Everyone loves a good sale! Whether it’s for your own store’s special occasion (your annual anniversary celebration, perhaps?) or for a larger event like Black Friday/Cyber Monday, there’s no question that giving your customers a discount will boost sales. Offering a discount can also increase customer loyalty and satisfaction — a definite win for your shop.
When to offer discounts and coupons
There are two schools of thought when it comes to discounts. You can hold a promotion at busy times of the year to boost your already increased sales. Or, you can use a discount to lift purchases during a slow season or to help move a poorly performing product.
Either way, there are plenty of good times to offer a sale to your customers. Consider creating coupon codes or discounts specifically for:
- Holidays. The biggest ones are the winter holiday season (including Black Friday and Cyber Monday) and other big gift-giving holidays like Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and wedding season (think late spring through early fall). Connecting with shoppers who are already on the hunt for gifts — and who may be feeling a budget strain — is a great way to bond with them and show that you understand their needs.
- New product launches. Make a big splash with your latest and greatest products by offering them at a discounted rate. Your customers will be more likely to try something new, and once you have your foot in the door, they’ll be ready to come back for more.
- Items with sluggish sales. Looking to clear some space in your warehouse? Putting slow-moving items on a flash sale is a great way to create demand and get them out the door. This might also serve to boost sales overall, as customers will often buy non-sale items while they’re at it.
- Shoppers who abandon their carts. When a customer puts something in their cart but doesn’t complete the checkout process, they might need a little extra push to finish their purchase. Why not send them a perk via email to nudge them in the right direction?
- Fans who haven’t purchased anything recently. Keep an eye out for customers who have purchased in the past, but haven’t been back in a while. Offering them a discount code can help bring them back into the fold. MailPoet is a great tool to make this happen.
How to set up discounts and coupons in WooCommerce
WooCommerce has native, built-in support for coupon codes and discounts. You can start offering simple sales to your customers from day one.
Step One. Start under Marketing → Coupons in your WordPress. From here, you can see a list of all your coupons, and use the Add Coupon button to create a new code.
Step Two. Add your new coupon code — the string you’d like customers to enter as they check out. You can also add a description, which is for your own information and won’t be visible to customers.
Step Three. Set the rules for this coupon in the Coupon Data section. In the:
- General tab: Choose whether your coupon is a percentage rate (percentage of total cart), fixed cart (set dollar amount discount on entire cart), or fixed product (set dollar amount discount for each product of a specific type) discount, and then enter the numeric amount. You can also use this tab to allow free shipping in combination with this offer, and to set an expiration date.
- Usage Restriction tab: Set rules for your coupon including minimum and maximum spends, product inclusions and exclusions, and lists of specific customers that can use this discount.
- Usage Limits tab: Limit the number of times this coupon can be used by an individual person.
Step Four. Save your coupon, and then you’re ready to promote it online. Publish your coupon code string, along with any restrictions for use, on your social media platforms, in online ads, or in a newsletter, and get it out to your core audience.
The next level
Want to do even more with coupons? Extensions like WooCommerce Smart Coupons add flexibility and functionality to your sales. You’ll be able to:
- Set up coupons that are automatically applied at checkout, even without entering a code.
- Fine-tune shipping rules and exemptions associated with each coupon.
- Offer a custom, auto-generated code after each purchase.
- Create “gift card” style coupons that have a fixed discount value and can be used multiple times.
- Create coupons that offer a free gift with purchase.
- Create location-based coupons.
- Create coupons for use by first-time buyers only.
The more possibilities you can offer your customers, the more they’ll feel valued and the more sales you’ll generate. Consider taking full advantage of all options and trying different combinations of offers and timings to find the best fit for your audience.
What about flash sales?
There may be times when you want to make sale prices permanent, such as on slow-moving products that you don’t plan to restock. But in general, a sale is a limited-time event, often with limited quantities. The more limited the time and quantity, the more impulse buys it will generate.
When planning a flash sale, keep in mind these key rules:
- Offer a deeper discount than usual. Flash sales usually involve bigger sales, justifying their short time period, so make sure your coupon rates match customer expectations.
- Narrow your offerings. Flash sales are ideal for just a handful of products of a specific type or category.
- Make sure you have lots of inventory. Although most flash sales involve a “while quantities last” rider, you don’t want to advertise your sale, only to cause a lot of disappointment with your audience. Choose items that you have a lot of — off-season items or products that haven’t been selling well are ideal.
- Keep it simple. Make your coupon code easy to remember and use, and the savings clear and understandable.
- Promote, promote, promote. Get the word out on all your marketing channels: think social media, online ads, email, and collaborations with your go-to influencers.
Flash sales can be a huge boost to your online shop, so consider working them into your overall discount and sales strategy.
Other powerful discount tools
Discounts don’t have to just be coupon codes. Special offers that show your customers that they’re valued and can expect good deals from your online shop are also ways to build loyalty and increase sales.
For example, you could offer:
- Automatic discounts for lost shoppers. Send automatically-generated emails with discount codes to customers who abandoned their carts, haven’t purchased in a while, or have let subscriptions lapse with the powerful AutomateWoo extension.
- BOGO deals. Give away one free item when a customer purchases an item of equivalent value, using the WooCommerce BOGO extension.
- Free gifts with purchase. Allow users to choose their own free gift, tied to the amount of their cart, using the WooCommerce Free Gift extension.
- Free shipping. Use the native WooCommerce coupon code functionality to create codes that grant free shipping for certain cart levels.
- Birthday codes. Send loyal customers a unique coupon code for use on their birthday only with the AutomateWoo Birthday’s Add-on.
- Loyalty points and rewards. Encourage returning customers to sign up for your points system and earn their own discounts with the WooCommerce Points and Rewards extension.
Coupons, discounts, and sales are a critical part of your overall growth strategy. Don’t be afraid to try different tactics and find out what works best for your own audience. Although it can seem counterintuitive, offering discounts can actually lead to more sales and a healthier online shop — so get discounting and get selling!