Jul 282008

Effective Checkout Pages: "Voucher" vs. "Coupon" Language at CustomInk

I noticed the other day that CustomInk uses the terms "voucher code" on their checkout rather than the more typical "coupon code".

custom ink voucher code
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This is a subtle language issue, and is likely too small to prove via formal A/B testing, but I think CustomInk is on to something important.

As a consumer, when I see "coupon code" smack dab in the middle of checkout, I feel obligated to break flow and open a new Firefox tab to google "retailer.com coupon" to see if I can save some money.

About 20% of the time this works, making it worth my time on average. Regardless of the cost-to-benefit ratio, I'd feel guilty that I was wasting money if I didn't spend 10 seconds looking for the discount after the site so loudly told me discounts were available.

CustomInk even reassures that having a voucher is rare. The screen says, "Enter a voucher code (if any):" Those eight characters -- the parenthetical "if any" -- are brilliant.

Because nobody wants to feel like a sucker. Nobody wants to feel they overpaid.

Here's example going the other way. The e text editor is an excellent product, but their checkout screen presents the coupon option right in the flow of checkout, as if having a discount coupon was mandatory. Recalculate, or you're probably overpaying!

(click to enlarge)


Their coupon code is marked "optional", but "optional" strikes me as more prevalent and commonplace than "(if any)".

Anything that distracts a shopper from finishing checkout isn't good for the retailer. Indeed, an increasing number of online retailers are intentionally removing as many links as they can from their checkout funnel, even dropping left site nav to remove distractions.

While the savvy shopper recognizes "voucher" as a polite synonym for "coupon", perhaps "voucher" avoids the flow-destroying, avoid-being-a-sucker obligatory google coupon search.


11 Responses to "Effective Checkout Pages: "Voucher" vs. "Coupon" Language at CustomInk"
This is a great observation. Although, I think the effect would be absolutely measurable via AB testing. This is especially true since they are running an affiliate program: most coupons are distributed through affiliate sites. Amazon does something similar. They use: Have any gift cards, gift certificates or promotional claim codes? Overall, it would seem likely that 'coupon codes' are a suboptimal term.
Great idea... would love to see the results of this A/B testing!
Linda Bustos says:
Nice analysis, Alan! I never thought of that (the wording choices) but couldn't agree more.
Kristen says:
Thanks for pointing out that clever choice of language. The thing that worries me about using "voucher," though, is that customers who are coming to the site with a promo code might not realize where they're supposed to enter it, since the advertisement probably said "promo" or "coupon," and"voucher" isn't very common verbiage. Losing pre-sold customers who are shopping with a coupon code would seem a higher risk than potentially losing customers who go off on a coupon search and don't come back.
Kristen -- In private email, CustomInk shared that they don't use that many promo codes, as they don't do a whole lot of discounting -- hurrah for them, as discounts are truly a dangerous and addicting drug. So most CI shoppers checking out do not have a voucher/coupon code. As you point out, if a retailer adopts a heavy discount code strategy and the majority of buyers do have a discount code at checkout, then absolutely, the field would require more emphasis on the page. Thanks for the comment!
Duendon says:
Coupon versus Voucher In my experience this is just a US/UK issue language issue - I see no difference using either, I still go looking for a discount code. In the UK they refer to coupons as vouchers so with localized(localised) country version of an international etailer, the term coupon would be used for the US site and voucher for the UK site.
iherb coupon says:
Thats a great idea i always do that as well and most of the time i find an available coupon and use it.
Nancygeorgia says:
It's really great stuff. This is especially true since they are running an affiliate program: most coupons are distributed through affiliate sites. Great idea… would love to see the results of this A/B testing! play asia coupon
Eli Black says:
Amusingly enough, I ran across this article while looking for a coupon for the "e" text editor. I've never been a fan of coupons, in general, and I have to agree: a form that assaults you with a field to enter a coupon code is really quite annoying.
Someone Special says:
The absolute worst thing to do is put the coupon or voucher entry screen on the LAST page of check-out! It needs to be right at the very beginning, to allow you to verify if a coupon code is valid prior to entering in a lot of useless personal information. This is one of my biggest pet peeves.
TheTDesigner says:
That is a great observation although I'm not so sure how many people understand the word voucher or the way they are using it. Voucher to me doesn't necessarily say that I am going to save money by entering a code.

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