Effectively working with coupon and offer-driven affiliates

Working with offer-driven affiliates such as coupon websites does require strategy, even at it’s simplest form, to effectively leverage the partnership opportunities presented to you. Unlike many misconceptions, offer-driven affiliates do not necessarily have to be regarded as ‘cheapening’ the brand or stealing sales, however this again requires a strategic approach to working with selected affiliates.

Coupons can be a great way to upsell customers who have gone looking for a coupon or promotional code for your store. Essentially this is basic consumer behaviour, as they want to feel as though they are getting the best deal in return for spending their money with you. Using offer-driven affiliates to drive back customers who have left your website to go ‘coupon hunting' is a great way to retarget your customers and reduce shopping cart abandonment.

Consider offering coupon codes or promotions that target above your current $AOV (Average Order Value) to upsell customers and increase their basket size and spend, thus incrementally increasing your sales revenue. This ensures both you and the customer receive a transaction that has resulted in a positive experience for both parties. In return for spending more at checkout (beneficial to the retailer) the customer has in turn received an offer for doing so (beneficial to the customer). 

For example, let’s take an online store with an $AOV of $80. If a retailer implements a coupon with a minimum spend of $100, any customer redeeming this offer will be spending 25% above current $AOV. Perhaps the customer has now decided to purchase the extra item or two that they were originally looking at but not intending to buy in this purchase, to reach the minimum spend and receive the offer…. This is one of the most simple strategies that you can use to handle offer-driven affiliates in your affiliate program.

Some retailers may alternatively choose to hide the ‘Got a promo code? Enter it here’ box at checkout, unless the customer has clicked through from an affiliate website advertising the current offers. This is commonly referred to as the ‘Coupon Code Box’ and can be a pivotal point in the customer’s purchase journey. Using this method in conjunction with smart minimum spends help ensure a positive experience with offer-driven affiliates. Another method is opting to add the coupon or offer on the click through automatically as the customer passes from the affiliate website to a retailer’s online store. This is dependant on shopping cart and functionality.

Retailers may also choose to:

  • Remove the coupon code box when there are no active offers in the market
  • Reduce commissions paid out on coupon redemptions and reinvest this into the offer given to the customer
  • Use offers on high margin products and/or categories
  • Use an offer to highlight new product lines and entice customers to purchase
  • Use an offer to quickly move clearance stock and sale items

Common offers include but are not limited to:

  • Gift With Purchase
  • Free Shipping
  • Receive X% Off When You Spend $X And Over


Fun Facts: Over 43% of consumers agreed that promotions and offers often close a purchase.  68% of consumers disagree that a promotion or offer ‘cheapen’ a brand’s image and integrity, compared to only 8% who agree - Forrester Consulting 2012.