Shifty Shady E Commerce PromotionsSo, the other day I received an email from an art supply website offering me a flat discount of 15% off of my purchase plus free shipping if my order totaled $75 or more. Since I’m always in the market for art supplies of some sort and absolutely cannot resist a good deal—online or otherwise—I immediately clicked the link in the email and was redirected to the art supply website.

I happily put my favorite fluid acrylics in the cart along with some other supplies that I’ve been wanting to try and went to check out. Everything was humming along nicely until it came time to put my discount code into the checkout page.

I added my code and hit refresh and noticed that my price dropped by less than $5 when it should have dropped by $12. The discount wasn’t applying to all the items in my cart—only certain ones. When I went back to the original email, there in teeny tiny print was the stipulation that the discount is only good on regularly priced items. A quick cursory review of the site revealed that nearly every product I was interested in was on sale, effectively rendering the coupon invalid. While the coupon conditions were there on the email coupon, I did not immediately see them and by the time that I realized that the discount only applied to non-sale items, I was feeling a little disenchanted with the whole thing. What’s more, offering a coupon on non-sale items and then having a very limited selection of non-sale items to choose from seems a little shifty to me.

The Take Away

What’s the lesson of today’s post? Simple. A splashy ecommerce promotion is a great way to drive traffic to your ecommerce site, but if that promotion leaves your customer with a sour taste in her mouth, your promotion might just be doing more harm than good. Take me, for instance. I was disappointed in my online shopping experience and undoubtedly will review any future ecommerce promotions with a second look and a bit of distrust. While the promotional email introduced me to the art supply website, the way they handled their ecommerce promotion left me less than likely to shop there again.

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