Stopping Online Coupon Fraud

Printable online coupons are becoming a very popular means of driving sales. Newspapers and direct mail are taking a back seat to this digital media phenomenon. According to Research and Consulting Firm Borrell Associates, the total value of redeemed online coupons will almost triple in the next five years. There are, however, potential pitfalls associated with online couponing: brand risk, financial risk, and loyalty risk

Your brand may be at risk if your coupons wind up being posted on sites inconsistent with your brand. This leaves you unable to control interaction with consumers. 

If high value coupons meant for loyalty customers are circulated broadly, it may be difficult for you to control budgets with predicted redemption rates. This becomes a great financial risk to your business. 

Your loyalty program could experience a shrinking new member acquisition rate if your coupons are widely available on the Internet. In addition, your existing member responsiveness could slip because your special coupons are widely available on the Internet. 

Reduce your risks by following these ten practices suggested by Seth Sarelson and Jonathan Treiber in an article for Multichannel Merchant

  • Don’t use a PDF. PDF’s can be manipulated and forwarded around in an unsecured manner. Also, tracking can be difficult. 

  • Never show a full coupon on the consumer’s computer screen. Only in the print tray should the consumer see the full coupon. 

  • Watermark your coupon. This makes it harder for a fraudster to manipulate the terms on your coupon. 

  • Put a barcode or promo code on your coupon.   This scares off fraudsters. Don’t use a static barcode from Google images, however. 

  • Personalize by printing a consumer’s name or email address on your coupon. This can increase conversation rates and provide a better customer experience. 

  • Measure and track the source of your printable coupon traffic. This helps you know which channels are working and which are not. 

  • To protect your brand, never let a customer leave your branded domain to retrieve the coupon. Ensuring your brand resides on your domain is critical. 

  • Use your email list to provide exclusive coupons. This builds loyalty and causes higher redemption rates. 

  • Ask consumers to print a coupon and join an email list for later rewards. This is a great way of building your email list and social media following. 

  • Don’t demand from consumers an endless amount of registration data, or force the consumer to download software to print the coupon. Simplicity and a clear call to action keeps customers happy and conversation rates high. 

There’s no perfect way to prevent online coupon fraud, but these steps will start you in the right direction. CPOnline can further help you in your quest for increased sales through online couponing. Call us at 800-672-4806 or email us for more information.

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