Recently I was shopping on Amazon looking at some home organization products and I stumbled on some magnetic dry erase calendars. I found several options sold by third-party merchants. All had great customer reviews and they were all priced around the same, but then something about one of the calendars stood out: it had a $3 off coupon. That’s the one I bought.
Coupons are a new tool for sellers. They were quietly introduced last November in Seller Central but they’ve been available for vendors for several years.
In this episode, we’re talking about what coupons are, how to use them and how to price them, plus whether or not they are essential to use.
“These are really easy to use, no promo code, you just clip it and add to your cart,” says former Amazonian Peter Kearns.
Peter’s job at Amazon was to identify holes in the Amazon catalog and find sellers to fit those holes. Now, Peter’s the Vice President of Client Solutions at 180Commerce.
Coupons is something Peter’s looking at incorporating into what some of his clients are doing on Amazon. Before coupons, sellers only had access to promotions, which can help drive conversion, but they weren’t very visible to shoppers.
“The thing about promotions is that it was really only visible on the detail page, meaning the customer had to click on the product page [then] scroll down to be able to view the promo,” Peter says.
Coupons are different. The coupon is visible right underneath the price in search results. Remember my magnetic calendar, I saw the coupon before clicking on the listing page. For me, seeing the coupon was a driving point to purchase that calendar.
Another cool feature about coupons is that sellers can choose to target specific shoppers. For example, you can target people who have been looking at your listing.
Peter actually experienced this as a shopper. Recently, he added an item to a wish list.
“I put it in my wishlist and made a note to myself I’m going to look at it again on Wednesday morning. I went back Wednesday morning and there was a coupon and it wasn’t there Tuesday night, it was 20% off, so I purchased it. It drove that conversion,” Peter says.
Coupons are going to create more customer engagement. If a shopper sees your coupon, they’re more likely to click on your listing and scroll through your detail page. Then, having the coupon there increases the chances a shopper will buy your coupon.
The targeting feature gives you a lot of different options. You can target all shoppers, Prime Members, Amazon Students, Amazon Moms or shoppers who have looked at certain ASINs such as your competitors ASINS or shoppers who have purchased certain ASINs. If you choose a specific segment to target, it won’t show up in the search results for all shoppers.
Coupons aren’t free. You do have to pay a $0.60 per redemption fee plus you cover the discount you’re offering. So if you set a budget of $100 and your coupon is for a $1 off . You’ll get around 60 – 62 coupons before you deplete your budget. So it will cost you if you decide that’s a cost you’re willing to pay, make sure it fits in with your overall marketing plan. Peter shares an example of how he might use coupons.
“We’re going to make sure we’re running coupons that we are running them in conjunction with social media,” says Peter, “So, making sure that if we’re running a campaign on social media that we’re going to be targeting that particular point, that way we can use the social media links on the detail pages so the Facebook link or the Twitter link. Driving traffic to those links as opposed to just putting up the coupon and seeing if it will help,”
You also want to be strategic about when you run a coupon. For example, if you’re selling a Spring item or an Easter item, coupons could either be part of your plan to double down and sell more or it could be a strategy to not use them, assuming people will buy those items anyways.
Peter recommends that if you decide to use coupons, make sure to budget as part of your overall marketing budget. He suggests that budget should be between – 5 to 25 percent of gross sales.
There are a couple other things to know about coupons. You can load up to 50 products on one coupon. Coupons can also be on an a product for up to 3 months. Also, you can still run promos on the products that have coupons, that gives shoppers the opportunity for a bigger discount, which again can increase conversion.
Now, is this a necessity? Do you have to start using coupons?
Here’s the first thing to keep in mind, Amazon doesn’t make vendor tools available for sellers unless they work and drive conversions and here’s something else to keep in mind, your competitors will likely use coupons.
“There are millions of sellers on Amazon and these are tools help leverage your product against the competition and if your not doing it I guarantee your competition is and as brands continue to grow on the marketplace it’s going to continue to get more and more competitive,” Peter says.
Your ultimate goal is to increase your customer engagement. You want your products searched for, you want the listing to be scrolled through and ultimately you want your product purchased.
Tools, like coupons, will help optimize your listing and get more eyeballs on it.
If you don’t have a clear optimized title and a good initial image, that needs to be fixed before you incorporate coupons or any kinds of marketing strategy. Those items are still most important to grab a customer’s attention. Coupons are also not going to save a failing product, if it’s not a good product, coupons won’t be able to resurrect it, but they can help you liquidate products.
The most important thing with coupons is the fact that you can target a specific audience. This is a pretty big deal.
“So, the seller is getting a lot more control over how their products are being positioned to the consumer,” Peter says.
Just remember if you do limit the audience of the coupon, your coupon won’t appear in the overall search results.
Thanks to Peter Kearns for his insight on Amazon coupons. If you’d like his help with your business, you can find him at 180commerce.com.