A business opportunity that has gained significant traction is selling digital coupons online. Several factors, including Internet growth, economic recession, the need to save and loss of jobs have led to a strong demand for digital discount coupons and the rise of new services such as RetailMeNot, Google Offers and LivingSocial. If you’re interested in selling digital coupons online, read on.
What is a Digital Coupon?
A digital coupon is an electronic discount coupon that is distributed online. Digital coupons are made available for downloading instantly or through email. Depending on the usage terms, a customer can carry a printout of the coupon or can present it using a mobile device at the time of purchase to receive the discount. In the case of online purchasing, a digital coupon usually is a code that is entered during the checkout process to receive the discount.
Coupons from Top Retailers
Grocery coupons are the most popular type. They’re offered for free by grocery stores. Grocery stores put their coupons in the newspaper and on their own websites. You can also find grocery coupons on independent sites like coupons.com. You can download the coupons and print them out, or you can sometimes use them electronically.
Coupons from Online Stores
Online retailers offer digital coupons. A person selling online music, for example, could offer a coupon code online, which is used during the purchase process. Or, an online clothing store might offer a coupon in an advertisement for consumers to use at the payment stage. Any store can create a coupon to sell products or services through their online stores.
Can Coupons Be Sold?
Sometimes coupons can be sold, and sometimes they can’t. Retailers that create coupons as an enticement for their customers do not allow their coupons to be bought, sold, reproduced or otherwise distributed for money. If you look at a coupon you have found in the newspaper flier, it typically says, “Void if altered, copied, sold, purchased, transferred…” If you host coupons from top retailers without direct permission from the company, you violate coupon terms and conditions.
Reproducing a coupon is fraud. Although many companies won’t do anything more than send a letter that tells a seller to stop selling its coupons, companies can start fraud charges. Avoid this situation by learning how to sell digital coupons online properly.
How Can You Sell Digital Coupons Online?
Traditionally, coupons have been sold as coupon books or through a subscription service.
Coupon books—Children or nonprofit organizations draft coupon books by asking retailers to participate. Some people turn this into a business and sell coupon books for profit. The coupons offer discounts at popular stores. Coupon books are usually sold for $5 to $30.
Subscription Service—Here, online coupon sites do not sell actual coupons, but instead sell a subscription service with a monthly or annual fee. The customer buys access to a platform to find coupons from several stores without spending time searching individual websites. Selling digital coupons online this way requires that the coupons’ manufacturers have provided permission for the coupons to be listed in the index. The subscription fee secures the rights to host the coupons instead of actually selling them.
There are drawbacks to both these methods. The coupon book system, for instance, limits people to the offline world. The subscription service faces a continual challenge of keeping the inventory full of coupons, even in phases when not many coupons are available.
Selling Business Coupons
A better approach to selling digital coupons is to sell individual coupons to customers without binding them to a subscription. Focus on selling coupons for small- to medium-size businesses that need to bring more traffic to their stores and websites instead of large businesses. Reach an agreement with businesses to sell their coupons to customers from your website.
Depending on your agreement with the businesses, you can sell coupons that businesses are already giving out, or you can work with them to create custom coupons that will be sold on your site only. Because customers would not like to pay for something that is available for free, it’s better to get custom coupons from businesses.
Usually, most businesses give away coupons to customers for free, so some businesses might object to the concept of selling coupons. The best way to negotiate in this situation is to let the business know that it can reach more consumers via your coupon site than it probably would by using only its own website. You would be providing an advertising space for a business’ coupons without any cost to the business. You would market the business’ coupons, which would entice customers to visit the business’ site or store. The business starts selling more when it has an online presence. It is a win-win situation.
Selling Coupons to Consumers
Once you have obtained coupons to sell from businesses, make them available for purchase. Consider presentation and pricing. Services like Google Offers and Groupon usually don’t show their entire inventory of deals and coupons at once. They instead focus on promoting only three or four coupons a day. However, in some cases, it may be beneficial to show the entire inventory of coupons to customers and allow them to choose what they want. The price of the coupon should be in proportion to the monetary benefit it will bring to the customer. For example, a coupon priced at $1 that will save a customer $10 will sell more than a coupon priced at $5 that will save $20.
Payment and Delivery System for Selling Digital Coupons
Because you are selling a digital good in the form of coupons, you need a digital delivery platform to deliver coupons to buyers, and you need a way to accept payments.
PayLoadz.com can assist you with selling digital coupons. With PayLoadz, you get a shopping cart, an automated delivery system and payment processing capabilities. All you need to do is upload the coupon files to your PayLoadz account and place purchase links, provided by PayLoadz, on your website. The shopping cart available through PayLoadz accepts more than 20 different currencies, making it possible to go global with your website. As soon as a customer selects the coupons to purchase, the PayLoadz system takes over. PayLoadz processes the payment and delivers the coupon instantly to the customer in a safe, secure manner.
A global coupon website requires that you check the laws outside the United States for sale and distribution of online digital coupons. It’s easier to start locally with your digital coupon site and then possibly expand it later. This also allows you to wait and see how the coupon concept will be revolutionized in coming years.