AM Days Session Highlights

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am days session make the most of your coupon codes

I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at AM Days in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago and wanted to share a few highlights with you! I’ll break the highlights out into a few different posts so that I can include as many details with you as possible.

First off, I’d like to say that this is a great conference for affiliate program managers. It’s much smaller than other shows that seem to have an endless sea of people, which can make it overwhelming and hard to know who you should be networking with.

At this conference, all the sessions are targeted specifically for program managers and bring relevant industry information. Then, you can take what you’ve learned and improve your affiliate marketing strategy.

In Case You Missed It…

My session was titled, “Make the Most of Your Codes: Coupon Usage and Best Practices.”

I covered the following topics:

  • Benefits of offering coupons
  • Coupon distribution statistics
  • What publishers like to see
  • Best practices

Since many of you weren’t able to attend, I wanted to highlight a few points from my session to help you make the most of your coupon promotions.

How can coupons help increase sales

Thresholds – One thing you can do is offer threshold discounts – where the consumer must reach a minimum in order for the discount to be valid. If there’s a minimum dollar amount for the coupon or deal to be valid, it can increase the average order value. Examples:

merchant coupon strategy

Sense of urgency – With this strategy, shoppers tend to complete their purchases quickly to get the discount. Creating urgency can help close the deal, instead of people browsing, adding things to their cart, but not committing and buying.


  • Today Only – 20% off Sitewide with the code 20OFF
  • Limited Time – Free Shipping on $50+ order with the code FREESHIP50.

Keeping up with competition – Stay aware of what your competitors are offering and try to offer better discounts. It’s all too easy for shoppers to compare discounts offered at different sites, so always remember that having them leave your site for a better discount at another one is always a possibility.

merchant coupon strategyDecrease shopping cart abandonment – Shoppers are more likely to complete an order if they know they’re getting a discount with a code. Help lock in sales with coupons and discounts!


What Do Publishers Like to See?

Free shipping – One of the few drawbacks to shopping online is having to pay for shipping, so if they’re able to get free or discounted shipping, that makes it more likely to complete the purchase.

Online Shoppers + Free Shipping = LOVE!

Affiliate exclusive offers – Publishers also like to see exclusive affiliate offers because they want unique and attractive offers.

Try not to use the same codes that you’re providing on your site. You also want to make sure the discount you’re giving to affiliates is equal to or better than what you’re offering on your site.

To take it up a notch, you can provide select affiliates exclusive codes, which Tricia Meyer from Sunshine Rewards refers to as the “goldmine of all coupon codes” because it’s rare and worth the most to publishers. Many publishers will also provide placements on their sites in exchange for exclusive codes.

merchant coupon strategy

Best Practices

Include Terms & Restrictions – Don’t forget to list exclusions! This results in a better customer experience and reflects well on both the merchant and the publisher. You can even have something as simple as “Exclusions may apply” and then list out your exclusions on the landing page or have a link to an exclusions page.

merchant coupon strategy

Include Expiration Dates – It’s always good to list the dates, times, and even time zones of when an offer is valid. These details are particularly useful if you’re on a network that has a set timezone, like Rakuten being on GMT for example.

Many offers that we pull can have incorrect dates due to this. Having incorrect or missing dates and times can also result in offers being promoted early or past their expiration. You can make a deal ongoing with an unknown expiration date, but just remember that the sooner a deal expires, the more valuable it becomes – so I’d suggest putting a date and then you can always extend it.

Use Simple Coupon Codes – Avoid long codes with a lot of upper and lowercase letters and numbers. Simplicity is of particular importance for mobile customers who usually remember the code and type it in when they make their purchase. You can also create codes that work in both upper and lower case letters so that it doesn’t come up as invalid if just one letter is capitalized.

merchant coupon strategy

Create Seasonal Codes – Lastly, use every holiday and season to create a special promotion since consumers are always looking for deals, especially during Q4. Even if your products aren’t related to a certain holiday, you can still make promo codes that are.


If you’d like to see the statistics, quotes from publishers, and more, feel free to send me an email and I’ll be happy to share my slides with you.

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