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Help: Discounts and Coupons

This optional feature allows you to offer discounts to your customers.  Several coupon methods are supported:
  1. simple discount ($ "x" off on orders where the merchandise totals more than $ "y" amount between [starting date] and [ending date]).
  2. percentage discount (x% off on orders where the merchandise totals more than $ "y" amount between [starting date] and [ending date]).
  3. free shipping - for those stores that have automated shipment calculation turned on, the amount of the shipping discount will be calculcated and displayed to the customer when they enter their order; other dealers should set up their coupon to have text explaining that no shipping amount will be added to the order.
  4. text only - This option acts like a coupon in how it is applied, but it has no value. You can use this for non-inventory add-ons like free gift-wrapping, gift cards or the like.

Why Offer Coupons? You can distribute coupon codes as a thank-you for your customers' orders (change the text on your order acknowledgement page to say (for instance)  'in appreciation of your business, we'd like to offer you $5 off on your next order over $50' and give them the code), send coupon code to selected customers, to provide a special discount for a particular customer or offer a 'limited time' special to stimulate demand and raise your average order value.

How do Coupons Work? When the customer goes to order from a site with coupons enabled, there is an extra box in the secure shopping cart on the payment methods page.

The customer can enter the coupon code in that box. If they have entered a valid coupon number, the coupon discount will be shown in any display where they see the entire order. If there are no coupons active on your site, this input box is not displayed.

Want everyone to know about your coupon? If you want all visitors to your site to see that there is a coupon available, when you create your coupon, there is an option where you can enter some text thatwill be displayed on all your inventory pages. If you don't provide any text in this option, then no one will know about the coupon other than people that you tell by other means (special mailing, etc.) This allows you to do (in effect) 'private' coupons. Why do this? One use for a private coupon would be to give a one-time discount to a special (or dissatisfied) customer. Or perhaps offer a short-time discount to a special mailing list when you have new things. The choice is yours!

How do they work? Coupons are actually just inventory items with a negative value. The are in a special category named 'coupon' and are set up with a status of 'hide-order', which means that they don't appear to customers, but that they can be ordered. This category is invisible to you; you can only add things to it with the coupon maintenance module.

Coupons cannot be applied to existing orders; once it has been accepted, the coupon methods do not work. If you need to apply a discount (say $10 off or %10), calculate what the amount is, Then in order maintenance (this is the program that is invoked when you click on the order number when it is underlined -- the title of the page will be 'modify order'), add a line item to your orders with the negative value of the discount that you want to give. Give the discount some neat name ('Special discount for xxxxx') because the customer will see it and remember it!

NOTE: Coupons based on the number of items, specific items, progressive discounts and or product categories are not supported coupon methods at this time.

How do I Create a Coupon? The coupon feature is automatically active on your site. You get to it from the promotional tools menu. Click on the option to create coupons and then on the 'Add Coupon' button. You'll have the opportunity to enter:

  1. a unique name, title and description for your offer;
  2. The type of coupon you want to create
  3. the minimum order amount required for the order to be effective;
  4. the starting and ending dates of the offer;
  5. a definition as to whether a given customer can use the discount more than once;
  6. a definition as to whether people visiting your site see the coupon offer on each page.

Complete these fields as appropriate to the coupon strategy you want and then click 'Add'. Once your coupon is created, you can edit it or change it at any time.

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