Will You Honor an Expired Coupon?

If you are a B2C company that runs any type of special offers, this is a common question that many businesses will hear from prospective customers-

“Will you honor an expired coupon?”

Or some version thereof. “The deadline was yesterday, can I still take advantage?” Or “I found this old offer code and it’s not working, is there a new one I can use?”

As a marketer or small business owner, you are likely to have a quick gut reaction to these kinds of questions. And based on a number of conversations I have had, it will be either one of two responses.

#1 - No way. You missed the deadline. You pay full price. What’s the point of having deadlines if we don’t stick to them? If I make an exception for you, I’d have to make an exception for everyone. Otherwise it’s not fair. Sorry.

OR…

#2 - Absolutely. That coupon will still work, or we’ll give you a current one. Because that means a surefire sale for us. Whereas saying no might lose us a customer. So why wouldn’t we honor it?

For the longest time, I was firmly in the first group. For whatever reason, I felt strongly that giving away discounts that were not “earned” was not fair. But I see now that I was wrong.

So what if customers take advantage of you and get discounts that they would not normally be awarded? If they ask, give it to them. Because that gets you a sale you might otherwise lose.

Customers that ask for a discount are price-conscious. They will represent a small percentage of your overall customer base, who will continue to shop you as usual and “follow the rules” when it comes to offers and discounts.

If your response was closer to #2 above, good for you. If it was #1, you need to train your mind to think through this question differently.