After hours of research, comparison shopping, and trying the demo it's time to make a purchase on the web.
You click "Buy Now," enter your credit card information and are just about to click "Checkout."
And then you notice it. In the lower left-hand side, a little form field that says "Coupon code."
You were prepared to pay the advertised price, but now you know there is a magical passcode that could get you a lower price.
You fire up Google, and search: "product name, coupon code." You get pages of results: mostly garbage, some scams, and a few legitimate coupon sites. Unfortunately, the codes listed on those sites are a year old: you missed your chance.
Why do web apps and retailers do this? It's at the moment of purchase that you get a slap in the face: "You're paying full price, but if you had our magic code you wouldn't have to."
This is bad customer service.
I'm not opposed to running a promotion, or offering a coupon. It's the optics that matter. Instead of posting this constant reminder on your checkout page, remove the "Coupon code" field.
You can do this differently. Brad Sorensen had these suggestions:
Retailers would do better to give everyone a discount for a period or no one.
[Or] instead of coupon codes, they should have separate referrer URLs for people with the code so you don't feel like the loser who didn't get invited to the party.
I originally wrote the post from an anecdotal POV. I've just now started digging into the research. Here's what I've found so far:
I hope this is helpful!