4 Ways Smart Brands Are Using Digital Coupons to Fuel Growth in 2016

Are you on the fence about using digital coupons as a part of your marketing strategy? Have you been burned by running an expensive Groupon campaign that netted you few real customers? Worried that perception of your brand will suffer if you offer too many discounts?

Well, it may be time to stop focusing on what hasn’t worked and start paying attention to what is working when it comes to digital couponing. The fact is, many of today’s hyper-growth brands are using digital coupons as a core part of their growth strategies — Uber, Dropbox, and Blue Apron have all utilized coupons and offers to fuel their rapid growth.

There’s also the simple fact that consumers love coupons. Not only is coupon usage sky-high among US shoppers, couponing is actually on the rise. And couponing is not an activity limited to those on shoestring budgets, high-income households earning over $100k are actually more likely to use coupons than households earning less than $35k. It turns out that savvy, informed shoppers look for coupons and are more likely to purchase from brands that offer them.

So how to avoid the pitfalls and use coupons effectively in today’s rapidly changing landscape? Learn from what some of today’s smartest brands are doing right with digital coupon marketing.

Make your coupons sharable by nature

One of the incredible growth stories of the past few years has been Uber, which has grown from inception to over 1 million daily rides given in the span of six years. A little known fact is that part of Uber’s growth was fueled by the smart use of discount codes. The ride-sharing app’s genius is in making their coupons social and viral from the ground up — every Uber user is given a referral code to refer new riders, and both parties receive a free credit when the new rider signs up. Uber employs the same strategy to sign up new drivers with great success, with a $100 credit given to drivers who referred new drivers.

Other hyper-growth companies such as Dropbox, Airbnb, Evernote and ClassPass have used shareable referral codes to leapfrog their competition. The key is to think of coupons as an integral part of your social marketing strategy rather than thinking of it as an isolated channel for deal seekers.

Use offers as part of your retargeting strategy

Only 2% of customers complete a transaction the first time they visit your website. Retargeting is a powerful way to bring the other 98% back to complete the sale. Because retargeted ads are seen only by those customers who have indicated an interest in buying from your, incorporating a discount within your retargeting ads can be a powerful way to close the sale.

Plated incorporates offers for free meals in its retargeted ads on Facebook. For subscription services requiring more time and thought prior to a final purchasing decision, retargeted ads with discount offers can be highly effective.

Tailor coupons to each customer

You already apply personalization to your site and email campaigns (or if you don’t, this should be a priority for you). Why not take it a step further and include discount offers as a part of your personalized marketing campaigns? 80% of consumers say they want promotions that are tailored to their own personal needs and preferences, which seems obvious, but many brands do not go this extra step. Differentiate from your competition by offering tailored discount opportunities which are likely to delight your customers.

ProFlowers utilizes information about your significant other to customize a discount offer in a highly personalized message. The company could also use information it collects about birthdays, anniversaries, as well as holidays to offer additional targeted coupon offers which are likely to perform well.

Use coupons to address shopping cart abandonment

So you’ve succeeded in getting the customer to your site, and they’ve even added items to their shopping cart. Well, did you know that 68% of shopping carts are abandoned, meaning they were populated with items but the shopper left them without purchasing?

Neiman Marcus does an outstanding job of sending customers a targeted coupon in cases where a shopping cart was abandoned. This is an example of how a targeted use of a coupon can not only drive sales but can provide a great experience for your customers.

In conclusion

So there you have it. You can see that smart brands are taking an old concept in couponing and applying it in creative new ways to drive sales and build engagement with customers. Like these successful brands, you should think of coupons as a natural extension to your overall marketing strategy, and apply them in your efforts to provide more social and personal experiences for your customers.

This article was originally published on the ZipfWorks blog. At ZipfWorks, we’re creating and growing online communities dedicated to shopping. We’re innovating on how consumers find, share, and use coupons in our newest app, Dealspotr, the best place for finding and sharing deals.

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