Table of Contents
What are Discount Coupons?
Discount coupons are a way of creating discounts that your customers can receive on their purchases through your store. They can be an automatic discount which everybody visiting your store receives, or a manual code which your customers type in as they go through the check-out process to receive a discount on their order or on the shipping costs they are paying.
Users on Art Storefronts who are self-fulfilling and even using automated fulfillment have the ability to create coupons and gift cards for their customers. Print Studios also have the ability to create both of these for their customers. The only users who may not be able to create these are those who are on the old, discontinued child sites.
While there are several types of coupons offered on Art Storefronts, the most commonly used coupon is one that allows a discount on Shopping Cart items. These types of coupons are great incentives for customers to sign up for your newsletter or blog.
The second type of most commonly used coupon is one that applies to the entire website automatically. These are great for site-wide sales during holidays like Christmas or Independence Day (but these need to be created and applied with caution).
The final type of coupon we see used is one that applies a discount to shipping. Let’s face it, while expected, nobody enjoys paying for shipping. To help with this ASF offers you the option to create coupons for shipping discounts, and this is the only way to affect shipping charges from autofulfillment vendors.
Please Note: When creating discount coupons, please be aware of the following:
- Coupons expire at 12am CST, at the end of the selected expiry day.
- When a coupon is deleted, it is deleted from all shopping carts (or products) that have added the coupon within a 1 hour. If you want to expire a coupon quickly, the best thing to do is delete it.
- The day after a coupon expires (so long as the expiration date is still set to yesterday), at 6am CST, the coupon will be removed from any shopping carts (or products) that have the coupon added. We have added the extra time to account for West Coast and Hawaii, and because it is always nice to give an unspoken grace period for customers rushing to get orders in at the deadline. It is therefore safe to change the expiration date after 8am CST on the following day after a coupon expires. To be absolutely safe, It is always best to delete the expired coupon to ensure that it has been removed from all carts and products, and just create a new one.
- COUPONS THAT YOU MUST ENTER A CODE FOR WILL STACK ON TOP OF AN AUTOMATIC DISCOUNT! If you have an automatic 25%-off coupon and a client uses a 20%-off newsletter sign up coupon, they will receive a 45% discount to their order. Always be aware of which coupons are active on your site!
Discount Coupons and Gift Cards
The ability to create and sell gift cards is a useful new addition to the platform, but they can be problematic when combined with discount coupons.
The most common issue is something called double-discounting, where a customer buys a gift card which has been reduced in price by a coupon and then use it to buy another product and receive the discount again.
To work around this we’ve implemented new recommendations about how to set up gift cards in a dedicated standard store, and how to create coupons which won’t be applied to them. To read more about gift cards, please read this article: https://artstorefrontssupport.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360017523112-Learn-Everything-You-Need-to-Know-About-Gift-Cards
Automatic or Manual Coupons
When creating a discount coupon, your first consideration should be whether it is going to be applied automatically to a purchase, or if you wish to require the customer to enter a code to enable the discount.
Automatic coupon are useful in that the customer doesn’t need to do anything; they can just visit your site, see that there’s a discount available (if you have it clearly indicated somewhere on the site - the announcement bar is great for this), find something they like the look of, and buy it immediately.
One important limitation with automatic coupons is that they only offer cart subtotal discounts, and can’t be used to create discounts on shipping. And they need to be very carefully thought through and examined when setting them up, especially if they have complicated prerequisites.
Manual coupons have more flexibility in how and when they are used. Because they are enabled by a code, you can have a little more control in how you share this code. For example you could have a small code which you distribute to existing or new customers for a 10% discount, but then you also have a 20% discount code which you only share with VIP or high-value clients.
How to create a coupon and set it to be automatic or manual
In this section I’ll explain how to create a new discount coupon, and how to set it as being either automatically applied or needing to be manually entered. (This section explains how to set up a Cart Sub-total discount, not for setting up a Shipping discount. For that please refer to the section on setting up a Shipping discount coupon.)
1. Log in to your Art Storefronts Site Manager and in the Jump To Menu select Discount Coupons/Gift Cards.
2. Click on the button labeled Add Coupon.
3. Set When Should This Coupon Be Applied to whichever value you wish. For this example I’ll set it to be automatic, and I’ll explain the difference in what you enter into each section as I fill them out.
4. In the Code section, you can enter a title.
- For automatic coupons this code does not need to be entered by the customer.
- For manual coupons this code is what your customers will need to type in at checkout in order to receive the discount.
Recommended: When setting up a manual coupon, there are several things you should do to make sure your code is easy to type in without confusion.
Keep It Short. A 5 character long code is great. 10 characters is getting a little too long.
No Spaces. Don't use spaces. Ideally, just use all characters and numbers.
All Lower Case. Don't risk confusing your customers with "Is this a lower case L or a capital i?" Use all lower case.
No Special Characters. Just use a-z and 0-9, no special characters.
|Good Codes||Bad Codes|
|mom30||mothers day sale 30 percent off|
5. Apply Discount To can only be set to Shopping Cart Items. This is because automatic coupons only offer discounts to cart sub-total. Manual coupons can apply a discount to shipping costs, but I’ll discuss that in the appropriate section of this article.
6. This part of the coupon has the widest range of options to pick from, and they will all apply to both manual and automatic coupons. Although for this example I'll be selecting Quantities of All Products within Specific Stores, I’ll go through them one-by-one here.
Allow Discount Based On has multiple options available. You will need to choose one.
- Quantities of All Items In Shopping Cart: This will apply to all items in the shopping cart, but with the ability to set specific quantities that must be met for each (i.e. Buy 3, get 10% Off). Note: If you are offering gift cards you SHOULD NOT use this option, as any discounts would be applied to the purchase price of the cards as well as to purchases they would later make using them, allowing them to double-discount. If you sell gift cards you should instead use option 4.
- Quantity of Specific Products: This allows you to choose exact product names from all the products you have on your website, and discount them. You can also require a minimum quantity. Maybe you want to close out or promote a specific item?
- Quantities of All Products Using Specific Media Types: This will allow you to set a discount for a print, within an art store page, that is using a specific media type. You can also require a minimum quantity. Maybe you want to offer a temporary discount on your canvas prints? (i.e. 30% OFF All Canvas Prints, or Buy 3 Canvas Prints, Get 30% OFF)
- Quantities of All Products Within Specific Stores: This will allow you to apply a discount to all products within an entire store. You can also require a minimum quantity. This is great if you want to provide a wholesale discount that can be used to buy anything in an upload store, or if you want to discount a particular category or artist in your art store. Also, if you sell gift cards you should use this option to enable you to offer discounts that can exclude gift cards. (Please refer to the section located above in this article about Discount Coupons and Gift Cards for more information about the reasoning behind this)
- Quantity of A Line Item That Has The Same Medium(s) and Size(s): This feature is currently in BETA and may not work 100% of the time. This is used for discounts on multiple items of the same size and medium type.
7. Click on Next, and this will complete the initial creation of your discount coupon. I will continue explaining how to set up the more important details of your coupon in the next section of this article.
Discounts on Cart Subtotal
This section continues directly on from the previous one. This is the page you will have landed on after pressing the Next button.
1. At the top of the page you will see a green dialogue bar reading “Your coupon has been created.” This indicates it will be listed on the Coupon page, but until you set up the fields on this page it doesn’t do anything.
The top of the page, just beneath About This Coupon, is the list of the three important settings from the previous page. When you refer back to the coupon at a later date you can use these to determine how the coupon is applied, what it applies to, and how it applies it.
2. The first item to pay attention to is the Available toggle. This is a convenient way to turn a coupon on or off without deleting it - very useful for automatic coupons.
Code duplicates the field you set up up on the previous page. This is where, for a manual discount code, you can change the code that your customer needs to enter in order to make use of the discount code. For an automatic code this is just the name you have given it, and your customers are unable to see it.
4. Description is where you can enter a short description of what the coupon is for. In our example we state that it is a 10% discount for all site items, but excluding gift cards.
5. The Day It Should Start Working (Starting At 12am) is the date on which you want your coupon to be available for use on your site.
6. Valid Through is the date on which you wish the coupon to expire.
Please Note: The start date uses the date on which the coupon was created. The default end date uses the same day and month, but adds 100 years to the year - a coupon created in 2021 will be set to expire in 2121. Unless the coupon is intended to run indefinitely, you will also need to change the year when you set your desired end date.
Our coupon expirations are based on 12a.m. CST.
7: Minimum Cart Subtotal Requirement is where you can set a price that must be met before the coupon will be applied. By entering 0.0 as mine is showing, this means that there is no minimum purchase required.
8. No. Of Redemptions is where you can set how many times a coupon can be used. If this is left empty, the coupon will be able to used infinitely. An automatic discount coupon does not show this field. (Example screenshot is from another discount coupon)
9. Coupon Type is where, for manual coupons, you can select whether you want the discount to be applied as a percentage or as a flat dollar amount. For most purposes we would recommend just using a flat percentage. However for automatic coupons such as this only the percentage option is available.
10. Stores is where you will select which stores (pages which are art print stores or standard stores) on your site will be covered by the discount coupon. You should always omit the gift card store in order to prevent double-discounting, where a discounted gift card is used to purchase a discounted product. In my example you can see I have enabled the discount for my other three stores.
11. Amount By Quantity is where you will enter in either the dollar amount or percentage that you would like your coupon to be. For this example I’m setting it up requiring a quantity of 0 (either 0 or 1 can be used here with similar effect) and setting the discount percentage as 10.
Any unused dialogue boxes (the ones shown beneath the one I’ve filled out here) can be left blank.
12. When you are satisfied with your changes, click Save and your discount code will be complete and ready to use.
13. Once you have saved, go back to the top of the screen, and click on the Coupons link.
14. This will take you back to the coupons starting page, and you will see your new coupon at the bottom of the list.
Discounts on Shipping
This coupon can be used to offer discounted or free shipping on purchase. Unlike methods using shipping methods, this will also be applied to purchases through autofulfillment vendors, although the shipping cost will always be displayed as part of the check-out process.
1. To create this coupon we will start on the Discount Coupons page again. Click on Add Coupon.
2. Shipping discount coupons cannot be automated, so leave When Should This Coupon Be Applied set as “After the User enters the code.”
And because the code has to be manually entered, set up the code you wish to use into the Code field. (I’ve used “free-shipping”).
3. Now change Apply Discount To to Shipping Amount.
4. We can only select Not Quantity Specific for the basis of the discount, so we’ll leave that setting and move on.
5. Now click on Next to create the coupon, and to go to the next page of the setup process.
6. As you can see from the green banner at the top of the page, the coupon has been created, and now I can set up the details that will make it work.
7. The first field to be entered here is in the Description. In this I’m explaining that this coupon will provide up to $20 of the cost of shipping their order provided it comes to $50 or more.
My site has Bay Photo as the autofulfillment vendor, and I’ve checked their shipping chart: $20 will cover the first three tiers of US shipping costs, and fully cover the first tier of their international shipping costs along with most of their second tier.
8. The Day It Should Start Working (Starting At 12am) is the date on which you want your coupon to be available for use on your site.
9. Valid Through is the date on which you wish the coupon to expire.
Please Note: The default end date is set for 100 years in the future. This is so a new coupon will not be set to expire on the same day. This can be changed to any date you would like.
Our coupon expirations are based on 12a.m. CST.
10. The Minimum Cart Subtotal Requirement is the next field.
We recommend setting this to a value which will make sure you can still profit from your sales - for example, if you have a lot of small inexpensive prints, making a $20 sale and having to pay both the wholesale cost of the order and then the shipping cost for the order could leave you not breaking even from a sale.
Having a sufficiently high minimum purchase guarantees that you can expect a certain amount of profit from your sales - and could also motivate potential customers to make a larger order in order to meet the requirement.
For my example coupon, I have set a minimum purchase of $50.
11. The next field is the Number of Redemptions. I’m leaving this field blank as I don’t intend to limit it to a certain number of uses per account. But if you wish to make it a once-per-customer offer, you would set this to 1.
12. The next field is Coupon Type. I’m setting this to amount as I’m going to be offering discounts of a fixed value. Setting it to percentage would allow you to offer completely free shipping, but you should always ensure that you know how much cost you could have to cover, and put a minimum cart subtotal on the coupon to minimise the risk of abuse.
13. In this box I enter the Amount of the discount, and finish setting it up by clicking on Save.
14. The green banner shows that the coupon has been updated, so let’s click on Coupons.
15. And the new shipping coupon is now visible at the bottom of the coupon list.
16. But let’s just test it, to be sure it works. I’ve created a mockup order as shown below, on the left is a cart without the coupon; on the right is after applying the coupon.
17. And here I’ve tested with larger orders to check the higher shipping price tiers.
Video: How to test a discount coupon on a mockup order?
After completing the steps of creating a discount coupon, we will recommend you to run a quick test by creating a mock order on your site’s front end and applying the code the same way a customer will do on your site. This will allow you to confirm the code was created correctly and it will be a great practice to learn how to guide a customer to use a discount code on your site if needed.
In the following video, we will explain the steps on how to preview your site, add items to a cart and apply a discount code at checkout.