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CWS News October 2010 - Aabaco (Yahoo!) Store Blog by Colorado Web Solutions

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Holiday Prep Tip: Include a Coupon with your Shipments

Posted on October 12th, 2010 by Matt Sampson - Colorado Web Solutions

Greetings everyone! Last year we did a “Countdown to Cyber Monday” series for our Yahoo Store Merchants and while we plan to do the same thing this year, we also feel that there are some elements of preparation that can and should be done further ahead of time. Thus was born the Holiday Prep Tips. We hope you will find these articles useful and we always welcome your comments and thoughts.

This week, we are going to focus on your outgoing packages.

First of all, let’s look at what is in your box. I assume you at least have the product(s) and a packing slip of some kind. Have you customized your Yahoo Store packing slip? It’s not something you can do within your store, but you certainly can outside of it. Here’s an article I wrote a while back about customizing your packing slip if you’re interested.

Do you have anything else in your package? A company sticker? Generic Thank You note? How about Return Instructions? I know that all of these items take time and some require cash, but there is a simple thing you can do with very little effort that can bring huge returns. Coupons. If your store has repeat customers at all (some don’t!) then you should really consider taking this article to heart. It can do wonders for your holiday and post-holiday orders.

Assuming you have a product line that is allowed to be discounted to some extent, I would highly suggest adding a coupon to every single package you ship that is valid for a limited period of time (maybe one to two months) that provides the customer with some sort of “VIP Discount”. It could be for Free Shipping if you don’t typically offer that, or for a percentage discount or even for a specific product you may have too many of. The choice is up to you. We have seen the greatest success with a flat rate discount on their next order (10% to 15% is the sweet spot) or for Free Shipping if the store typically charges for shipping.

The coupons are really easy to create and print on your own. I would suggest trying to print at least four on a page so that you are not wasting paper and toner/ink. A program like Microsoft Word can create a two column and two row table for you to work with. If you are more advanced Photoshop and Fireworks are great tools too for coupon creation.

Why an I suggesting Coupons in your Shipments?

People LOVE coupons and rewards. Just look at a service like Groupon that actually has people sign up to receive ads and coupons daily in their email box. In a realistic setting, you’re not going to get a 100% return on your coupons, but for those customers you have that are considering another item that you might carry or have a holiday shopping list that includes items you sell, that coupon may just be the ticket to get them back into your site and keep them from ordering from a competitor. I would start immediately. Get your coupons in packages this week so that you can capture your customers again for the holidays. We’ve also seen a number of stores that have experienced a jump in sales during a traditionally slow January because of all of the coupons that went out over the holidays. Start using coupons in your packages and don’t stop.

A Few Tips on your Shipping Box Coupons

I’ve included an example of an old coupon we created about a decade ago for you to look at. Remember, this was just one of 4 on a page.

Include an Expiration and Make it Short: Adding an expiration date doesn’t mean you have to print new coupons every few week or months. While not quite as effective as a physical date, we typically suggest adding verbiage like “Valid for the next 45 Days” or something like that to avoid paper waste. Even though you may not actually have an expiration on the code in your Yahoo Store, you will at least have the ability to not honor coupons that are “expired” and invalid.

One Time Use or Multiple Times: Do you want to tell your customers that your coupon is a one time use coupon? We suggest this although once again, you will not be able to actually enforce the one time status if you use a global coupon code. At least you said it though!

Include your Domain Name: We would HIGHLY suggest adding your domain to anything you create. Once the coupon goes into a “coupon pile” your customers need to remember that it was your site offering the discount.

You can print on the front and back: Remember, if you want to you can print on both sides of the sheet to include more information or your logo, etc. Simply print the first batch of coupons, put them back in the printer upside down and run the second page.

I hope that you found this small tip helpful, we will continue to post new tips as we approach the holidays so be sure to subscribe to our blog, follow us on twitter or become a fan on facebook with the links below!

Have a great week everyone.

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