ASW Session Highlights – Consumer Behavior & The Coupons Ecosystem by Groupon

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If you went to Affiliate Summit West, I hope you had a great time! My schedule was packed with meetings but I was able to attend a couple of keynotes and a session. The session was called “Consumer Behavior & The Coupons Ecosystem” – presented by Daniel Flannery of Groupon.

Although the findings were based on UK surveyees, there were some interesting points that apply to the US market as well. The purpose of the study was to see how consumers interact, perceive, and utilize discount codes. To conduct the study, Groupon employed a 3rd party research agency. The sample size was 2,000 UK citizens where the responses were anonymized and contained unbiased questions. They also made sure it met industry standards.

We all know online shopping has grown considerably but 47% of surveyees said they shop online once a week. But, when the question was asked how often shoppers used a discount code, more than half said rarely. So, who are the most frequent users of discount codes? It turns out the answer is daily online shoppers. Additionally, 67% of people who use coupons for at least 1 in 5 purchases said the lack of a code would make them shop elsewhere.

Coupons + Spontaneous Purchases

Groupon included an interesting fact about the conscious vs. subconscious mind. A surprising 95% of brain activity is beyond our conscious awareness. This includes decisions, emotions, actions, behavior, etc.. This brought up the question of what percentage of shoppers would be likely to make a spontaneous purchase by being offered a coupon code? The result was 62% would be likely or very likely.

This high percentage reflects the Restraint Bias. The Restraint Bias states that “when making a decision, we often overestimate our ability to resist temptations or urges. This belief allows us to make decisions that will increase our exposure to these temptations and thus, increase the likelihood that we will succumb to them.”

As a program manager, you can partner with publishers to drive spontaneous purchases when discount codes are offered. When users see codes available, especially if they are exclusive to that site, they think, “If it’s hard to get, it’s worth something”. This plays into FOMO (fear of missing out) and making them feel like this offer is scarce. Flannery noted you can further pique their interest by using urgency messaging like, “Valid Today Only”, so they purchase sooner rather than later.

Key Takeaways

  • Coupon usage isn’t yet universal
  • Ecommerce is projected to grow significantly which will also drive increased discount code usage
  • You can drive incremental purchases by taking advantage of consumers’ tendency to be spontaneous
  • Deliver instant gratification to shoppers via added-value incentives
  • Meet consumers’ expectations that a coupon code will be available – don’t disrupt the purchase process

Groupon’s study was definitely interesting and helps us analyze online shopping trends. Feel free to comment below if you have any additional insights or opinions on this topic.



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