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The Breakthrough Agency.

Coupon Codes: Streamlining your shopper’s experience

Who doesn’t search for a good discount? You’ve reached checkout, ready to press buy now – but then you spot it. The coupon code field. You check your email – have they sent you a code recently? Then you head to Google – searching for a code online. Nine times out of ten, these coupon codes have expired already, or they were never valid in the first place. 

By the time you’ve returned to the checkout, you’re feeling a bit miffed. All that wasted time trying to get some money off. Should you even bother going through with the purchase? 

Coupon codes are common marketing tools. According to data from Juniper, coupon redemptions are set to surpass $90 billion by the end of the year. This, along with the fact that 77% of online shoppers follow a brands’ social media to keep updated on their offers, shows us just how much impact a discount can have.

Merchant concerns with coupon codes

We’ve received a few client requests to hide the coupon code field behind a drop-down. Merchants believe shoppers are distracted when they see the field, wanting to go searching for a discount code before checkout. They fear that this distraction will increase conversion time, with coupon codes reducing margins. 

These concerns are valid – users do go hunting for coupons codes to save some money, but they do it regardless. According to a sales report for one of our clients, 44% of sales over a year period used coupon codes. We have observed that users can spend up to 6 minutes hunting for discount codes. They can then spend up to another three minutes trialling various codes they’ve found online. In some instances, frustration over incorrect coupon codes motivates users to abandon their carts altogether. 

Despite this, it’s proven that coupon codes add value. Data from Blippr shows that shoppers using a code spend on average 24% more than those who don’t, and 29% of shoppers will increase their basket size if it’s discounted.

Overall, the coupon code repetition experience feels somewhat broken. If shoppers are willing to spend time to search for coupons online once at checkout, shouldn’t we be offering an easy way to find them? Taking this control over a shopper’s distraction manages their experience, reducing the risk of an abandonment. 

So how can we?

  1. Keep shoppers on your site, moving forward with checkout?
  2. Provide a joyful checkout experience?

Finding a coupon code

We want to reduce the period of time that shoppers spend hunting and testing coupon codes. Merchants usually share coupon codes via email, social media, ads or offline. We want shoppers to stay at checkout – no opening of new tabs and searching for codes online. 

To simplify this journey, we can use a time-tested tactic – offering the discount in the checkout. Is the shopper taking time to checkout? Offer a small discount pop-up to close the sale. Is the high-intent shopper spending a few extra minutes before buying? A time-delayed pop-up showing the codes they’re eligible for, with a simple ‘click to apply’ button will give them the push they need. 

If we provide shoppers with what they’re looking for, they have no reason to leave at checkout.

Applying a coupon code

We know that shoppers spend time hunting for codes online if they see they can enter one. This is unsuccessful for most, with shoppers finding inactive or inaccurate codes. Once these incorrect codes are entered into the checkout, shoppers are left feeling frustrated. It’s a waste of time.

To prevent these kind of errors, offer a simple, memorable format for your coupon codes. These codes aren’t passwords, they aren’t licence keys. Simplicity is fundamental. Avoiding hyphens and other special characters and instead opt for uppercase letters. Even numbers cause frustration for some mobile users, so it’s best to avoid them where possible, too. 

When the shopper is using a coupon code:

  • Make sure the code field types only in uppercase
  • Catch any format errors as the user is inputting the code
  • Trim extra space before and after the code
  • If no active codes match the term, prompt the shoppers to check for spelling etc
  • If the code has been redeemed, point the shopper to get in touch
  • After a few incorrect attempts, offer some eligible codes to ensure a conversion

Delighting the user

When the coupon code has been added to the cart, there’s an opportunity to excite the shopper even more. Instead of leaving it there and letting the discount be taken from the total, why not inject a bit of fun? Make the discount pop by adding some colours or eye catching animations. This will make the checkout experience feel lighter and boost the shopper’s confidence and loyalty. 

If you’d like to find out how partnering with JH could move your business forward, give us a call on +44(0)115 7940060 or email us at