A recent study (Shor and Oliver, 2006) has revealed that offering coupons to customers may actually reduce sales and profit.
The mere presence of a coupon field dissuaded shoppers without coupons from proceeding with a purchase. Though the study didn't reveal why this was the case, one possible reason is that shoppers get turned off when they find they're not getting the best possible deal. Nobody likes paying more for something than others are paying, and the presence of a coupon field makes it obvious that a better deal is available to others.
What does this mean to ecommerce site owners? Two things:
- Consider carefully whether to offer online coupons at all.
- If you do offer online coupons, make the coupon code field less obvious.