Analyst group eMarketer has estimated that by the end of 2011 nearly 88.2 million people will have either used an online coupon, or redeemed an online coupon code. That’s nearly half of all adult internet users in the US, and a whole lot of enterprise ecommerce business.
As a consumer I have to admit that I’ve never really been a coupon clipper in the analog world. Most of the ads I get in my mailbox go straight to the recycling bin. But there’s some kind allure in finding a deal online that captivates me to go and browse around, for hours if necessary, for the best deal possible. Based on that number above I’m obviously not alone in this approach.
Make or Break the Sale
Now that’s not to say that if I don’t find a coupon I won’t buy what I’m looking for, but according to data from Compete, a company that examines online consumer behavior, 57% of online shoppers said that if they hadn’t found the right coupon for a product they wanted to buy, they probably wouldn’t have bought it at all. Ouch.
From an ecommerce business standpoint, coupons can be a love/hate commitment. On one hand you might find that utilizing affiliates and large coupon sites like CouponCabin or Fat Wallet have a tendency to drive quality traffic that actually converts with a decent ROI. On the other hand, you’ll be obligated to make a balancing act out the discounts so they’re not chipping away too heavily on margins. Fortunately, coupons seem to entice shoppers to add more items to their cart, and as a general rule, coupon shoppers have the tendency to spend more money than those who don’t take the time to seek out a discount.
Coupons Prompt More Spending
How ironic is that. Those of us looking to save a few bucks end up spending more than those who don’t even care about getting a deal in the first place. Further data from Compete also shows that in 2010, the average shopper who used a coupon spent an average of 56.5% (or $122 ) more than consumers who didn’t shop with a coupon. In addition, it’s been observed that coupons have actually helped to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
This is a great list of positives, and if you’re an online retailer who has the juice on products to offer enticing discounts then it might be time to start testing some new discount promotions.
Of course I’m not implying that everyone ought to run out and create a set of banners and discounts because coupons are proven to have a significant impact on some buyer behavior. The fact of the matter is that some enterprises don’t have the margins on products that allow for big markdowns, in which case having a 10% off coupon floating around the web probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Jared Matkin oversees Internet Marketing for HotWax Media. He’s also a light-hearted and an opinionated character who will join other HotWax Media employees and advisers in posting his thoughts on topics ranging from enterprise eCommerce and Internet Marketing, to business and technology.