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  1. #1
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Database-Driven Coupon Landing Pages
    Database-driven landing pages for coupons are a wonderful practice. Here's an example for a coupon at Buy.com:

    http://www.buy.com/retail/coupon.asp?prid=81591396

    1) Being database-driven, it's automatically updated in real-time when/if changes are made.
    2) It increases the conversion ratio, by reinforcing the details with the customer. Often, a customer clicks through to a merchant and isn't sure if the coupon really works until they invest a lot of time adding products and getting through checkout.
    3) It reduces confusion and customer service issues, by spelling out all the "small print" that affiliates might or might not have included on the site.
    4) It helps affiliates get the full details if they weren't provided in the newsletter, email, affiliate interface, etc.

    Merchants: If you consider adding something like this to your site, please keep these things in mind:

    1) Make sure it's database-driven rather than manually updated. It's far less work in the long run. Also, manually updated stuff is error-prone and often gets neglected.
    2) Make sure to provide all details (just look at what fields are available in your coupon database table or the maintenance program where you enter a coupon). Include all "boilerplate" site-wide coupon restrictions, as well.
    3) Make sure that the page handles invalid or expired coupons, perhaps even directing the shopper to a current coupon. (You don't want to lose the sale or have them Google for coupons.)
    4) Upsell! Don't just put the coupon details. Include some hot products and promotions on the page, too. Notice that Buy.com includes their most popular product and a link to their Deal of the Day on the page, too.
    5) Consider making the coupon automatically apply when the coupon landing page is landed on. I personally like having the codes, too, but I like having the code pre-populated during checkout as it reduces customer service issues.

    Several merchants do this, and their implementations vary somewhat. Look at how others implement it to get an idea of what would work best for you. Some that do it the best:

    * Buy.com (example)
    * Cooking.com (shown when you enter a coupon code, like "C88962")
    * FragranceNet.com (example)

    There are other examples, but many of the other merchants don't include the full information.
    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
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    GSI - are you listening? This is GREAT advice - especially for merchants that have a long list of restricted brand or items. It really helps the consumer to understand the scope of the offer.

  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Most (all?) GSI merchants do it part-way. If you click through, the coupon details show on eligible products (although it's rare that their are eligible products on the home page!!!), and from eligible product pages there is a "details" link that gives the details on the coupon. For instance, Ace Hardware's current $20 off $100 coupon shows "Receive $20 off purchases of $100 or more on acehardware.com**" on the search page for eligible products and "Through 6/30/07, receive $20 off purchases of $100 or more on acehardware.com (details)" on the product page, with popup saying "*Receive $20 off purchases of $100 or more online at acehardware.com only. Offer valid through 6/30/07. Not available with any other offer or on previous purchases. Offer excludes sale and clearance items, power tools, power equipment, grills, gift cards, Nextar GPS unit and Carhartt clothing."

    Tons of room for improvement:

    1) It's not a landing page. (That's a big one!)
    2) The expiration date is freeform in the description, and sometimes isn't accurate or is formatted differently.
    3) They don't show the expiration time (presumably 11:59pm) and time zone (Eastern?).
    4) It's a little more complicated because the ID in the URL and the coupon code are different. For instance, the "promoId" in the popup URL is 2765976, but the coupon code is "junaff07" (which is activated with "promo" in the URL). It would be much easier if everything was the same.
    5) While we're talking about the coupon code, I think the GSI merchants require all coupon codes to be entered in lower case. Most use ALL CAPS as a standard, and many allow codes to be entered either way (case insensitive).

    I mentioned to the GSI people at the LinkShare Symposium that it would be really nice to have a GSI coupon feed. They said that their merchants are reluctant to do that because they want their sites to be treated independently. That's stupid. I only work with a few of their merchants right now, but I would probably promote ALL of them if I had a coupon feed.
    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

  4. #4
    Internet Cowboy
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    Great thread Michael. Maybe you should change the title to something like "Merchants, get the most from your coupon promotions" or something to attract merchants to click it. It is great information indeed and nothing terribly technical that would require any major site changes to implement.

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