If you have a business with an online store that has an option for coupons, invariably there are going to be fake websites that claim to offer coupons for your products. These sites can be harmful to your company’s credibility. How can you protect yourself and deal with fake coupon sites?
How Do Fake Coupons and Deal Sites Hurt My Sales?
When a customer is using your website and goes to checkout, if they see a coupon field they are very likely to start searching the internet just in case there is a coupon code available – even if you have no outstanding coupons currently. They may end up at sites like RetailMeNot or Coupons360, or any number of other websites. Unfortunately, when a customer puts in an invalid coupon code, they’ll often keep searching, and may ultimately be deterred from buying your products when they can’t find a valid coupon.
Do I Need to Issue Legit Coupons?
Whether or not you decide to issue coupons is entire up to your business model. If you believe your business can benefit from coupons, remember to use them strategically. Coupons are best used during time periods where you generally have slow sales to try to boost those sale numbers. However, don’t overissue coupons, because it can make your brand look cheap. You’ll get better customer loyalty if customers come to your brand for good quality rather than good bargains.
How to Solve Fake Coupon Issues
There are several strategies you can undertake to ensure that your customers aren’t fooled by fake coupons.
1) Be Upfront: Inform your customers about where you do or do not offer coupons. Place a notice on your own ecommerce website and inform that that you don’t have any coupons or discounts on deals sites, and if they see any on those sites, they are fake. If you do offer coupons, tell them how they can acquire valid coupons.
2) Sign Up Discounts: There are companies like Amazon Seller Bumblebee Linens that use “spin the wheel” style giveaway coupons, but the customer needs to sign up before given access to the wheel. This is a win-win for both customer and seller because this gives the customer a valid coupon and the seller another email address for their mailing list.
3) Birthday Campaigns: When a customer has signed up for your mailing list, keep track of their birthday and send them an exclusive birthday coupon.
4) Referral Programs: Reward your customers and their friends by gamifying coupon acquisition. By offering discounts anytime a customer refers a friend who then makes a purchase, you can incentivize spreading the word about your storefront. There are several referral program designs you can choose from.
5) Loyalty Programs: Loyalty programs are a fairly popular choice because they give customers points per purchase and then gives them a coupon for trading in a certain number of points. An example would be: every time a customer makes a purchase of $50, they receive 1 point. After accruing 10 points, they can trade them in for a 10 percent off coupon. Many brick-and-mortar stores offer similar programs.
6) Remove the Discount Code Field: If your business model doesn’t support coupons and discounts through codes, just remove the discount code field from your ecommerce store. This will prevent your customers being lured away to deals websites and running the risk of being frustrated when fake codes are invalid.