Using Coupons or Gift Vouchers in Online Stores

The use of coupons, vouchers and gift vouchers when selling online is increasingly common. It’s worth knowing some of the options available so that you hit the right target audience; it’s also worth knowing some of the pitfalls!

The majority of e-commerce packages contain an area where you can set up coupons or voucher codes. You’ll be able to assign the voucher a name and there’s a fine balance between complexity, security, memorability and ease of use.

The last thing you want at checkout is your customers getting frustrated because they have to type in a complex string of random characters. Equally, I’m sure that none of us want everybody guessing a code as simple as ‘10%off’ which we’d only intended for those signed up to our mailing list!

Coupon codes can normally be either a value (e.g. £10) or a percentage (e.g. 10%). Some will give you the option as to whether you apply it at the line or basket level and before or after tax; you’ll also usually be able to put a time or usage limit on them.

Be carefully how you communicate Coupon Codes. There are companies out there that trawl social media and republish any and all codes that they find – whether or not the code is actually relevant to your site! For example googling ‘Labels Zoo Coupon Codes’ finds:

Coupons Follow Website

The problem here is that these codes are not valid in fact I have no idea where they got them, some clearly don’t even relate to any of our products!

10% Off Bags Voucher

Bags?? We don’t even sell bags!!! (they’re not sticky enough!)

 Vouchers tend to be a separate document which can be either electronic or printed. Its function is the same as a coupon but it tends to feel that it has more intrinsic value.

Some online traders may include a coupon in the text of their invoice/delivery note to help promote repeat business; others may add a separate voucher so that it stands out more. However people are often so focused on the product that they have received that they treat any paperwork as bumf; some only refer to it if there is a problem.

A solution to this is to consider putting a label on the product box; using a double integrated label or a triple integrated label is a cost effective way of doing this. Make the label eye catching and still put the detail in the main body of the delivery note.

Our chicken integrated label would be a great way to do this. One label can be used as the address label, the other as a promotional or voucher label which you stick on the goods. The chicken label has a perforation so you can tear the bottom off, leaving the customer with the neater top half.

Using colour on a promotional label is obviously more eye catching than plain black and white. If your despatch printer is only mono you could always pre-print the promotional label on another colour printer.  You can download templates from the Labels Zoo website to help with positioning; we can even quote to preprint the labels for you if you like!

Gift Vouchers

Many of the big retailers have replaced Gift Vouchers with plastic ‘gift cards’ in recent years. Contrastingly, there is an increase in the number of smaller retailers that are now offering paper gift vouchers. Digital printing has enabled gift vouchers to be much more cost effective at lower volumes.

A beautiful voucher with some in-built security features has high intrinsic value, and they are very difficult for Joe public to forge.

Retailers generally like gift vouchers because the pros significantly outweigh the cost of administering them.  Obviously there is a cash flow benefit in that you are getting the money in advance. One of the statistics that is not commonly known is that on average 7% of all vouchers issued are never actually redeemed.

I’d always recommend using a specialist company for your gift voucher printing. You want the voucher to feel that it has actual worth and also to be assured that it has been made with security features to prevent copies being made.

We’ve used these guys before and they did a great job for us 🙂

Gift Voucher Printing


Printing gift vouchers is their speciality and they’ll even provide a FREE, no obligation proof of your personalised gift voucher design – definitely worth a look! They can also print alphanumeric codes on the vouchers to allow them to be redeemed online.

This is just a sample of the number of ways you can offer coupons or vouchers to your customers. If you have any suggestions for other ways to give something back to your customers contact us on Facebook or Twitter and let us know; we’ll share suggestions we get and update the article with any truly great ideas we hear!