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Why Coupon Codes are Bad on Websites

Have you ever gone to a website to buy something and noticed a “coupon code” field on the purchase/checkout page?

This week I purchased a few domains from GoDaddy.com for my company LandlordMax and as I was proceeded through the checkout process I was presented with a “Coupon Code” field. Being familiar with this my first instinct was that I needed to find a coupon code online. If the field exists there must be an available coupon code.

GoDaddy.com Coupon Code

So I went straight to search on Google for GoDaddy.com coupon codes without completing my purchase. Remember at this point I’d already decided to purchase the domains from GoDaddy, all I’m trying to do now is pay less. Why shouldn’t I? Everything in the checkout process is telling me that I can get this very same product/service for less.

Within seconds I find several GoDaddy discount coupon codes online. So I start trying them. The first one fails. Ok, let’s try this next one. Nothing. Invalid. Another. Nope. And so it goes on for a few more minutes. I’m now starting to get frustrated. I’ve already tried a dozen coupon codes that don’t work, so there’s definitely a lot of them out there. I’ve got to be getting close to finding the “good one”. So I continue looking.

I know that if I keep looking I’ll eventually find a valid coupon code and save myself some money. But I’m also tired of doing this and I’m starting to get a little frustrated. Why couldn’t they just not have hid this from me. Had I not known I wouldn’t be writing about this today!

At this point I don’t really feel like looking for a coupon code anymore. I’m also very busy and I have other important things to do. So I go ahead and make the purchase, without a coupon code. I however feel that I’m paying too much. Whether or not this is true, it doesn’t matter. I believe there is a coupon code that I’m not aware of and that’s all that really matters to me. Unfortunately perception becomes reality and so I feel jaded on the price.

Where does this all leave us? Not in the best place. Depending on the product the customer might move on to another company because too much goodwill has been loss trying to find a coupon code. They might have purchased the product and are unhappy to have paid too much. Or possibly they did find the coupon code and as a business you’re losing a large profit margin. In the best case the customer saved some extra money they hadn’t anticipated to and in the worse case the customer has moved on to another company.

What’s the alternative? Don’t show a coupon code! It’s that simple. If I don’t know about the discount than I don’t feel bad. I won’t look for it. I won’t care. I won’t be disappointed.

If you want to use coupons why not instead just make it part of the URL (the webpage address). Do something like http://www.GoDaddy.com/?couponCode=2342 If I don’t happen to come across the direct link I won’t know about the discount. And best of all, everyone who doesn’t come across the link, which I would bet is the majority of purchasers, won’t know. I won’t get frustrated trying to find a coupon code that might not exist. I’ll just pay and be on my merry way.

It’s much like going to a grocery store. I pay for my food. The customer behind me might have coupons, which is great for them, but it doesn’t affect me. The cashier didn’t just tell me that there is possibly a 30% off coupon available somewhere nearby in the store (along with a bunch of expired coupons) and that I should go look for it right now. Meaning they’ve now informed me that I’m paying more than I should which doesn’t make me happy. Although I’m aware that there are potentially coupons out there, as long as they’re not in my face I’m happy. I’m blissfully ignorant. Sometimes this can be the best thing!

** Update: For those of you who are curious, at my company LandlordMax we don’t offer any coupons or discounts on the software we sell. Therefore you don’t need to search Google for discounts, they don’t exist. We’ve made it really simple, everyone pays the same price.



 
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Comments:

  •     Scott
    · January 14th, 2008  · 7:52 pm  · Permalink

    Steph I can associate with your frustration, I feel exactly the same way when buying from Dell. As for GoDaddy, take a look at any of DL.TV, Systm or pretty much any of the Revision3 podcasts.

  •     bob
    · January 15th, 2008  · 11:49 am  · Permalink

    retailmenot.com is the best place to find these hard to find coupon codes, or oyu could just l2google

  •     Steph
    · January 15th, 2008  · 10:40 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Scott,

    Yes, you’re absolutely right. A while back I bought a dell laptop (the XPS m1330) and I noticed the coupon code. Back then it was brand new, just released, and it was the only laptop with an SSD (Solid State Drive). I knew better than to look for coupon codes for this particular configuration, but I still had the temptation and did!

    Back in the day, when the net was newer it made sense to have coupon codes on the checkout process. People didn’t really utilize search engines. And it works for magazines and direct mailing. But when you have Google at your fingertips, not so much…

  •     Steph
    · January 15th, 2008  · 10:40 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Bob,

    Thanks for the tip, it’s good to know. I’ll keep it in mind if I can’t find a coupon code on Google.

  •     ScottW
    · January 17th, 2008  · 11:38 pm  · Permalink

    I wholly agree – I came to this same realization years ago. For our shopping cart at photopost.com, we remove the coupon code box when we’re not having a sale.

  •     J
    · January 10th, 2009  · 9:26 pm  · Permalink

    HA- well it’s a year after your post and the same thing just happened to me at Goduddy today.

    Tried two different current codes and the price never changed downward.

    I walked away from the cart.

  •     Steph
    · January 11th, 2009  · 11:42 am  · Permalink

    Hi J,

    Unfortunately I suspect they’ll continue with this model for a long time, even though it has issues…

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