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How to add a free shipping coupon in Auctiva Commerce

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Free shipping is a great way to get your customers to buy products from your Auctiva Commerce store. The Coupon feature in Auctiva Commerce makes it easy to create custom shipping coupons that are specific to shipping methods and user groups. This means you can choose what types of shipping services and what groups of customers will receive the savings. Also, you can set additional parameters to limit the coupons usage. This tutorial will explain how to add a free shipping coupon on your Auctiva Commerce Store. Included is an exercise that demonstrates how to put the coupon features to use.

What is a free shipping coupon?

Coupons are a feature built into Auctiva Commerce that gives you a powerful tool to create unique savings on orders, products and shipping charges. Shipping coupons are a specific variety of the type of coupons you can make. Shipping coupons are unique in that they only apply savings to the shipping charge of an order.

It's important to note that free shipping can also be offered by creating a custom shipping method that has no shipping charge. In effect, that is free shipping. While this is possible, we recommend using a shipping coupon instead. Shipping coupons offer more control on how the savings are applied. This means you can set parameters that will limit coupon usage. This will help you prevent giving away more free shipping rewards than you can afford.

How to add a shipping coupon

Before you issue any shipping coupons make sure you know how you are going to cover the discounted costs. When you offer shipping charges that are less than the actual expense of shipping, you will have to cover the difference. The shipping coupon fields below can limit usage so that the potential cost to you is predictable. Look at the options carefully before issuing a shipping coupon.

Step 1. Add a coupon.
  • Go to Marketing> Coupons.
  • Click on the Add Coupon button at the bottom of the Manage Coupons page.
  • Choose the Shipping Coupon option from the Add Coupon page.
  • Click on the Next button. This is the Add Shipping Coupon page.
  • Name: Enter the name of the coupon. The name will not display to customers. It's only for administration purposes.
  • Coupon Code: Enter in the Coupon Code. This code is the string that a customer must enter at checkout to receive the coupon savings. If you are not careful to set the limitations of a shipping coupon closely, you might want to make this string a complex series of characters (e.g., "58LibK9s3"). Otherwise, if you tightly restrict the shipping coupon parameters to the point where there's little risk or liability, you can use more easily remembered codes (e.g., "FREESHIP").
  • Discount Amount: Enter in the total amount discounted from the shipping charge. The Discount Amount value can be a fixed number or percentage, depending if the Percent option or Fixed Amount option is selected.
  • Max Value: Enter in the maximum value of the Discount Amount into this field. If you choose to discount a shipping charge by the Percent option, you can enter a value here that limits the maximum discount a customer will receive using this shipping coupon. You can leave this field blank if the Discount Amount is set to the Fixed Amount option. Example: A shipping coupon is setup to give a 100% Discount Amount to a shipping charge. The Max Value of the shipping coupon is 30 USD. "Customer A" has an order with a shipping charge of 34.95 USD. In this scenario, the shipping coupon discounts 100% of Customer A's shipping charge up to the Max Value of 30 USD, leaving Customer A with a remaining shipping charge of 4.95 USD. "Customer B" has an order with a shipping charge of 16.50 USD. In this scenario, the shipping coupon discounts 100% of Customer B's shipping charge with no remainder (i.e., free shipping), as Customer B's shipping charge was not over the Max Value of 30 USD for this shipping coupon.
  • Min Purchase: Enter in the value that a purchase amount must be equal to or higher than in order for the customer's order to be eligible for the shipping coupon. Example: A shipping coupon is setup to give a 100% Discount Amount to a shipping charge. The Min Purchase value for the shipping coupon is 75 USD. "Customer A" has an order amount of 112.38 USD with a shipping charge of 16.95 USD. In this scenario, Customer A is eligible for shipping coupon because his order is greater than the Min Purchase value of 75 USD (i.e., 112.38 USD is greater than 75.00 USD). If Customer A's order amount is less than the Min Purchase value, the shipping coupon will not work.
  • Start Date: Check the option box to select the earliest day that the coupon will be effective. In the field next to the option box, click on the Calendar button to choose the date. When a date is selected, this date is the day that the shipping coupon will work. Leaving this field unchecked will make the coupon indefinitely effective unless an End Date is expressed.
  • End Date: Check the option box to select the last day the coupon will be effective. In the field next to the option box, click on the Calendar button to choose the date. When a date is selected, this date is the last day that the shipping coupon will work. Leaving this field unchecked will make the coupon indefinitely effective starting on an expressed Start Date. Enabling both a Start Date and End Date will give the shipping coupon a range of days that the coupon will be effective.
  • Uses per Customer: Enter in maximum number of uses per customer for the shipping coupon.
  • Max Uses: Enter in the value that represents the total number of times the shipping coupon can be used in the store. When this number is reached, the shipping coupon will not work. When this field is blank, the overall number of shipping coupon uses will not be limited.
  • Allow Combine: Check this box if the shipping coupon can be used with other coupons. Leave unchecked if this shipping coupon can only be used at checkout by itself.
  • Shipping Methods: Choose which shipping methods will work with this coupon. The "Valid for all methods" option will make the shipping coupon work with every type of shipping method available to the customer at checkout. The "Valid only for selected methods" option will allow you to choose which shipping methods will work with the shipping coupon. When you choose this option, all the shipping methods will appear. Check the shipping methods that will be valid. The "Not valid for selected methods" option will allow you to select the shipping methods that will not work with the shipping coupon. With this option, all the unchecked shipping methods are valid and the checked shipping methods are invalid.
  • Groups: Choose the All Groups option to allow all user groups to use the shipping coupon, or choose the Selected Groups option to select which user groups will be able to use the shipping coupon. When you choose Selected Groups option, the user groups will appear. Check the user groups that will have the ability to use the shipping coupon.
  • Click on the Next button.
  • Click on the Save and Close button to finish.

That completes the task of adding a shipping coupon. Remember to be cautious with shipping coupons and place the appropriate limitations for usage. This will help keep the shipping coupon from cutting away profit margins on orders. The last consideration for adding a shipping coupon is the method that you use to inform customers about the coupon itself. An easy way to do this is to email a notice with the Coupon Code to eligible customers using Auctiva Commerce Email Lists. If the shipping coupon is related to only a few products, you could also post the Coupon Code in the Product Description for each product.

Exercise 1

This is an example of how the shipping coupon feature in Auctiva Commerce can be used to give customers free shipping. Its purpose is for demonstration only.

Add a free shipping coupon

This exercise will create a coupon for free ground shipping for orders over 75 USD and assign it to a specific user group. Please note that we are doing this demonstration in USD. Your store may be in a different currency. We'll set the End Date for this coupon to yesterday's date so that it's ineffective. Additionally, a shipping coupon must have a Coupon Code and if you keep this Coupon Code hidden, your customers are unlikely to use it. It's a good idea to delete this coupon at the end of the exercise.

Step 1. Add a coupon.
  • Go to Marketing> Coupons.
  • Click on the Add Coupon button at the bottom of the Create and Manage Coupons page.
  • Choose Shipping Coupon from the coupon types.
  • Click on the Next button. You should now be at the Add Shipping Coupon page.
  • Name: Type "Free Ground Shipping over 75" into this field. The name field displays in the administration section only.
  • Coupon Code: Type "FREESHIP" into this field. This is the code a customer will enter into the Coupon Code field at checkout to apply the coupon to their order. Sometimes it's a good idea to create a unique series of characters (e.g., "5Drt43B") to keep the coupon code safe from other users. However, we can set many limitations within a shipping coupon, so that only certain customers are eligible to use the coupon.
  • Discount Amount: Type "100" into this field. Make sure the percentage option is selected. This will discount 100 percent of the shipping charges. Using this field you can also select the Fixed Amount option if you want to offer a flat discount on the shipping charges.
  • Max Value: Type "30" into this field. This will limit the shipping coupon Discount Amount to 30 USD. This means that the amount discounted from an order's shipping charges will never be over 30 USD. If an order's shipping charge is over the Max Value, the remaining charge will be paid by the customer. Ultimately, this feature saves you from having to pay extremely expensive shipping charges. It's a good idea to set a Max Value whenever the Discount Amount is calculated using the Percent option.
  • Min Purchase: Type "75" into this field. This means that the shipping coupon is only eligible to customers that have orders with a value of 75 USD or greater.
  • Start Date: Leave unchecked, for demonstration purposes.
  • End Date: Check the box and choose yesterday's date. For the purpose of demonstration, we've made this coupon ineffective. When you create a working coupon, you can select a date range that is effective.
  • Uses per Customer: Type "1" into this field. This limits a customer to a single use of this coupon.
  • Max Uses: Type "100" into this field. This limits the shipping coupon to 100 total uses on the store. When you multiply the Max Uses (100) by the Max Value (30) in this demonstration, a value of 3,000 is returned. This value is the maximum discount amount possible for the shipping coupon. This means that your liability is at most 3,000 USD in shipping charges. The actual figure is likely to be less than 3,000 USD, as many orders will have a shipping charge that is less than the 30 USD Max Value.
  • Allow Combine: Leave this box unchecked. This means customers cannot combine this coupon with another at checkout.
  • Shipping Methods: Select the "Valid only for selected methods" option. A list of all your store's shipping methods will appear. Remember, the purpose of this shipping coupon in this demonstration is to limit it to only ground shipping methods. You may not have a ground shipping method. You can check whatever shipping methods you'd like by checking the box next to the shipping method.
  • Groups: Select the "Selected Groups" option. A list of your user groups appears. Choose the user group that will be eligible for this shipping coupon by checking the box next to the user group. In this demonstration, the "Friends & Family" user group is checked. This is user group was created specifically to group together customers who are friends and family members. Your store will have different user groups. For the sake of the demonstration, choose whatever user group you like.
  • Click on the Next button.
  • Review the shipping coupon and click on the Save button to finish.

This free shipping coupon is now complete. It offers free ground shipping up to 30 USD to customers in the Friends & Family user group. It's limited to a single use per customer and the coupon itself can only be used 100 times on your Auctiva Commerce store. Make sure to delete this shipping coupon after completing the exercise to eliminate any chance that it could accidentally be put to use.

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