How online retailers can use discounts efficiently

Especially in the crisis year of 2023, consumers are paying close attention to how much money they spend. In times like these, discounts come in handy, of course. Not only are they very popular with customers on a tight budget, but retailers can also use them to stand out from the competition. We’ll give you a few tips on how you can use discounts and what you should look out for.

Discounts on the home page


Especially when entering the web store, the customer’s attention must be captured directly. Just as in brick-and-mortar retail, they won’t even enter the store if the shop window isn’t appealing. On the other hand, a discount that catches the user’s eye directly on the home page invites him to browse. Ongoing promotions, which are also communicated on other company channels, are particularly suitable for the home page. In this way, the store does not risk that a user who became aware of an offer through a social media campaign, for example, first has to search for it. However, if no offers are currently on, a voucher in return for a newsletter registration can also convince the user to buy. A win-win situation: the user can save money and the store operator can tie the user to the company in the long term.

Bringing back inactive users with promotions


Especially during the drive to work or during the break, users like to take advantage of the time and surf on their favorite websites. So it can certainly happen that they get distracted and are suddenly inactive. Just as often, however, users simply want to compare the article and therefore stop moving around the website. No matter what the reason for their inactivity is, it’s important to recapture their attention and convince them to buy the product. This can be achieved with a discount overlay, which appears on the user’s screen. In addition a countdown can be displayed to increase the pressure to buy. In this way, store operators not only regain attention, they also motivate users to complete the purchase after all.


There are also occasional shoppers who are generally rather inactive. They need to be given an occasional incentive to drop by the store. Otherwise, there is a risk of being forgotten and losing them as customers. To prevent this, it is best to communicate the discounts by e-mail, so that users are motivated to return to the shop and make a purchase again.

Prevent shopping cart abandonment with coupons


Shopping cart abandoners are a recurring phenomenon. It almost seems as if their decision has already been made, because there are already items in the shopping cart. But suddenly they leave the page. But that doesn’t mean the revenue is lost. Again, an exit-intent overlay can solve this. In addition, the items from the shopping cart can be shown again to remind the user of the items he has already found. In combination with a countdown, the pressure to buy is increased and the user is encouraged to complete the purchase immediately.

Rewarding customer loyalty with discounts


Store operators should not take existing customers in particular for granted. They also want to be kept happy and regularly benefit from advantages for which they return again and again. Loyalty programs, in which customers can collect points with every purchase, are therefore a good way of rewarding returning customers. When they reach a certain number of points, they receive a voucher. It is essential to link purchases from brick-and-mortar stores with online purchases so that the customer has a seamless shopping experience.

Beware of tripping hazards: Here’s what to watch out for 


While discounts are a popular way to generate purchases, retailers should still use them with caution. If they are used incorrectly, they can deter customers instead of attracting them. Too many discount campaigns at once can give a negative impression. Store operators should therefore evaluate carefully in advance about which offer they want to use and when.

They should also be clear about how many products they want to reduce. A large number of low-priced items can reduce the margin. That’s why it’s especially important to always keep an eye on the numbers. Online stores keep a better overview with personalized discount codes that can only be used once. This way, they cannot be spread and get to an unexpectedly large number of people. 

In addition, there are also some legal requirements that must be considered. Even though it often seems like it: retailers cannot reduce their items on a whim. There are regulations for some products – for example, the fixed book price in some countries. By law, the price of books may only be reduced after 18 months. Drop prices are also subject to certain regulations that online stores should pay attention to.

A lot helps a lot but sometimes less is simply more


Although discounts bring some benefits for both the customer and the online store, there are some pitfalls to their use. However, if they are used wisely, they can boost the revenue considerably, especially in months when sales are low. In advance, retailers can always use A/B or multivariant tests to check which discounts are best received by customers. Well planned and in compliance with legal requirements, they are a good way for retailers to attract customers, convince them to make a purchase, and at best build up a long-term customer relationship.


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