Discount vouchers (also known as promo vouchers, promo codes, etc.) are one of the most common customer loyalty options implemented in an eCommerce.  They can range from an initial discount for subscribing to a service, registering as a user or a reward for specific purchase values.

It is important not to confuse discount vouchers with gift vouchers.  The latter seek the opportunity to offer the consumer a purchase for a value, without actually knowing in advance which product will be purchased.  However, discount vouchers are bonuses that an eCommerce can use to reward its customers for reaching milestones within their relationship with the online store.

What should we keep in mind when starting a loyalty strategy in our eCommerce that includes discount vouchers?  At the very least, these following four points should be considered:

1. Automation.  When it comes to offering bonuses of this type it is vital that the eCommerce has an elevated degree of automation.  The strategy must include a clear and complete outline of how the gift vouchers will be awarded and sent to the customer.  The same marketing automation plan can help the sales team to create the layout in which discount vouchers will be awarded.  This way it will be much easier to control the customers who are offered vouchers and how to interact with them.

2. Validity and expiration.  There is nothing worse for the customer than using a discount voucher that doesn’t work.  It is important that at the time the discount vouchers are issued they are correctly activated and included in the corresponding database which permits their use, and also that their duration is correctly defined.  This must be clearly communicated to the customer at the time the voucher is delivered.  How to decide the expiration?  It will need some common sense to balance the duration to the milestone which has been reached by the customer.  For example, if the discount voucher was granted at the initial registration then the objective is to encourage the first purchase; an expiration date that is too long could delay the potential client's decision and end up dwindling into oblivion.

3. Progressive amounts.  Unlike discounts, discount vouchers seek to give an initial amount for the customer to spend.  The invitation to do so is the key: without any conditions, without promoting the idea that they need to spend more in order to take advantage of the discount.  However, like the usage dates, it is important to assess what amount will be granted in each case depending on the situation in which the potential customer finds themselves.  In this sense, it is essential to keep in mind the pricing strategy of your eCommerce and to know what margin of manoeuvre the store has for boosting sales without falling into bankruptcy.  Here we must consider both the number of customers who receive the offer and the actual percentage of them who use it, along with the operating costs that will be incurred by its use: from shipping costs to maintenance and operational costs of the online platform itself.

4. Up selling.  Within the automation you should consider the possibilities of up-selling that can be achieved when offering discount vouchers.  Although the voucher may not require a minimum expense to be used, it is interesting to contemplate the option of offering this only when the customer can complement his purchase with other products.  There is no better incentive for a new visit than that which proposes the purchase of something specific based on the customers purchase history.

In whichever case, no rules are written.  The A/B tests are a total success for defining the best strategy for each eCommerce.  If it is already an already consolidated online-store with recurring clientele, the tests can be done without any problem and obtain all the necessary data needed to perfect it.

On the other hand, the invaluable help of your competition returns, once again, and is key to the elaboration of a discount-voucher based loyalty plan. Monitoring your competition and seeing how they implement this alternative to straight discounts, within their sales strategy, is a huge plus for getting oriented on what works, what does not and how things can be improved.

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