Boosting sales with a voucher code campaign
Voucher code campaigns can boost your sales or kill your brand. Here are our top 10 tips to help you get it right.
Voucher code campaigns can result in high sales volumes if done right but there are many pitfalls. Here are the ten most important steps you should be taking to pull off a successful voucher code campaign.
1. Avoid offering a blanket discount across all products
Blanket discounts are a primitive way of handling voucher codes, often yielding lower sales conversions whilst unnecessarily discounting advertisers’ products. They can cheapen the consumer’s perception of the brand if the customer believes discounts are widespread and easily available.
If you do choose to offer a blanket code or offer, you may nonetheless want to consider the frequency with which these are released.
2. Give exclusive codes to select publishers
You might want to give exclusive codes to a select few publisher sites identified as referring high quality, repeat customers, perhaps with high order values or strong conversion rates.
You can also choose the functionality to identify transactions where a code has been used, and by which publisher. This means advertisers can decline the commission on a sale from an publisher not authorised to use this code.
3. Offer free delivery instead of a discount
Encouraging sales by offering free delivery instead of a discount has the advantage of not devaluing the product itself.
Many shoppers hate paying the delivery charge because it is not related to what they are buying or the brand itself, and may abandon the basket to search for the same product elsewhere without the postage costs. ComScore reports that 61 per cent of US consumers are "at least somewhat likely" to cancel their entire purchase if free delivery is not available. On the other hand, orders which include free delivery have basket values averaging 30 per cent higher than those that don't.
4. Create a free product code
Rather than discounting the cost of the customer’s basket, why not offer a free product? For example, "Free box of chocolates with every order of Valentines Day roses over £50", or "Free Bluetooth headset with every contract mobile phone order". The perceived value to customers can often be greater than their actual value.
5. Use Quick-Expire codes to increase urgency
This tactic involves varying the expiry dates of voucher codes, and varying the times at which they are offered. For example, many competitor advertisers will set the expiry date on their codes to the last day of the month.
One possible tactic you might want to consider is to release a code that is only valid for a short time, or that expires on a date other than the end of the week or month. There are two possible benefits of this. Firstly, you can avoid your offers competing directly with those of your competitors; secondly, if a code is set for only a limited time it creates an added urgency to the customer incentive, pushing users to transact before the code expires.
6. Use site abandonment codes
Offer a code targeting users who abandon their shopping baskets with a voucher. Research indicates that as much as 87 per cent of online shoppers abandon their baskets prior to purchase. Whilst many might be doing so specifically to look for a voucher code before making their purchase, if the email address is already captured, following up with an offer of a 5 per cent code may entice the shopper to return to complete the purchase.
7. Cut commission to subsidise a code
If margins are too tight to offer a code in addition to the commission offering, you might want to split the CPA between the commission and an exclusive voucher code. For example if an publisher were getting 10 per cent commission, an advertiser could offer 5 per cent commission and an exclusive 5 per cent code. The full CPA would only be paid when the transaction included the use of the voucher code on the part of the customer. However, any move such as this requires consultation with the publisher(s) involved.
8. Activate ‘Stretch and Save’ codes
To increase average basket value, offer a code that’s conditional on a minimum spend. These ‘Stretch-and-Save’ codes can be designed to ensure a minimum order value is reached before the customer can use the code. It also has the added benefit of increasing the EPC. For example, ‘5 per cent off orders of £50 or more’, ‘Get 10 per cent off all orders over £100’.
9. Target codes to particular customer types
Offer codes that are only redeemable by particular types of customers –- for example, codes for new customers only rather than existing customers.
10. Only display the voucher code box to visitors who already have a code
Onsite logic can be set to either display or hide the voucher code box, depending on the referring URL. Only if the visitor has arrived from a site authorised to use the code will the voucher code box be displayed.
As you can see there are many opportunities to use voucher codes to drive sales and increase average basket value, but what does the future hold?
One trend to keep an eye on is the growing popularity of geo-targeting, which can be very powerful is used correctly. Incentive-based publisher s are now launching mobile apps that use location-based data to geo-target offers, either within the app or via push notifications, to drive footfall into advertisers’ bricks and mortar stores.
Innovation is moving fast, so watch this space.
Finally, you may choose to take advantage of exposure with voucher code publisher s without even offering either discounts on your products or providing a voucher code box on your site. The RAC worked with Vouchercodes.co.uk to offer a co-branded M&S voucher, initially valued at £15 and later rising to £20, limited to higher-end products to boost the average order value. This yielded a 14 per cent increase in the average policy value, a 3,000 per cent uplift in sales, and an overall ROI of 182 per cent.
Owen Hewitson is associate director at Starcom MediaVest