Why Amazon makes you click a box to redeem coupons

By Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN Business

(CNN) — Saving money can take a little more effort: clipping coupons, looking for a promotional code, signing up for an email list…

But Amazon sometimes lets us tick a box to save. huh? These orange “Coupon” banners below the price in Amazon’s online store are eye-catching.

Why does Amazon make us go through the extra step of checking a box to “Save $2 when you redeem this coupon?” Why doesn’t the voucher just apply automatically?

The answer lies in the subtle yet highly effective ways Amazon and other stores use shopping psychology to influence our purchasing decisions.

Abandonment of the shopping cart

By making us click a box, Amazon hopes to avoid the problem of “abandoned carts” — when shoppers put something in their virtual cart but don’t end up buying it.

This is a major challenge for online retailers. They miss out on billions of dollars in potential sales each year because buyers think twice about buying a product.

Around 70% of online shopping carts containing at least one item are eventually abandoned, according to the Baymard Institute, a Copenhagen-based e-commerce consultancy.

The number one reason customers walk away: They say they were just browsing and weren’t ready to make a purchase, the company says.

So, businesses are looking for persuasion tactics to get buyers to follow them and click the buy button.

Making an effort when shopping online.

Amazon’s tactic of displaying a coupon possibilityinstead of just automatically displaying a reduced price, it gives shoppers an added incentive to make the purchase right away, marketers say.

Customers also want to be rewarded for their effort when shopping. It might not feel like much to click a box — but it makes a difference.

Amazon’s coupon box puts customers in a more active and engaged role in landing a reward, making it more visceral for them, said Tamara Masters, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, who studies shopping psychology.

By consciously seeing and clicking the coupon box, rather than simply having the coupon redeemed automatically, “the reward can be expected to be felt more clearly,” Masters said. “she apply it and see the happy effects.”

This is an advantage for Amazon in the long term. When a consumer feels rewarded after making an effort to buy, “they’re more willing to buy from a company and pay more in the future,” she said.

Coupon Pages

Amazon said in a statement that its coupons are easy to clip out. And the coupon box is just one of the ways Amazon is targeting shoppers looking for bargains.

Amazon also has a dedicated page for select brand coupons on its website. When shoppers go to the site, they can virtually clip out the coupons and don’t have to take the extra step of ticking a box.

Amazon’s approach aims to reach shoppers who shop solely based on which brands offer coupons that differ from products on sale, price promotions, or discounts.

A dedicated page for coupons also helps coupon clippers stay on the Amazon site and discourage them from using popular coupon sites like Groupon that can be redeemed at any retailer.

“Rather than giving coupon sites the money, Amazon takes the money for itself,” Masters said.

According to Jason Boyce, founder of Avenue7Media, a seller consulting firm, offering coupons is also an effective strategy for third-party sellers on Amazon.

Coupons are a more successful tactic than offering a direct discount to entice shoppers to complete their purchases, he said. They also help sellers climb Amazon’s search rankings, he said. “Retail prices don’t have the same results as coupons.”

The CNN Wire
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