Skip to main content

Do coupon code boxes deter online shoppers?

I shop a lot, especially online, and I would describe myself as a methodical shopper who likes good deals. In most cases, I start shopping with a specific goal in mind, and I only put something in my cart when I find the exact product that corresponds to my needs. Then, if I hear that I just need to add another item to be eligible for a discount/free shipping/etc... I might respond to this promo and check if there is something else I might like. But I will only buy a product that I deem useful enough.

Lately, I have started to be really annoyed when going through the check-out process of some online retailers. And it's too bad, as I might not include them in my list next time I look for a product they carry.

Here is the scenario: after spending several hours browsing retail sites, comparing prices, reading reviews, I have finally made up my mind for what I want to buy. I found the right item at the right price. Thinking "finally, almost done", I enter my password, take out my credit card and decide which shipping address to use. It should only take a few minutes from there. Relief!
But then, there it comes, my dreaded encounter: the "do you have an online coupon/discount code?" box! Well, no, I don't have a code since I found the product through methodical research and not through a promo... But I want one, now that I know I could/should get a discount on this product. Panic kicks in. How do I find a code now?
I frantically go through my inbox to see if I received a recent email with a relevant code (in most cases, I didn't). I browse all the coupon sites I can find, and look everywhere for a coupon for that particular retailer. Still nothing, at most, expired codes... I go on affiliate websites, customer forums, etc.. I pray that Google search can point me to the code information I am looking for.
After spending another half hour searching the web for that magic code, I usually end up empty-handed.
Now what? This is the critical point. By then, it's usually late, I am tired, frustrated, and feeling that I am going to waste money if I can't find a coupon. I can either wait a few days and spend more time looking for the coupon (or hoping a new one will show in my mailbox soon) - this means I will probably never buy that thing. Or I can click the "buy" button now, and have forever buyer remorse that I didn't get the best deal on a product I had so carefully chosen.
In either case, I leave the retailer site with a bad memory of my experience, and I might not even buy the product I was interested in.
Is this really what retailers want?

This might be due to the recession or it might have always been the case and I didn't notice, but these "do you have an online coupon/discount code?" boxes seem to have become more prominent with e-commerce websites lately. I understand why they need to exist from time to time, but I would argue that
1. they should be removed when the retailer doesn't have a promotion going on.
2. they shouldn't be as prominent as to discourage shoppers who don't have a discount.

I might represent a small minority of shoppers. Those who like a deal but don't start their shopping based on the codes they have (but rather based on what they need). Maybe most methodical shoppers might not care whether they get a good deal at the end after all, but I do.

And I am willing to spend money online. I just don't want to feel I am being cheated. As long as these code boxes are prominent with some shopping sites, I might just ignore them to avoid the frustration. I will stick to websites that don't require codes, and where their promotions are easy for everyone to see and enjoy.
Retailers who rely on discount codes might want to think of the negative impact as well...

What are your thoughts?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Turkey travel with toddler - a good idea after all

After 10 days traveling in Turkey with our 16-month old son, we found that going to far-away countries with a toddler is not as difficult as many people believe. Yes, we also had our own concerns, and we had set our expectations that we might have a rough time. Yet, we had decided that it would be worth the effort since we were very eager to visit Turkey. As it turns out, most of our concerns weren’t justified, and we found that Daniel had a great time in Turkey. Below are a few things we have learned in our trip. • Jetlag : Interestingly enough, it was easier for Daniel to adjust after this complex trip than after a “simple” journey to Germany. After a 26-hour journey (2 flights and one 2.5 hour car drive) and a jump of 10 time zones, internal rhythm is typically quite upset for everyone, big and small. We flew with the night flight from San Francisco to Frankfurt, so Daniel had a good night of sleep behind him when we landed in Germany. From then, we paced his naps until the follo

Lassen Volcanic camping trip

After our fun trip to Yosemite , our second camping trip of the season was at Lassen Volcanic National park, and it was a great end of a fun summer. On our longest camping trip yet (3 days), we had the chance to visit most of the park highlights. First, we visited Sulphur Works, with boiling mud pots and geysers. It was a fun and relaxing hike, and a great way to get to know the park. On the second day, we climbed Cedar Cone , an old volcano that offers amazing views from the top. The hike is quite challenging due to the sandy aspect of the climb. But Daniel did great, climbing faster that some of the grown up around us (and despite wearing a shoe that was way too tight, as we discovered later!) The reward as the top is astounding views of the surrounding mountains and lava flows. The spent the afternoon after this long hike splashing in the river by the campground, which the kids loved! On our last day, we drove all the way to the other end of the park, to Drakesbad Ranch,

Yosemite trip

Last week, we had another big milestone in our family life. After last year's first quick camping trip at Pinnacles , we went camping for 2 nights for the first time. And it was a great success. We were lucky to get a reservation at a campground in Yosemite, on a weekend where the weather was perfect, if not a little too hot. We spent a weekend exploring the valley, hiking, looking for wildlife (not very successfully though) and enjoying the outdoors. It was fun! Even though Daniel had a short phase of accidents after a long hike to the top of Bernal Fall (bitten by a squirrel - or so he thinks, and a fall leading to a cut gum), he quickly recovered and enjoyed the rest of the trip. A few minutes later, he was again climbing on boulders, running around, and enjoying being outdoors to use his endless energy. The hardest part was leaving. Everyone was heart-broken, but Daniel had the hardest time. It seems to be a pattern for him lately, and I think this had to do with the age (a