What does it take to get online shoppers to act on coupons and daily deals? What kind of discount tends to get the most traction? And, when you do attract shoppers, how do you get them to come back and shop without the discount?
1. The key thing is this: issue your coupons sporadically, but when you do, promote them heavily. You want to condition people not to expect coupons—otherwise, they’ll just wait for the next one—but to be pleasantly surprised when one arrives. You want coupons to be considered special, not routine.
Corner Bakery does this well. They run coupons only occasionally, but when they do, they’re everywhere—even in Google Images. By contrast, Bed, Bath and Beyond is always sending me coupons—I’ve never bought anything here at full price. Ditto for CVS: I rarely shop here without a 20% or 25%-off deal that seems to land in my inbox every other week.
2. As to the coupons themselves, since online shoppers always need to consider S&H, making this free is always popular.
3. Regarding the discount, you need not offer a Groupon-like 50% off deal. Often, the very mention of a coupon is enticing enough.
Addendum (10/13/2012): Success!