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Discussion: Coupon Codes, will they hurt conversions for high priced items?

hhk225hhk225 Member
in General edited September 2014
I read in the Foxycart documentation that coupon codes are proven to improve conversions. However, I think there is some risk involved. I think a lot of buyers may stop in their tracks when they see the field. They see the coupon code field, stop the buying process to go search for a coupon and never come back.

For low priced items, the buyer may just give up searching for the codes and just complete the purchase. However, if it's a big ticket item (>$1,000), the potential discount is large enough that the buyer may abandon the cart looking for the code.

Thoughts? Experience? Any research that I should read?
Comments
  • fc_adamfc_adam FoxyCart Team
    @hhk225,

    I'll check with a couple other members for any research that might be worth reading here - but to add a quick thought - in previous versions (1.1 and older) we actually only provided the coupon entry field on the cart and not on the checkout. Very much for a similar reason to what you've described there - when customers see a coupon entry field there is a good chance they'll leave in search of a coupon code to enter - which adds another option to abandon the checkout.

    With that in mind, within the 'customise what checkout fields are shown' template configuration option, you can optionally disable coupon entry on the checkout there.
  • @fc_adam

    I'm not sure I understand the purpose of that option. If I disable the coupon code, it still displays in the sidecart.

    What would be the purpose of hiding the coupon entry in the checkout but still displaying it in the sidecart?

    Also, I notice that coupons persist in a browser session. So if I clear my shopping cart, the coupon applies the next time I add an item (without re-entering the coupon). Is that intentional?
  • fc_adamfc_adam FoxyCart Team
    @hhk225,

    The reason you might want to do that is it removes a possible abandonment when the customer reaches the checkout. Generally speaking, if the customer makes it to your checkout page, they're essentially at a point that they're ready to pay for the product. If you think that coupon entry could be a distraction for your target market, having one less distraction on the checkout would be a good thing.

    If you're including coupons in your store, you'll need to allow customers to enter those somewhere - but you can optionally not provide that option in the checkout.

    Does that help explain that?
    Also, I notice that coupons persist in a browser session. So if I clear my shopping cart, the coupon applies the next time I add an item (without re-entering the coupon). Is that intentional?

    How exactly are you clearing your shopping cart in that instance? If you are simply removing products from your cart, that won't clear out any coupons that may have been added - as you haven't actually triggered the removal of any coupons.

    If you wanted to clear the cart including coupons - you can call "empty=true" as part of an add to cart to clear those out. More details on that here: http://wiki.foxycart.com/static/redirect/cheat_sheet#transaction_non-product_specific_options
  • I understand and have turned that option on for my checkout.

    I am clearing my cart by using the Remove link. It's not a bad thing for the coupon to persist.

    Thanks for the quick responses.
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    Quick followup:
    I read in the Foxycart documentation that coupon codes are proven to improve conversions. However, I think there is some risk involved. I think a lot of buyers may stop in their tracks when they see the field. They see the coupon code field, stop the buying process to go search for a coupon and never come back.
    In short, yes to all that, but I wanted to clarify the bit about coupon codes improving conversions. Our own data (aggregated across all FoxyCart users) show that the more coupon codes a FoxyCart store has created, the higher their sales will be on average. But I think the key here isn't necessarily "coupon codes improve sales" but rather "if you have coupon codes, you actually need to _do_ some marketing to get them out there, and _marketing_ improves sales."

    To your second point about ditching the checkout to look for a coupon code online (because I've totally do that myself): that seems to be well supported by research (Baymard's done some there, I believe). Because of that risk, FoxyCart will only show the coupon field if there are active coupons for the store. So if there aren't coupons that can be used, we won't show the input at all. No reason to give the customer a reason to abandon if there's nothing to find anyway.
  • I wonder if there is a way to do "secret" codes. I provide discounts to members of certain organisations. I can market the discounts to them but I would like to find a way for them to apply the codes without exposing a Discount field to everyone.
  • fc_adamfc_adam FoxyCart Team
    @hhk225,

    You can add coupons to the cart using add to cart URL's by specifying an attribute like "&coupon=COUPON_CODE". You could conceivably hide the coupon code inputs completely, and just send URL's to those organisations which would allow them to add the coupon to their cart that way.
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