Discount Codes in Checkout Process and How to Deal With Them

If you are an online retailer using discount code box in your checkout,then it is very likely that discount box itself is costing you thousands in affiliate commissions each month to affiliates who actually didn’t refer the sale.

In the example below from shoes.com you can see the discount code box, but as I don’t have one, I decided to look for it on the internet, and I have found plenty of websites with shoes.com discount code.
The problem is, I came to shoes.com site via PPC advertising, so it cost them money. Once I  arrived into the checkout, I realized that I didn’t have any discount code and decided to look for it on the internet as anyone else does.
I found plenty of sites with shoes.com discount codes. The problem for retailers like you is that those coupon code website quietly installed an affiliate cookie on my machine, and the sale has been credit to them, even though they did nothing to refer the sale. Is this ringing bells for you now? Not dealing with the problem properly, and most importantly, quickly, is very likely to be costing you money and in the shoes.com case, it could be a lot.
shoes-25-06-2009-15-31-57

shoessearch25-06-2009-15-35-35

So how can I deal with it?

  • In order to avoid people leaving your site to search for a discount code and getting it from another site, visibly place a 5% discount code next to the “enter discount code box” on your site. You don’t need to place 10% there as 5% should be enough but I recommend testing of both 5% and 10% to see what impact such changes have.
  • Or another solution from officemax.com to try is (as in the picture) to ask them to sign up for your newsletter and send them the discount code right away. NOTE: I did sign up for officemax.com newsletter, but still waiting for my discount code. Have received the welcome email though.

officemax1

  • When a customer arrives via an affiliate link or email with a promotion, the URL includes a parameter indicating the shopper has a promo code which is stored in the shopper’s session. When the shopper arrives at the checkout page, the parameter is looked up in the session and the box is displayed. Customer enters promo code manually. All other customers do not see a box.

Whichever of these 3 methods you will use I can guarantee you, that you will save yourself a lot of affiliate payments from day 1.

Would be good to hear from you how much money you have saved after implementing that solution. You can contact me directly on jan@proimpact7.com and I will post your story in our blog.

If you need support with implementing some of these solutions, Proimpact7.com can help you and it could be done within 2-5 days of your request, depending how busy we are. Contact me directly on jan@proimpact7.com.

Jan Petrovic
I’m an e-commerce consultant / conversion optimisation specialist (A/B testing). Have been in conversion space since 2008. I started my career as a web analyst using Google Analytics, then moved into conversion. My success rate is 70%, i.e. 7 out of 10 tests are winning and my average conversion improvement is 19%. In 2012 I have received an award from WhichTestWon.com for one of my email tests, which increased revenue by 303.08%. Yes, I do email testing too. I’ve worked for marketing / conversion agencies in London (UK), Toronto (CAD) and Melbourne (AUS) working on ecommerce, lead generation and university websites based.
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