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  1. #1
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Merchants: One way to keep customers from Googling for coupons...
    One of the most common complaints I hear about coupon sites and coupon affiliates is that many coupon sites add no value. They only catch people who are already in the shopping cart who go and search for a coupon code when they see the Coupon Code box.

    You've created this problem by having the Coupon Code box there in the first place, but there is a fairly simple solution...

    1) Create a page on your site that showcases several different coupons that are available. (They don't have to be the best coupons, but good enough that customers won't go looking elsewhere.) I suggest hitting several different price points, like $5% off a $50 order, $10 off a $100 order, and Free Shipping with a $35 order. If you offer a newsletter, include a signup on this page so that they can be notified of the latest coupons.

    2) Right by the Coupon Code box during checkout, include a text and a link to your page that showcases the current coupons. Something like "Don't have a coupon? Click here for our current coupons."

    This should keep the vast majority of customers ON YOUR SITE rather than out looking for coupons.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela


  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Coupon sites are hard work and I don't envy any of them even one of their sales, this is not a gripe with "coupon sites", but merchants who are causing the problem. I go through a merchant's checkout before I sign up with their program now and if I see a box to enter the coupon code that is not a problem. But if I go back to the network and search for a code and there are none there, I stay far away from that merchant because they are going to send my clicks out to get a new cookie before the checkout is complete.

    This past week I contacted a merchant, they sell a product that I used to manufacture so I know how many of these products to expect to sell for a given time of year and I know that I see the clickthroughs increase at the appropriate times but commissions? Very few. I contacted the merchant about their coupon leak (they do not offer coupons but a Google search of "merchantname+coupon" turns up 2,580,000 results.) The merchant wrote back that they love to see all the sales coming in..umm, where's mine? I have removed that merchant after working with them for far too long. My fault for not checking sooner.

    I wanted to apply at a competitor today, but then checked through and they have the same holes in the program. I wrote to let them know about the problem, if they can't supply their affiliates with a coupon code and have that box in the checkout process, why bother?

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  4. #3
    Affiliate Manager MikeVillar's Avatar
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    Or just disable the coupon box for affiliate traffic altogether. I'm not sure if this applies to all verticals but when I took a look at our numbers only a small percentage of affiliate-referred customers use the coupon box anyway; and a huge percentage of that number checked out with a coupon code because they clicked on a link where an auto-deductible code was already embedded.

    I'm guessing rebate concepts like "breakage" and "slippage" do apply, albeit loosely, to internet marketing.

  5. #4
    Affiliate Manager OutdoorPlayToys's Avatar
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    In an effort to combat this we have actually started putting our coupons right on the checkout page.....we usually have 2-3 coupons at any given time, so we will list them right by the coupon box for ease of use!

    No more searching for coupons and leaving the site! :-)

    The only ones that will not be shown are the codes that are exclusive to affiliates.....
    Jill Caren

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  7. #5
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OutdoorPlayToys View Post
    In an effort to combat this we have actually started putting our coupons right on the checkout page.....we usually have 2-3 coupons at any given time, so we will list them right by the coupon box for ease of use!

    No more searching for coupons and leaving the site! :-)

    The only ones that will not be shown are the codes that are exclusive to affiliates.....
    We did this when I was running a drop shipping venture. I was amazed at the percentage of people that still blew through the check out process without using a coupon at all.
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  8. #6
    Affiliate Manager OutdoorPlayToys's Avatar
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    I do not think we have had a coupon redeemed yet ---- and we have had coupons for items we have sold....we just changed this to make it better for affiliates to and to keep the coupon sites from benefiting....but will be interested to see if it happens to increase usage! Consumers are a funny bunch....
    Jill Caren

  9. #7
    Affiliate Manager Kush@VMInnovations's Avatar
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    I agree with Michael's suggestions (in the works for us). In addition to the recommendations above I would suggest replacing the "flashing" coupon code box with a promo code check-box.

    Last edited by Kush@VMInnovations; June 14th, 2011 at 06:17 PM.


  10. #8
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    As a Shopper:
    I made a purchase from Harriet Carter the other day. When I got to the "Enter a coupon code" part, I googed for their coupons. The entire first page results were useless. Not a single valid coupon. All they did was set cookies. And we wonder why coupon sites get a bad rep!!!

    As a merchant
    Last Christmas I actually added my current coupon in BOLD RED to the top of every order form page. It's right there in your face! Wanna' know how many customers actually use the coupon? At best, maybe 10%. I find that amazing!

    Best,
    Billy Kay

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  12. #9
    Affiliate Manager Decorative Ceiling Tiles's Avatar
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    All good tips here, I would like to add that you can also restrict PPC on Coupons & "your store name" and might want to do that yourself in the event that the above tactics fail.

  13. #10
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Or you can provide a range of coupons and all affiliates to bid on "trademark + coupon" thus getting dozen of paid ads you didn't pay for. Its a good way to block out competition who are offering coupons.

  14. #11
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    Tiny Prints coupon guidelines from the Shareasale network:

    COUPON GUIDELINES
    If you are enrolled in our Program and your Website promotes coupon codes, you must adhere to our Coupon Guidelines as follows:

    You may ONLY advertise coupon codes that are provided to you through the affiliate program or network.
    You may NOT advertise coupon codes obtained from our non-affiliate advertising, customer e-mails, paid search, or any other campaign.
    On click through, you must link directly to our website. Framing of our website is strictly prohibited.
    Cookie Stuffing: You must not mislead customers into clicking on an offer or coupon that does not exist or practice similarly deceptive tactics that are generally accepted as “cookie stuffing.” These include, but are not limited to
    Using knowingly expired offers or presenting offers that do not exist or are not affiliate offers
    Making claims that a user must click on a link first to activate or receive an offer.
    Presenting a button that claims to show all offers that sets the affiliate cookie in the background
    Technology that generates a click or sets the cookie from the action of copying a coupon code or though a pop under.

    Additionally, if your website ranks on the first page of Google for terms related to our website or company name(s) combined the words coupon, coupons, coupon code, promo code, etc and/or your conversion rate exceeds 25%, you may be offered a lower commission than our standard rate to offset the reduced profitably of orders. The current rate is 3%

  15. #12
    ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey View Post
    One of the most common complaints I hear about coupon sites and coupon affiliates is that many coupon sites add no value. They only catch people who are already in the shopping cart who go and search for a coupon code when they see the Coupon Code box.

    You've created this problem by having the Coupon Code box there in the first place, but there is a fairly simple solution...

    1) Create a page on your site that showcases several different coupons that are available. (They don't have to be the best coupons, but good enough that customers won't go looking elsewhere.) I suggest hitting several different price points, like $5% off a $50 order, $10 off a $100 order, and Free Shipping with a $35 order. If you offer a newsletter, include a signup on this page so that they can be notified of the latest coupons.

    2) Right by the Coupon Code box during checkout, include a text and a link to your page that showcases the current coupons. Something like "Don't have a coupon? Click here for our current coupons."

    This should keep the vast majority of customers ON YOUR SITE rather than out looking for coupons.
    This is actually a bad idea for the simple reason most merchants don't want everybody using coupons. If they did, merchants would already be doing this, I only know of a handful. The solution has been offered up before, coupon text links.

  16. #13
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    We have the ability for merchants to set rules for shared attribution now... or even cancel out a commission altogether if a cookie is set during the check out process.

    If anyone is interested I posted a thread the other day about it.. was hoping for discussion there b/c we put a lot of thought into this,.

  17. #14
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    Oh no, will post in that thread.

  18. #15
    Affiliate Manager Decorative Ceiling Tiles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust View Post
    This is actually a bad idea for the simple reason most merchants don't want everybody using coupons. If they did, merchants would already be doing this, I only know of a handful. The solution has been offered up before, coupon text links.
    Lot of our customers do not even use coupons, even that it is displayed everywhere.

  19. #16
    ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by Decorative Ceiling Tiles View Post
    Lot of our customers do not even use coupons, even that it is displayed everywhere.
    Well, you have some dumb customers then. If I'm shopping on some site and there are coupons everywhere that will save me money, I'm going to use them, most people will.

  20. #17
    Affiliate Manager Decorative Ceiling Tiles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust View Post
    Well, you have some dumb customers then. If I'm shopping on some site and there are coupons everywhere that will save me money, I'm going to use them, most people will.
    Lot of people are not as Internet savvy as people on ABW.

  21. #18
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    True. I was trying to go thru your checkout process to see how you have it setup but you cart link doesn't work. I have View Cart (4 items) and clicking it does nothing. Hovering my mouse over the link, it goes to home page.

  22. #19
    Affiliate Manager Decorative Ceiling Tiles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust View Post
    True. I was trying to go thru your checkout process to see how you have it setup but you cart link doesn't work. I have View Cart (4 items) and clicking it does nothing. Hovering my mouse over the link, it goes to home page.
    Thanks for letting me know. What browser are you using? I have no problem getting in in IE9 and Firefox 4.

  23. #20
    ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by Decorative Ceiling Tiles View Post
    Thanks for letting me know. What browser are you using? I have no problem getting in in IE9 and Firefox 4.
    Firefox 3.6.18. The thing is, I checked the source code of the page and I see the correct links but something was happening somewhere on the page where that link wasn't working. I had added 4 items to the cart, think I close the browser, went back and the link wouldn't work. Have no idea why. Maybe somebody more technically inclined can figure it out.

  24. #21
    Affiliate Manager Decorative Ceiling Tiles's Avatar
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    Talking
    Quote Originally Posted by Trust View Post
    Firefox 3.6.18. The thing is, I checked the source code of the page and I see the correct links but something was happening somewhere on the page where that link wasn't working. I had added 4 items to the cart, think I close the browser, went back and the link wouldn't work. Have no idea why. Maybe somebody more technically inclined can figure it out.
    Well that certainly would not be me. Should we ask the audience?

  25. #22
    Affiliate Manager Grey Defence's Avatar
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    I have a contrarian view of coupons. My view is coupons' only purpose are to convert a sale, where the sale would be less likely if not for the coupon. In other words the sole reason for the issuance of a coupon is to reduce the risks of purchase for the customer.

    If a customer is willing to purchase without the coupon then placing it on the site (or issuing it to an affiliate for distribution) achieves nothing but reduce your margins and therefore is a waste of money by that business. In my view coupons must be employed judiciously and strategically. Carpet bombing your site or the Internet with coupon code for all to use all the time, does not - in my view - employ coupons either strategically or optimally.

    Now in our newly launched program on SAS, we have restricted coupon sites from participation because the solution we seek would be too difficult to implement on that network. However in our In-House program we will allow coupon affiliates and here is why.

    The solution to folks leaving the cart to search on a coupon is easily solvable, especially if there is no coupon to be had.

    The solution? First visit cookies.

    Every visitor to our site gets a flash cookie that last for 2 years. If that referral was by an affiliate they are automatically assigned to that cookie and earn commissions for the next 2 years. If the customer deletes the cookie after a sale that's OK, the affiliate still gets paid because the customers account and the affiliate account is permanently linked after the initial sale. Now if no affiliate was responsible for that first visit then the cookies is assigned to the HOUSE.

    Since the cookies are not rewritable it doesn't matter whether that customer leaves their cart to go coupon hunting, the coupon site will not be credited since the customer didn't come via them on the first visit.

    Now if they were at the coupon site and first learn about our company via say a banner ad on which they clicked on through to our site for the first time ever, then that first visit cookie is assign to the coupon site and now they are protected from being bumped.

    I know many of you prefer last in cookies (that is why SAS is available as an option) but I believe first visit cookies are the right way to go for us and here is why.

    Our site is designed to convert with tonnes of valuable information to satiate the customers' research needs and more. so if they don't convert on our site, I am truly skeptical that the affiliate's site that is not deep in our specific vertical will be able to “close the deal". I believe the affiliate is a valuable marketing partner. Their job is clear, send us traffic. Our job is equally clear, convert that traffic and pay the affiliate.

    First visit cookie allows us to credit the right party.

    GC

  26. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Defence View Post

    The solution? First visit cookies.

    GC
    I am a merchant and have been debating myself for years to start an affiliate program for years. But I hesitated solely because we don't want coupon based affiliates (no offense to others - just doesn't fit our branding to have coupons).

    How would I go about crediting first visit cookies only? For give the newbie question but I haven't joined a network yet so I don't know if that was an option to enable.

    Thanks in advance.
    David

  27. #24
    ABW Ambassador
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    "so I don't know if that was an option to enable."

    Not if you want an active affiliate program. Grey Defence is kind of new to affiliate marketing. If you want to know how affiliates feel, we had a poll, almost 85% saying last click. The other 15% don't know any better - http://www.abestweb.com/forums/abest...mer-88967.html

  28. #25
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I don't know an affiliate network that even offers first click cookies. I have used some in-house that tracks it but commissions on last click. Have heard about some programs that give a portion of the commission to first click but not at the expense of the last click affiliate.

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