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Should Coupons Be Part of Your E-Commerce Strategy?

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Should Coupons Be Part of Your E-Commerce Strategy?


Coupons are and have been for decades a popular method for retailers to draw more business by giving discounts to customers and also using the coupons themselves as advertising vehicles. Everyone knows what a coupon is and how it looks like. But how does this translate to the online world? Now that an ever increasing number of individuals are shopping online, e-commerce site owners need to find ways to get the maximum number of buyers for their products, by offering innovative promotions and discounts to their targeted audience. This has caused online coupons to become popular as well.

In the online world, coupons work a bit differently than with physical stores, as there is no face to face transaction going on. Online coupons can come in these formats:

A Discount or Promotion Link

Here the buyer clicks on a link, which can be a text link, video, banner or full page ad. They are redirected to a landing page that reflects the promotion that they’re supposed to get, such as a buy one get one free offer, a discount off the purchase price or free shipping.

A Coupon Code to Enter at Checkout

Here, the buyer would enter a discount code in a field during the checkout process. Coupon codes can be shared with the targeted audience through various means, such as email, social media, affiliate sites, etc. There are now thousands of sites whose only purpose is to list coupons for various merchants. People share coupon codes with offers, as well as give feedback to tell visitors whether the coupon is still valid.

Daily Deals or Time Limited Special Offers

Not really a coupon, per se, but works on a similar concept. An e-commerce site makes a special promotion that is only valid during a certain time period, usually a day or a few days. The promotion is mainly shared through the company’s own marketing efforts or through affiliate sites.

Discounts and Coupons Aimed at Specific Customers

Here, the promotion is not available to the public, but rather to select customers, usually those who have already purchased something from the site in the past. Sometimes, it is a rather large group of customers who gets the promotion, such as those who bought something in the past few months, or the customers could be hand selected by the merchant. This can be combined with loyalty programs.

Can coupons really help you as an e-commerce site owner? This is the question that many online retailers are asking. In reality, coupons can have many benefits to online merchants and help them drive more sales, even if it results in lower profits for some transactions, as the customer will essentially be paying less for their items. Tomorrow we will see some ways in which integrating coupons as part of your overall marketing strategy can help you get more sales and in the long run make more money from your e-commerce business.

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Creating Your Membership Site: Some Other Things You Need

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Creating Your Membership Site: Some Other Things You Need


Besides quality web hosting, there are certain other things that you would need in order to run your membership site. These are: a content management system and a payment gateway. Once again, you need to make the right choice when selecting these two, as they will be very important to running your site. Here is a closer examination on how to choose them:

 

  • Content management system

 

Basically, it will be the software that resides on your server and will be powering your entire membership site. This will allow you to add content and manage your site. There are hundreds of different membership site systems out there. Some are commercial, while others are open source systems. The best way to select a good content management system would be to first read some information about this. You can find this in many webmaster and internet marketing forums such as Digital Point and the Warrior Forum.

 

Basically, some points that you should compare the various systems on are:

 

  • Security – Is this system vulnerable to any kinds of malicious attacks and are there any known security vulnerabilities affecting it?
  • Functionality – Does the system give you all the features that you would need to manage your site well. Is it able to be fully integrated with payment systems? This will allow members to be given access right away after they join.
  • Flexibility – Are there any limitations on how much content and what kind of content you can add to your site? Is there a maximum number of users you can add?

 

  • A Payment System

 

This will allow your membership site to take payment from members and can be fully integrated with your content management system in order to activate accounts as well as deactivate those that did not renew their membership.

 

The payment system that you use will process credit card payments and allow you to receive the proceeds of your membership site subscriptions. The most common payment processing system available right now is of course PayPal. Many membership site owners use it because of its popularity and the fact that it offers many API features that can integrate very well with the majority of content management systems out there. PayPal also supports recurring payments, meaning that your subscribers will not have to pay manually every month. Rather, they will be charged automatically unless they themselves cancel their subscription to your site.

 

Although PayPal is the most popular system right now, there are other payment processors available too. Some examples are MoneyBookers and Plimus. It is also recommended that you use more than one payment processor, in case someone has problems using one. Creating a business account is free and integrating multiple payment processors is not that difficult, all you would need to do is to add the right code to your membership site. This could also be convenient for users, as for example someone might not have money in their PayPal account but might have some in their MoneyBookers account and would want to use that to join your site rather than paying with a credit card.

 

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