A lot of sellers are afraid of offering coupon codes because either they think it devalues their product, or that they lose out on money they could have made with those sales.

But I’m here to tell you that discounts don’t mean losing money if you use them right.

In fact, offering a discount often means the difference between you making a sale, and not making a sale at all.


Discounts and upselling create a sense of urgency and offer valuable incentive for people to buy, when they otherwise wouldn’t.

So this lesson is going to teach you:

  1. That you shouldn’t be afraid of offering discounts
  2. What value comes with each different kind of discount
  3. How to offer discounts and upsell your customers without losing money or devaluing your products


The Psychology Behind Discounts & Upselling and Why They Get You More Sales

Think of it this way…

You’ve got potential customers looking… considering… but not sure if they want to buy your product.

They are interested, but they haven’t been 100% convinced they should buy.

What’s going to push them over the edge to actually buy from you?

An extra nudge.

And it’s your job as the online seller to give them that nudge.

And by that I mean you have to add value to what they are buying. They have to feel like they are getting enough value from the $5, $10, $50 they are going to pay you.

Ya gotta sweeten the deal!

You can add value by using a bundle:


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In the case of a bundle, your customer is getting more product for the price.

Say you sell t-shirts for $30 and hats for $20.

Maybe your customer won’t buy just a t-shirt for $30, but they would buy a t-shirt and hat for $40. That’s “buy a t-shirt get a hat 50% off”.


Now THAT’S a good deal with added value.

Even if they are spending more, it feels like a better deal because they are getting TWO items for LESS than they would if they bought them separately at normal price. Even though they may not have initially been in the market for a hat, the added value sweetens the deal, and gives them more value for their money.

As long as the bundle price is above the price it costs you to make and ship the products, you are still making money – more money than you would have made just selling the t shirt on its own.

Or you can add value by using a coupon code discount:


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In the case of a discount, your customer is paying less for your product than they usually would. Them saving $ = incentive to buy.

As long as the discounted price is still above the price it costs you to make and ship the product, you are making money – money you may not have made without the discount!

Now let’s break down how to use the different kind of discounts you can offer.


When to Upsell/Use Discounts

  • When you want to get rid of old inventory
  • When you want to sell more of a particular product
  • When you want to build hype around a particular product

The key thing to remember here is that you shouldn’t constantly have a particular product or category on discount because that will train your customers to expect discounts all the time.

This will make it harder to get them to ever pay full price.

The idea is to mix things up so you can get the “Yes, this product is perfect for me” people to buy at full price, and then get the “Hmmm I’m not sure yet” people to buy when you add extra value with upselling and discounts.

The Discount Value Guide

Not all discounts are created equal.

And sometimes you aren’t totally sure what kind of discount you should give, and why you would chose one over the other…

Not that you have to overthink it, but there are times when a “free shipping” coupon would do you better than a “20% off” coupon.

It’s all about strategizing when to use what kind of discounts.

And in order to be able to strategize, you gotta know what each discount means in terms of VALUE.

So let’s break down your different discount options and their value so you know when to use them:


Percentage off of the total purchase or total item cost

Good time to use: This is a basic coupon – depending on how much you want to offer, this can be good for big sales (around the holidays and events) or for smaller things to just push sales.

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Amount discounted from item’s total cost

Good time to use:  This is a basic coupon – depending on how much you want to offer, this can be good for big sales (around the holidays and events) or for smaller things to just push sales. Sometimes customers prefer these over % off because they know exactly how much they will save.

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Get free shipping

Good time to use: Anytime! To add more value, apply it to orders that would cost more to ship. You can have a minimum purchase requirement or not. (EX: Free shipping on orders of $50 or more.)

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Get an item free with purchase

Good time to use: When you don’t want to discount your actual product, throwing in a free bonus item ups the value for their money. (Same idea as a bundle).

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Coupons for members

Good time to use: When you want to build relationships with past customers, people on your newsletter list, etc. These can help turn customers into returning customers, and gives incentive to sign up for your newsletter, etc.

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Buy One Get One…

Good time to use: If you’re trying to sell more of a particular product. (It could be Buy One Get One Free, Get One % Off, or Buy One Get One $ Off). Just depends on how much you want to give away, based on your profit margins.


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Buy several, get…

Good time to use: When you’re really trying to sell a lot of product! This gives incentive to buy more than one item. (It could be Buy 3 Get 1 Free, Buy 2 Get 1 Half Off, Buy Two Get One 50% Off – whatever you want! As long as it gives enough value to your customers).

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Keep in mind that your customers may like certain types of discounts more than others.

Test the different kinds, and keep track of which ones were used more – then you’ll know which ones are more popular, and will work better for you. Those are the ones you want to use!

ALSO, try not to offer TOO many discounts, or your customers will get “trained” into expecting them and never paying full price.

How do you know how many it too many? Again, it depends on your audience.

But as a guide, once a week is probably too much, but once a month could be okay. Again, test with your audience and if you watch for patterns in results, you will know what’s best for your business.


How to Get More People to Use Your Coupon Code

Do you ever feel like you are posting coupons and discounts but no one is using them?

This could be for many different reasons,

  • you don’t have a big enough audience
  • your discount doesn’t offer enough value/incentive
  • your coupon code and instructions aren’t clear


  1. If you need to grow your audience so more people are actually seeing your discount offer, read this.
  2. If you aren’t sure if your discount offers enough value/incentive, ask one of your customers what they think. Then tweak it based on their feedback.
  3. If you don’t have a problem with the top two reasons, keep reading for an easy fix to make your coupon codes easy to use…

If you make it super easy for customers to use your coupon code, and you will get way more people that actually use it.

So that means:

  1. Create a simple and clear code

Keep it all upper case, and short. Don’t use characters that could be confused for other ones.

EX: 1 and I, 0 and O


       2. Include all directions clearly in promo

When you’re promoting, sharing, and posting your coupon code, make sure you include all directions needed for use.

So if you’re sharing on Instagram, clearly post the coupon code itself as your image, and in the caption include the details for use:

“use coupon code at checkout, expires 11/3/16, one use only”


Plan Your Next Upsell Opportunity

Now that you have this information, you can strategize your use of upselling and discounts better.

No more posting coupon codes that never get used.

No more not making ANY sales because you don’t want to devalue your products.

Now you can make more money and more sales that you wouldn’t have made otherwise.


Click here to join the Makers Makin’ It Happen FB group to get this week’s challenge!

It’s super simple and will help you move your biz foward :)


Rachel Daley
Rachel is the resident Content Fairy at MadeFreshly, the ecommerce platform that makes your passion pay off. Click here to get her actionable tips and inspiration for entrepreneurs every week!