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That guy you stand behind at the supermarket checkout, while he clumsily thumbs through endless loose vouchers and causes a tailback four trolleys long at 11:30pm… that’s me.
That party of four, sat at the table of a popular pizza chain restaurant scrolling up and down their smartphones trying to find an online voucher for 50% off while the waiter patiently awaits our order… that’s my party of four.
UGC within the voucher code space has been a contentious issue for quite some time prompting many a discussion at the IAB Affiliate Marketing Council and earning itself a reference in the Voucher Code of Conduct.
However, the affiliate industry to date has struggled to find any real consensus on how this area should be managed and regulated, and as a result one of the key players in the market has embarked on its own version of UGC within voucher codes with a 'social codes' platform.
For online retailers, closing a sale can be a tricky process. From attracting a would-be customer to your site to fulfilling an order in an efficient manner, there are a lot of potential points of failure.
One of the biggest such points is the checkout process, which gives customers plenty of opportunities to rethink their purchases.
Unfortunately for retailers, getting the checkout process right can be challenging, and there are numerous mistakes that can produce a less-than-optimal result.
In just a few years discount vouchers have become a massive online industry, and now even the likes of Google, Amazon and Facebook are determined to get a slice of the daily deals market.
The main players in the space are still LivingSocial and Groupon, although the latter’s woes on the stock market and with advertising authorities could precipitate a swift fall from grace.
The use of mobile phones for offline shopping has increased dramatically over the past few years, and even if consumers aren’t actually making a purchase with their mobiles, they are often using them to research products and prices while shopping.
According to a recent Toluna / Econsultancy survey of UK consumers, 13% of respondents had made a purchase on their mobiles, and 19% had used them to compare prices and look at product reviews while out shopping.
So what can retailers do to adapt to this challenge?
Voucher codes have rapidly grown in popularity over the past few years. There have been a raft of sites launched to allow people to share codes and it seems that many e-commerce sites are offering them as part of their digital strategy.
While voucher codes can be an excellent method of acquiring customers, but there can be drawbacks, namely reduced profit margins and the potential for checkout abandonment.
Distributing discount codes via affiliates and email campaigns can be an effective strategy, but are some retailers giving away discounts they don't need to simply because shoppers see the code entry box on the website?
A post on the excellent GetElastic blog has a few suggestions for how online retailers can minimise the use of these codes during the checkout process, and I've been looking at some examples from the UK...
VoucherCodes.co.uk picked up four awards at last night's a4uAwards ceremony for the affiliate marketing industry.
Econsultancy's Research Director Linus Gregoriadis was among the judges who praised VoucherCodes.co.uk's platform and its 'smart and transparent approach to working with partners.'
VoucherCloud is a new iPhone app which provides discount codes for mobile users, the first mobile app to offer such a service.
The app was developed by Bristol-based company Invitation Digital. I've been talking to Director Greg Le Tocq about the new app...
Voucher Cloud is an app developed by Invitation Digital that allows users to get discount vouchers straight to their mobile, as well as locating nearby businesses with special offers.
It's an excellent idea, and one which removes the need to print out vouchers to use discount codes offline. So does the app measure up?
Matt Bailey is chair of the IAB's affiliate marketing council and head of affiliates at i-level which was named best digital media agency at the a4uAwards earlier this year. He talked to us about the latest trends in affiliate marketing and why some well known networks might struggle.
Coupons and voucher codes can be an effective acquisition and marketing tool, especially in the current economic climate, but are there drawbacks for retailers in terms of abandonment rates?
In a recent US cart abandonment survey, 27% of consumers said they had left the purchase process to look for coupons elsewhere. The survey did not make this point clear, but it's likely that many were prompted to search for discounts after seeing the promotional code box during the checkout process.