This isn’t exactly an Earth-shattering revelation, but discounts are a useful tool to attract customers and generate sales. Odds are, you’ve offered discounts at your WooCommerce store (or the stores you manage for your clients).
Two-thirds of people say they’ve made a purchase they weren’t planning to make solely because of a coupon or discount, and three out of four say discounts are a top factor when they’re deciding where to shop online. Discounts are also helpful for clearing out old stock and enticing potential customers to subscribe to your email list.
However, as compelling as those arguments are, there are also some downsides to discounting. Discounts can devalue your brand or your products and train your customers only to buy from you when you run sales. Plus, discounts don’t necessarily lead to customer loyalty; when customers get a discount on their first purchase, they’re 50 percent less likely to buy from you in the future. You also run the risk of getting into the downward spiral of discounting, where you need to keep offering larger and larger discounts to appeal to customers—affecting your margins and long-term revenue in the process.
With so much to gain from discounting—but also so much to potentially lose—you need a smart strategy that will help you discount the right way. Luckily, there are several WooCommerce extensions that can help you seize on the positives without getting hurt by the negatives.
In this article, we look at four of those WooCommerce extensions (and their corresponding discount strategies) and the benefits they can bring to your store.
While there’s nothing stopping you from emailing discounts to your list whenever you want, there are certain times when it makes more sense to send discounts than others.
Two examples: After a customer’s first purchase, and on a customer milestone.
One of the major goals in eCommerce is to convert one-time customers into repeat customers. Repeat customers who make a habit out of shopping at your store are a jackpot for your business—if you can get just 10 percent of your customers to make a second purchase, you can double your revenue. A well-timed discount as part of your automated “thank you to first-time customers” email series can help you achieve the crucial step of getting a new customer to buy from you once again.
Customer milestones are another good moment to send a discount. An exclusive coupon on a customer’s birthday, the anniversary of their first purchase, or after they’ve hit a certain spending threshold will show the customer you’re paying attention and you value them. Plus, there’s a psychological element to giving out discounts on milestones. You send the signal you’re not just randomly giving out discounts to anyone at anytime, you’re giving one person a special, personalized discount for a reason.
An extension that can help you with this is AutomateWoo ($99/year at WooCommerce.com). This extension allows you to send targeted automated emails and follow up campaigns. For example, you can create an automated workflow that sends a timely discount on your customer’s birthday. Or, you can send a personalized coupon in a follow-up email after a customer’s first purchase—or after any number of other important milestones.
In essence, loyalty rewards are discounts that customers have earned by making purchases. And because your customer has to “work” for these discounts, they can feel more rewarding than random coupon codes.
Plus, loyalty discounts keep your customers coming back—and advocating for your brand. 75 percent of customers say they are more likely to buy again from the same brand if they receive a loyalty reward, and more than half will talk about their experience with other people. (PDF)
You get started on your own loyalty program with the WooCommerce Points And Rewards extension ($129/year at WooCommerce.com). This extension allows you to reward customers for purchases at your website (or for other valuable actions, like writing product reviews). It then allows your customers to exchange points for discounts at whatever points-to-dollars conversion rate you choose.
The extension is highly customizable every step of the way, from the ability to give each individual product a different point value to changing the name from “points” to whatever fits your brand. You can also manage your customers’ points within the extension or, if needed, at the database level.
According to a study by Kissmetrics, a coupon field on your checkout page can have a negative effect on your conversions. Why? When customers see that field, many will leave your site to go hunt for coupon codes—and there are a lot of unfavorable potential outcomes when they do. They might find a better discount on another site in their search. They might find an affiliate code, so now you have to pay affiliate fees on their purchase. Or they might just get lost down a classic internet rabbit hole and never come back to your site.
So how can you prevent coupon code wanderlust from happening without completely losing out on the ability to provide discounts?
The URL Coupons extension ($49/year at WooCommerce.com) is a good answer. With this extension, you can include discount codes in special links you provide to customers—and those discounts are automatically applied when they check out. This extension allows you to remove the coupon field on your checkout and cart pages—all you have to do is check those boxes in the settings.
If you want to take this extension even further, there are a number of options on how you set up the coupons in the URLs, which allow you to personalize the codes for individual customers.
Once you’ve been running your store for a while, you’ll probably build up a sizeable number of discount codes—and it can be cumbersome to view or compare all of those codes on WooCommerce.
The WooCommerce Customer/Order/Coupon Export extension ($79/year at WooCommerce.com) is a good tool for getting a thousand-foot view of all the discounts on your site and their performance.
The extension allows you to export customer data, order information, and coupons in a CSV or XML file. You can then import that information into other programs and tools you use (like CRM software), or to use your spreadsheet app of choice to analyze your numbers.
Discounts can be a great way to boost your sales. But there are also several pitfalls that come with discounting, including brand devaluation and sending the wrong signals to customers.
When you employ the right strategies (and WooCommerce extensions to back up those strategies), you can capitalize on the upsides of discounting while minimizing the downsides.
- Email automated discounts at the right times. Use an extension like AutomateWoo to hit customers with discounts at the moments when those discounts will make the biggest impact, like after their first purchase or when they hit a milestone in their customer journey.
- Offer loyalty discounts to repeat customers. Customers will really value the discounts they earn through loyalty. WooCommerce Points and Rewards allows you to create a customized loyalty program that fits your site.
- Remove the coupon code field and offer discounts in URLs. The coupon code field at checkout can drive people away from your site to go on a hunt for coupons. With URL Coupons, you can remove that field and offer a discount within a URL instead.
- Monitor and manage your discounts to see what’s working best. When you have a lot of discounts floating around, it can be tough to tell which ones are effective and which ones aren’t. By exporting your coupons with the WooCommerce Customer/Order/Coupon Export extension, you can run a better analysis on your various discount offerings.
The following extensions mentioned in this post are included at no additional charge in the GoDaddy Managed WordPress eCommerce hosting package:
- WooCommerce Points and Rewards
- URL Coupons
- WooCommerce Customer/Order/Coupon Export
Click here to learn more about GoDaddy’s WooCommerce hosting options.