With so many marketing theories, strategies and tactics being used today, it's not a surprise that some marketers often lose focus of the three basic phases of marketing: customer acquisition, engagement and retention. These fundamentals remain a constant and comprise a powerful trio when they play in harmony.
It is important to keep these fundamentals in mind when considering the power of single-use coupons. Coupons succeed best when you can segment your customers into their appropriate marketing phase: acquisition, engagement or retention. You want to deliver different offers to each segment and ensure that those offers are only delivered to specific individuals.
For example, the rich offer you present to try to win back a customer is likely going to be very different than the retention offer you present to a lapsed customer. In addition, you want to make sure that the retention coupon that you deliver, for example, via text messaging marketing promotions, cannot go viral. Similarly, you may want to present offers to prospective customers as an incentive to join your SMS marketing list, but you want to make sure that no one other than new members can receive and use those SMS coupons. When you use coupons strategically, you create SMS marketing lists built to last.
This is why the use of customer-centric, single-use coupons makes so much sense. A well-conceived, properly executed customer-first strategy using single-use coupons can pay significant dividends across the marketing lifecycle by supporting acquisition, engagement, and retention.
The benefits of single-use coupons
Retailers are moving away from multi-use promo codes because in many cases, both they and their customers realize these special "coupons" aren't special at all. They are simply unlimited offers that customers can reuse frequently, which ends up hurting the retailer. They may have their place as a promotional tool, but they often do little to engage or retain a customer.
On the other hand, there are multiple appealing and powerful benefits of single-use coupons, which have been found to deliver higher coupon redemption rates:
- Improves a retailer's ability to personalize offers
- Improves a retailer's ability to target offers
- Provides greater security, preventing offers from going viral
- Improves A/B testing to drive the best results
- Attributes redemptions to individuals and segments
The use of targeted, more focused and higher value single-use coupons could be the key to unlocking the value of an existing campaign.
Understanding single-use coupons
To understand the benefit for retailers and consumers alike, it helps to know the difference between single-use coupons and traditional ones.
- Single-use means the coupon expires upon use, making it tamper-proof, regardless of how it is delivered (web, app, text, social)
- Embedded with a unique code, the coupon is tagged, allowing you to follow it through its complete consumer lifecycle from start (issue) to finish (redemption)
- The individual (device) that receives the coupon can be tracked closely for behaviors
Providing a secure single-use coupon experience
Effective single-use coupons require both distribution security and redemption security, which have been lacking to date. Without these security protocols, consumers are able to receive an offer more than one time, potentially receive offers that were not intended for them, and redeem them more than once.
Single-use coupon systems can be configured to support omnichannel coupons so that consumers can only redeem the coupons online or in-store. Once redeemed, the coupon is no longer valid. This adds perceived value to the offer while protecting the retailer.
Any viable single-use coupon distribution system must be able to generate millions of unique promo codes, personalized for each customer, for use in all physical and digital channels. It must also be able to operate at high speed and offer real-time redemption. It should be backed with the technology, capabilities and experience to deliver not just a secure, but seamless single-use coupon experience.
With these issues resolved, customer-centric, single-use coupons become a key tool in acquiring new customers, actively engaging them, and retaining them for the long run. For any coupon strategy to be successful, it needs to be customer-focused. Give the customer what they want, when they want it, and the way they want it, and your odds of success multiply.