Whenever I see a “Coupon Code” field on an order form, it ticks me off. I feel like I somehow missed the boat. I feel neglected… like there is a priveleged elite who get special deals and I’m on the outside of that circle. My knee-jerk response is to immediately open up a new tab in my web browser and search Google for “coupon code” (or whatever the wording on the form is) along with the name of the retailer. Sometimes I get lucky. For example, when I signed up for VOIP service with Packet8, a quick Google search for “reseller code packet8” revealed a code that saved me the $20 activation fee. Unfortunately for Packet8, not only did they lose $20 off me, they mistakenly attributed my purchase to a reseller who didn’t rightfully deserve credit for the sale — because of the Reseller Code that I had used. Other times I strike out. If I can’t locate a viable coupon code within about 30 seconds, I’ll give up on my search and begrudgingly complete my purchase, sans coupon code.
I’m not suggesting you abandon the practice of offering coupon codes. Far from it! Coupon codes / discount codes are a great thing to have. All I’m suggesting is a minor tweak that will virtually eliminate the piss-off factor. And here it is…
Where you ask for the Coupon Code, place a small question-mark button or something similar that customers can click on that pops open a window with details on your Coupon Code practices. Explain that sometimes you offer limited-time promotions with particular marketing partners. Perhaps provide an example of a past coupon promotion. (I quite like woot.com’s TAXSUCKS coupon code that waives the $5 shipping fee for Texans, since Woot items shipped to Texas are subject to sales tax.) Offer them an opportunity to start receiving coupon codes. For example, if you sometimes publish coupon codes in your email newsletter, tell them so and invite them to subscribe to your enewsletter. Even have a enewsletter sign-up form right there for them. Console them that they aren’t in possession of a coupon code this time around and encourage them to complete the purchase anyways. Do it with flair and a sense of humor, and you’ll end up with a happy customer, whether or not they have a coupon code in hand!
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