Mastering coupon management in WooCommerce: A comprehensive guide

Mastering Coupon Management in WooCommerce: A Comprehensive Guide

Wondering how to create coupon codes in WooCommerce? In this detailed guide, I'll show you how to set up WooCommerce coupons and other types of discount, and use them to attract new customers, boost customer loyalty, clear excess stock, and more.

This is the only guide you need to become a complete expert on WooCommerce coupons and discounts. Here, I'll walk you through:

  • The top benefits of offering coupons and discounts in your WooCommerce store.
  • Key limitations of using WooCommerce's built-in coupon feature and what you should use instead.
  • The steps to create coupons in WooCommerce.
  • The steps to create discounts and offers using WooCommerce Discount Manager.

Let's get right in.

What are WooCommerce coupon codes?

In WooCommerce, coupon codes are a promotional tool used to encourage online shoppers to make purchases by offering them special deals and discounts. Think of coupon codes like digital vouchers. Shoppers enter them during the checkout process to receive the discount or offer.

WooCommerce coupons and discounts 5

Let's say you run an ecommerce electronics store and want to design a promotional campaign to boost sales during the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend. You can create a coupon code "Get 100" that offers a 10% discount on all purchases made between over that weekend. Customers who use the coupon code at checkout during this period will get the discount offer.

Benefits of using WooCommerce coupons and discounts

Offering coupons and discounts is a popular marketing strategy with a plethora of benefits. Here are the top ones:

  • It can help offload excess stock: Coupons can be a great tool to clear out surplus or slow-moving inventory quickly. Providing discounts on products that aren't selling as well as expected can motivate customers to buy them — even if they didn't originally plan to.
  • It can help acquire new customers: Offering a discount for first-time shoppers, like ten percent off their first order, can encourage people who haven't shopped with you before to give your products or services a try.
  • It can lead to increased customer loyalty: Discounts can help cultivate customer loyalty. There's no better way to reward returning customers than with exclusive discounts and special offers.
  • It can increase the average order value (AOV): You can design offers to reward customers for spending more on each purchase. For instance, offering a coupon discount on products worth $100 and more can motivate customers to add items that qualify for the discount to their shopping carts. Similarly, setting a minimum spend threshold can encourage customers to add more items to their carts, thereby increasing the average order value.
  • It can help boost conversion rates: Some shoppers just need an extra nudge to place their orders. According to LoyalGuru, 66% of online shoppers would place an order if they had a coupon, even if they didn't originally plan it. Limited-time offers can create a sense of urgency and prompt customers to place their orders before the offer runs out.

The problem with using the default WooCommerce coupon feature (and what you should use instead)

I'll show you how to set up coupon codes using WooCommerce's native coupon management feature in a bit. But first, let's touch on its fundamental limitations.

  • It can only create basic coupon offer types: The default coupon feature only offers three discount types: percentage, fixed cart, and fixed product discounts. You can't offer more effective discount types like buy X get Y (think: buy-one-get-one/BOGO deals), tiered pricing, and more.
  • It doesn't let you add advanced coupon conditions: Conditions help tailor discounts to be as effective and profitable for your business as possible. WooCommerce's default coupon feature lets you set basic restrictions to control how the coupons are used, such as adding minimum and maximum spends. However, you can't set more advanced conditions like applying coupons only when certain items are in the cart, for specific user roles, and more.
  • It lacks flexibility: You can apply coupons to specific products and product categories. You can also exclude them from specific products and product categories. However, it doesn't let you apply coupons or exclude individual product variants. For example, let's say you sell hoodies in three colors: black, blue, and pink and you only want to offer blue hoodies for sale. If the hoodies are set up in your store as variable products, you'll have to offer discounts on all three colors, not just the blue ones.
  • It can lead to increased cart abandonment rates: Coupons are not auto-applied. Customers must manually enter them in the coupon code field at checkout to redeem them. Forcing customers to use coupon codes to apply discounts adds extra unnecessary friction to the buyer's journey which can lead to abandoned carts.
  • It's not an ideal user experience: In addition to the extra unnecessary step in the user journey, there's always a risk of customers forgetting to apply coupons. Also, some customers may not know how to apply coupon codes or may struggle with applying them. These situations can leave customers feeling frustrated or disappointed in the purchase experience.

So, what should you do instead?

Given how powerful discounts can be, you're probably wondering: If coupons aren't ideal, is there a better alternative to offering discounts in WooCommerce?

Absolutely! Because of the issues with using the default coupon feature, many store owners prefer to use a plugin like WooCommerce Discount Manager to create and manage discounts.

WooCommerce Discount Manager is a powerful plugin that lets you create basic and advanced discount types, add discount rules and conditions, and promote them on the front end of your online store. Plus, it automatically applies the discounts to eligible customers — no need for customers to mess around with coupon codes. (More on this later plugin later).

How to create coupons in WooCommerce

Here, we'll go over the step-by-step guide to creating discount coupon codes using the default feature with WooCommerce. Follow these steps:

1. Create a new WooCommerce coupon

The first step is to add a new coupon code to your site:

  1. Log into your WordPress dashboard.
  2. From the left panel, navigate to Marketing Coupons.
    WooCommerce coupons and discounts 4
  3. If you've never created a coupon before, click on the "Create your first coupon" button. If you have, click on the 'Add coupon' button.
    WooCommerce coupons and discounts 3
  4. You should now be on the "Edit coupon" page. Enter a unique code for your coupon in the "Coupon code" field. This code is what shoppers will use to apply the discount on the checkout page. Make sure that it's memorable, relevant to the campaign, and easy to type. For example, if you want to create a unique code for people who follow your business's social media page, you can use a distinct code like "SocialSquad". Alternatively, you can have WooCommerce automatically generate a coupon for you by clicking on the "Generate coupon code" option (I don't recommend this as it'll generate a totally random code).
  5. Optional: Add a brief description for internal reference in the "Description" field. For example, you could describe the discount type or the campaign it's associated with. This makes keeping track of things easier, especially if you have multiple active coupons.

2. Customize the general coupon details

After you've created your unique coupon code, it's time to customize it:

  1. Locate the "General" tab in the "Coupon data" module (it's right underneath the "Description field").
    WooCommerce coupons and discounts 3
  2. Select your preferred discount type. There are three basic options to choose from: percentage discount, fixed cart discount, and fixed product discount. Here's what they mean:
    • Percentage discount: A fixed percentage off the customer's entire cart.
    • Fixed cart discount: A fixed amount off the customer's entire cart.
    • Fixed product discount: A fixed amount off specific products rather than the entire cart.
  3. Set the value of the discount in the "Coupon amount" field.
  4. Tick the "Allow free shipping" checkbox if you want to offer customers both a discount and free shipping.
  5. Optional: Pick a desired date from the calendar to set an expiration date for the coupon. This limits the timeframe during which customers can use the coupon. After the expiry date, the coupon will no longer be valid.

3. Specify usage restrictions for the WooCommerce coupon

The 'usage restriction' tab is where you can set basic conditions to govern the coupon usage on your WooCommerce site:

  1. Set minimum spends and maximum spends, i.e., subtotal to be allowed to use the coupon.
    WooCommerce coupons and discounts 1
  2. If you want to restrict the coupon to be used individually and not combined with other coupons, tick the "Individual use only" checkbox. This prevents shoppers from stacking multiple discounts on a single order.
  3. Tick the "Exclude sale items" checkbox to prevent customers from using the coupon code on items that are already on sale.
  4. If you want the coupon to be valid for all products in your store with no exceptions, leave the "Products", "Exclude products, "Product categories", and "Exclude categories" fields blank.
  5. To apply the coupon code to specific products, add them in the "Products" field. Note that all variants of the product will be eligible for the coupon code as there's no way to exclude specific variations.
  6. Optional: Specify selected products to be excluded from the coupon code.
  7. If you want to apply the coupon code to entire product categories, add them in the "Product categories" field.
  8. As with individual products, you can exclude entire categories from the coupon code. Specify them in the "Exclude categories" field.
  9. Optional: Specify emails to check against when a purchase is made in the "Allowed emails" field.

4. Specify usage limits for the WooCommerce coupon code

As the label implies, the 'Usage limits' tab is where you'll enter any limits to govern how the coupon code is used in your WooCommerce store:

  1. Specify the maximum number of times this coupon can be used until it's no longer valid in the "Usage limit per coupon" field. This helps you prevent abuse or overuse.
    WooCommerce coupons and discounts 2
  2. In the "limit usage to X items" field, enter the maximum number of individual products the coupon can apply to. If you leave this field blank, the code will apply to all products in customers' shopping carts.
  3. You can limit the number of times individual customers can use the coupon in the "Usage limit per user" field. This prevents customers from overusing the coupon code.
  4. Scroll to the top of the page and hit "publish" to save the coupon.

5. Publish and test the WooCommerce coupon code

Once you've created the coupon, you'll find it in the Marketing → Coupon section of your WordPress admin dashboard. I recommend that you test it first and confirm that everything works as expected before rolling it out to real customers.

WooCommerce coupons and discounts 5

To test it: Simply head to the front end of your WooCommerce site, add eligible products to your shopping cart, and then apply the coupon code. You'll know it works if it's successfully applied to your purchase.

WooCommerce Discount Manager: the better alternative to WooCommerce's default coupon feature

WooCommerce Discount Manager Plugin Mockup

WooCommerce Discount Manager is an easy-to-use plugin with everything you need to create and manage discount offers. With it, you can:

  • Create virtually any type of discount offer. From basic percentage and fixed amount discounts to advanced discounts like buy X get Y offers, based on total spend discounts, tiered price discounts, and more.
    WooCommerce Discount Manager list of discounts
  • Set advanced rules and conditions that control how each discount is applied in your store. For example, you can apply discounts only to specific user roles, add quantity-based bulk pricing rules, and more.
  • Apply discounts to all products, selected product categories, or selected products. You can also exclude specific products or categories with only a few clicks, saving time and reducing manual effort.
  • Assign priorities to control which discount is applied to purchases — perfect for when you have multiple active discounts at the same time.
  • Add both start dates and end dates to discount offers (default WooCommerce only lets you set coupon expiry dates).
  • Use custom, eye-catching messages to promote discount offers on prominent locations on your website: on single product pages of applicable products and in the cart.
    WooCommerce Discount Manager display product page content

Best of all, WooCommerce Discount Manager automatically applies the discount offer to eligible customers' carts — no need to enter coupon codes. This gives customers a smoother and more pleasant shopping experience in your WooCommerce store.

How to create and promote discounts using WooCommerce Discount Manager

WooCommerce Discount Manager is remarkably easy to use. You can set up your discount in ten minutes or less, even if you're a WooCommerce beginner.

Here are the steps to set it up on your site, with screenshots to help.

1. Install WooCommerce Discount Manager on your website

The first step is to add this pro WooCommerce plugin to your site:

  1. Get the WooCommerce Discount Manager plugin and save it to a folder on your computer.
  2. Head to your WordPress admin and navigate to Plugins Add New Upload Plugin.
  3. Upload the plugin zip file you previously saved on your computer.
  4. Then, click Install Now Activate.
  5. Finally, enter your license key mentioned in the order confirmation email or on your account on Barn2's website into the setup wizard to complete the activation process.

2. Create a new discount offer

WooCommerce Discount Manager adds a new tab within the "Marketing" section of your WordPress admin from where you can create a new discount.

  1. From your WordPress admin, go to Marketing → Discounts.
  2. Select "Add New" to create a new discount offer.
  3. Enter a name for the discount.
  4. Choose the desired discount type from the modal menu. The options are:
    • Simple discount: Gives customers a basic fixed amount or percentage off.
      WooCommerce Discount Manager add discount type
    • Based on total spend: Adds a minimum spend requirement for customers to qualify for the discount offer.
    • Free products: Gives customers a set number of free items when they purchase a minimum number of products — suitable for buy one get one offers. Note that the free item(s) you giveaway will either be of the same value or a lower value as other items in the cart.
    • Buy X products for a fixed price: Offers multiple products for a set amount — perfect for bundles. For example, a store that sells shoes can offer a "Buy 3 shoes for $100" promo.
    • Buy X products for Y discount: This gives shoppers either a set amount or percentage off selected items or the entire cart subtotal.
    • Bulk pricing: Gives customers discounts — either a percentage or a fixed amount — based on the number of products. This offer can apply only to select items or the entire cart.

3. Add conditions to the discount offer

Conditions are criteria that control how discount offers work. For this tutorial, let's say I want to create a "buy one get one free" discount for Black Friday Cyber Monday, so I selected the "Free products" discount type in the previous section.

Keep in mind that a couple of options in this section will vary from mine if you've selected a different discount type above.

  1. The "Which products?" field is where you define the products that the discount applies to. You can apply the discount storewide, to particular categories, or particular products.
    WooCommerce Discount Manager free products BOGO
  2. If you selected either "Selected products" or "Selected categories" in the earlier step, you can now define the products or categories for the discount to apply to.
  3. Enter the minimum quantity of eligible products customers must buy in the "Number of paid products required" field. For example, if you want to create a buy one get one offer, enter "1" here.
  4. Next, enter the quantity of free products customers will get in the "Number of free products given" field. Continuing with the above example, if you're creating a buy one get one offer, enter "1" here too.
  5. The "How should the discount be applied?" field lets you specify whether the offer applies to similar products or any other product selected as part of the offer in the "Which products?" field.
  6. Specify the customer roles that are eligible for the discount offer in the "Applies to" field. The options are: everyone, selected roles, and selected users.
    WooCommerce Discount Manager product page content
  7. The "Availability" field is where you specify whether to offer the discount for a specific period or indefinitely. Choose the "Always available" option to make it available indefinitely and "Specific dates" to enter start and end dates to schedule the offer.

4. Share the discount offers on your website

WooCommerce Discount Manager has built-in options to promote the discount offers where they matter most on your website: the product detail page and in the cart. These messages are highly effective and less intrusive than traditional pop-ups.

Follow the steps below to add custom messages to promote each discount offer:

  1. Update the "Product page content" field to add a custom promotional message to the single product pages of all products that are eligible for the discount offer. You can use shortcodes, images, and even HTML codes to make the promotional message prominent. Something like, "Buy 1 Get 1 free offer on all Scarves 🧣!".
  2. Specify the section of the product page to add the promotional message in the "Content location" field. The options are: before the product page content, product title, add-to-cart button, short description, meta information, or tabs.
  3. Similarly to the product detail page, you can add another custom promotional message to the cart page in the "Cart notice" field. This will be shown near the top of the cart page. Continuing with the above example, say something like, "Good news 🎉! You qualify for an extra free product 🛒!"
  4. Finally, save the discount at the bottom of the screen.

And that's it. You can head to the front end to test it out. Here's a sample preview of how the product detail page would look.

WooCommerce storewide sale plugin product page content

And another preview of the product detail page showing the tiered pricing table for the bulk quantity discounts:

WooCommerce tiered pricing table plugin

Here's a preview of the cart page showing the custom message promoting the discount offer:

Ready to create WooCommerce coupons and discounts?

The default WooCommerce coupon functionality can be a good starting point for basic discounts and offers. However, it falls short when it comes to creating advanced (read: more effective) discounts. Also, it doesn't provide the best user experience and can lead to more abandoned carts.

If you want to grow your ecommerce store's sales and revenue, a better solution is to use WooCommerce Discount Manager.

WooCommerce Discount Manager has everything you need to create and manage discount offers. It lets you add virtually any type of discount with advanced rules and conditions and advertise them on product detail and cart pages in your online store. Also, it auto-applies the discounts on all eligible purchases, so shoppers don't have to mess about with discount codes and coupons.

Get WooCommerce Discount Manager and boost your store's revenue and customer satisfaction rates today!

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