[Tutorial] How to create discount coupons on WordPress + 4 plugins to generate advanced coupons

Let me guess…

Your online store is built with WooCommerce and you’d like to offer up some discount coupons to boost sales but you don’t know how to get it done.

In other words, you’re not confident about how to set them up correctly.

Leaving a single box unticked or forgetting to complete a field could lead to launching a discount so generous that it would end up eating into your profit margin.

Not to fear! We won’t let that happen to you. 😉

In this post, we’re going to tell you step by step all about how to create discount coupons on WordPress.

And we’ll also tell you about a few plugins that will enhance the basic features of WooCommerce and allow you to create advanced discounts.

To first get a firm grasp on the basics, we suggest reading this entire post.

👉  Types of discount coupons you can create on WordPress

I’m sure we don’t need to tell you how useful discount coupons and discount codes are if you want to:

And that’s why WooCommerce, your online store’s template for WordPress, includes a system to create said coupons without the need for any plugins at all.

But there’s one little problem…

The default options are fairly basic and will only let you create four types of coupons, which can be divided into two different categories:

  • Fixed cart discount: the reduction applies to the cart subtotal, excluding taxes. You can apply a specific amount (e.g., $10 dollars) or a percent discount to the subtotal (e.g., 10%). 
  • Fixed product discount: the same discount options, but in case they are only applied to specific products.

On that note, we’ve decided to add a few plugins to expand your options (in case, for example, you’d like to activate a discount only when specific products are put in a shopper’s cart).

But first things first. 😉

👉 How to create discount coupons with WooCommerce (and tips to let your clients know about them)

Follow these steps to set up the basic coupons for your online store in WordPress.

✅  1. Enable the use of coupons

Discount codes in WordPress are activated by default.

So first, go to “Settings > General > Enable Coupons” and tick the checkbox that says “Enable the use of coupon codes”.

Once that’s done, you’ll see a new submenu called “Coupons”.

Click and select “Add coupon”.

Then, a new tab pops up. Here you have to add a name – be thoughtful with this since it will be the code users will need to insert to validate it – and a description.

The description is optional, but we advise you to fill it in with the conditions to use the coupon for easy identification.

There are three tabs down below:

  1. “General”
  2. “Use restriction”
  3. “Usage limits”

Let’s start with the first one.

✅  2. Establish the basic conditions of the discount

The “General” tab allows you to configure three aspects:

  1. Discount type: here you can choose from the four types mentioned earlier.
  2. Coupon amount: the exact amount or percentage to be applied.
  3. Coupon expiration date: here you decide how long the code will be valid for.

There’s also a fourth option that allows you to include free shipping with the coupon, although this requires further adjustments.

➡️  Add a free shipping coupon

The first step is to enable the “Free shipping” option we were talking about. Then, head back to the “Shipping Zones” submenu on WooCommerce.

Here you have to enable “Free Shipping” under the dropdown menu of the zones you’ve created.

This allows you to create a coupon to remove shipping charges from specific regions.

✅  3. Apply activation requirements

Head back over to Settings and click on the “Usage Restriction” tab.

You can set different conditions here:

  • Minimum spend: the reduction will be applied only when the cart subtotal (excluding taxes) reaches a certain amount.
  • Individual use only: prevents users from using more than one coupon in the same purchase. Useful if you have several discounts active at the same time but don’t want them to aggregate.
  • Exclude products: if your online store has other products on offer, you can select this option to avoid another discount being applied in order to protect your profit margin.
  • Product categories: allows you to apply the discount code to a particular category of your online store.
  • Products: if you want to choose the specific products to which the discount will be applied.

Only one tab left: “Usage Limits”.

With Doofinder Plugin for Woocommerce you can also show discounts inside your search bar.

✅  4. Limit the number of uses

By default, coupons created in WordPress can be used without restrictions, but this can be changed on this tab.

And there are three ways to do it:

  • Per coupon: This sets the number of times a coupon can be used by all customers in your shop. For example, if you set 100 as the limit, only the first 100 clients will benefit from the offer (which is an effective way of generating scarcity or FOMO).
  • Limit usage to X items: This establishes how many products a cart can contain (at most) for the discount to be applicable.
  • Per user: This sets how many times a coupon can be used by a customer before being invalid for that customer. If you leave it blank, then the user may use it as many purchases as they want (until it expires).

Once this step is done, it’s time to let it out in the wild. 😉

✅  5. Publish and test it

After clicking on “Publish”, your coupon will be ready to be used.

Best practice is to always try making a test purchase first to double check that it’s set up properly and that there are no technical issues affecting the template.

While it doesn’t happen very often, an error could lead to quite a bad customer experience.

✅  Bonus: promote it to get the most out of it

Because what’s the use of having a discount available for your clients if they don’t know about it? 😉

Once it’s all set up, distribution is the next step.

For example, you can:

  • Include it in your newsletter: make it a discount for all (and only) subscribers.
  • Offer it as part of the welcome email: a popular technique to turn your new leads into clients as quickly as possible.
  • Share it with your affiliates: an affiliate is a person that brings you clients in exchange for a small commission or some other advantage. In this case, you give a specific code to each affiliate and they share it with their followers. 
  • Share it on your social media: it’s always a good option to publish it on your Instagram Stories or Snapchat to trigger a sense of urgency. 😉
  • Send it to your qualified leads: that is, those potential customers you know are about to buy from you and all they need is a nice little push. We told you about this more in depth in this other post.
  • Create coupons for special occasions: Mother’s Day, Halloween… Here’s a calendar with all the important dates in 2020, in case you need it.

At this point, you should have enough tools to develop some fairly interesting strategies based on everything we’ve told you.

But we’re not done just yet. Here’s the cherry on top. 😉

👉  4 plugins to create advanced coupons with WordPress

The vast amount of plugins available is one of WooCommerce’s biggest assets.

And a few of them incorporate additional functionalities to help you configure your coupons.

Here are four of the most interesting options available.

✅  1.WooCommerce with Extended Coupon Features

This is just one of WooCommerce’s plugins for discount codes.

Among other features, it allows you to:

  • Apply discounts to product bundles: the coupon only becomes activated once all the products in a set added to the cart.
  • Set a minimum or maximum number of units for the same product: up to 10 identical items (or at least 5) in the cart, for example.
  • Minimum spend: the typical “applied to orders over X” coupon.
  • Automatic coupon: which means the user doesn’t have to type in a code. Instead, the discount is automatically applied if certain requirements are met (very popular with “free shipping on orders over $X” promotions).
  • Exclude or include clients: you can set a coupon to be valid only for a specific customer or customer category. For example, you could create a “Best customers” user profile and offer them exclusive discounts.

This plugin has a paid version, but the free version is more than enough.

✅  2. Flexible PDF Coupons for WooCommerce

If you own a physical establishment, Flexible PDF Coupons allows you to generate printable coupons that users can cash in both offline and online.

It also registers how many people have used the discount on your website so you can measure the conversion rate.

✅  3. Refer a Friend WooCommerce

A very interesting alternative if you’re using social proof as a sales strategy.

This plugin generates a discount code that a client can send to a friend. If their friend uses it, the client receives a coupon of their own (and you get two sales 😉 ).

✅  4.Woocommerce Social Reward and Coupon

Do you have a social media strategy up and running? If so, you may find this plugin rather useful.

It generates a discount for a client in exchange for sharing one of your pages on their social media profiles (for example, a product card for something on offer or content from your blog).

Once installed, you can choose the pages where the “Share” button will be displayed.

👉  Now you know how to create discount coupons in WordPress

After everything we’ve told you in this post, you must have come up with a few ideas for the next few promotions in your online store.

Now it’s time you put these tips into practice and create some irresistible coupons for your customers. 😉