Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Why a coupon is like a Doomsday machine...

I was buying posters at AllPosters.com yesterday when I got to the checkout page and noticed a field for coupons and promotion codes. So I immediately fired up a new tab and did a Google search for "allposters.com coupon". The first result was from a site called Cheap Stingy Bastard and told me that I merely had to type in "DADGRAD" to get 20% off on my entire order.

Now, there are many reasons a store offers coupons for its products. Often, the coupon is used to entice (a targeted set of) customers and get them to buy other stuff, to promote the sale of a particular product, or simply to build brand value for the store. But in all cases, the objective is to attract customer sales by advertising the great deals on offer.

So, why does AllPosters.com hide its coupon away instead of promoting the 20% off special on its home page? I suppose they could hope that regular visitors to their site would be happy to pay full price while the smart bargain hunters (or some limited market of targeted consumers) would be enticed by the coupons. But that strategy backfires spectacularly in the internet era where it takes only seconds to find the coupon once I've decided to make the buy. So, you might as well offer the discount prominently and tempt people to shop on the site!

As Dr. Strangelove might say, "A coupon is like a Doomsday machine. The whole point of it is lost if you decide to keep it a secret." The same law holds even more strongly for rebates, but that's a whole another story.


Blogger Sylvia said...

So did you get the 20% off your order? These guys don't hide their vouchers away; i agree it doesn't make much sense not to tell people!

1/08/2008 2:27 AM  

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