, you’re likely to see a much higher return on your investment than this, resulting in a strong sales campaign by anyone's standards!

6. Off-site coupon sites can generate major sales volumes

If you’ve been in and around digital for a while, you’ve surely heard of GoDaddy.

GoDaddy offer website hosting packages, sell domains, security certificates and a number of other hosting-related services for small to medium size businesses.

Since their launch in 1997, GoDaddy has now acquired more than 17 million customers world-wide and is a prolific seller of discounted products and services via coupon codes. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I purchased something on GoDaddy without using using a coupon code that was either emailed to me or I sourced online using sites such as Coupons.com.

Because GoDaddy has such a in-depth understanding of their sales volume and product margins, they’re able heavily incorporate coupon codes into their day-to-day marketing and product offering. Therefore there’s certainly no reason why you can’t offer a promotional coupon off-site to drive new customers. Hey, if it works for companies like GoDaddy...why not you?

Coupons.com - GoDaddy Coupons

7. Incentivise survey completion

Online surveys are a great way to not only determine what your customers are looking for, but distribute coupon codes to customers as a way of saying "thank you" for taking the time to complete your customer survey.

The reason this strategy is so effective is because if someone is willing to complete a survey to get a coupon code, they’re highly likely to make a purchase on your eCommerce store. It's that simple.

There are a number of tools which you can use to survey your customers and incentivise them with a coupon code. For off-site surveys, Survey Monkey is the obvious choice. However, if you’re looking to incentivise your customers during their online journey, using a website feedback tool such as Feedback Lite is a really great way to go. For example, if you can offer potential customers a discount whilst they're on your site and looking at one of your products, the chances of them making a purchase with you during that session is greatly increased!

Feedback Lite - Survey with discount

8. Coupon popups

Gone are the days when popups were considered a nuisance to online consumers. Now, consumers are looking for well-timed offers to appear before their eyes giving them a reason to make a purchase.

The psyche of consumers has changed, and if you can appeal to the needs of the consumer during their online journey with contextual offers, you’re going to drastically increase your chances of making a sale.

Popups when combined with a compelling coupon-based offer work best when:

If you’re looking for a high quality popup service, we recommend taking a tool like Unbounce Convertables for a test-drive. Unbounce is super-easy to configure and provide excellent product support.

9. At-check-out coupon codes

A new trend eCommerce retailers are experimenting with is “at-check-out” coupon provision.

This method of delivering coupons focusses on encouraging consumers to make an added purchase when checking-out in return for a discount.

An example of this may be purchasing a tennis racquet, reaching the check-out page, and being offered a 30% discount on tennis balls if you make a purchase during the check-out process.

At OSE we really like this strategy because the buyer is committed to spending money, so why not encourage them to spend a few extra dollars? The key with this strategy is to offer a tangible discount on a cheaper item. In the case of the tennis racquet, tennis balls are a must-have item and are cheaper than the racquet, and would likely produce many sales extra sales using this strategy.

10. Tiered product discount codes

The more items you sell; the more profit you’ve got to play with to entice customers to make online purchases.

In the case of coupon codes, another great way to do this is with a tiered product offering. For example:

Coupon offers like this are an awesome means of encouraging customers to purchase more items on your store. Often your customers will purchase one larger item and a bunch of smaller items in this scenario, but online sales is all about putting volume through, so the more offers you can put out to bring customers to your store the better.

Pro Tip: If you’re really looking to amp up your multi-tiered coupon offering, combined it with an expiry period offering an extra 5% off if the customer makes a purchase in the next 10 minutes!


Coupon code marketing is an incredibly powerful method of enticing customers to make a purchase online. Not only does coupon code marketing put you ahead of the competition when competing on price, but will help you build a strong loyal following.

If you’re looking for assistance integrating a coupon code strategy into your eCommerce site, feel free to get in touch with the Online Solution Experts at OSE.

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