Understanding Coupon Codes

Over the years, online shopping has accelerated to the point where consumers are shopping more on retail sites than in-stores.


Many individuals are making most of their purchases through online sites, like Amazon and Overstock, because of the convenience they provide. Additionally, many companies, like Macy’s and H&M, try to compete with popular online marketplaces by improving their user experiences and expediting shipping. However, in order to stay relevant in the world of online sales, you absolutely need to provide coupon codes. Online coupon codes and the savings they provide are an excellent way of making sure the customer leaves happy.

What is a coupon code?

A coupon code, commonly known as a promo code, is a set of numbers and/or letters that can be entered into a code box upon checking out at your favorite store’s site. Digital coupon codes typically grant you free shipping or a percentage off of the original price of a specific product or an entire order. It just depends on the type of code on offer. In any case, a wide variety of companies, from Fashion Nova to Best Buy, have codes available to increase customer loyalty while still making money.

How do you read a coupon code?

Coupon codes generally consist of a variety of letters and/or numbers, typically in uppercase format. They may appear randomly or may spell out words that pertain to the site’s offer. For example, Frontier Airlines may have an offer where customers can save 90 percent on their next flight. The coupon code used is “SAVE90,” making it easier for customers to remember when checking out. The code also gives customers who do not know about the offer a clue as to the discount provided. In this case, shoppers know they are saving either $90 or 90 percent off their order. Meanwhile, if a code is entitled “FREESHIPPING75,” the customer knows that he or she will receive free shipping on orders over $75.

Additionally, online sites host promotional deals for celebratory months and days of the year while using code titles pertaining to the occasion. For example, cell phone case manufacturer Casetify has a code entitled “SUMMERJOY” to get consumers excited about the idea of getting a new case for the summer. Following Thanksgiving, many online store sites participate in “Cyber Monday,” known to be one of the most popular online shopping days of the year. Many online sites offer deals while using coupon codes such as “CYBERDAY20” to show that they’re participating. In these cases, coupon codes give customers even more incentive to shop online.

Where can you find coupon codes?

Many coupon codes can be located on advertisements appearing on the homepages of many company sites. Generally, the code will appear under the coupon offer’s title. For example, an Old Navy site may display “Semi-Annual Sale 40-80 Percent Off” and have a code entitled “SEMI40” directly below the title. Typically, customers will find coupon codes when visiting their favorite retail store’s site, such as EXPRESS or American Eagle. Additionally, loyal shoppers can be notified of coupon code offers by signing up for their favorite site’s newsletter or by following them on social media. Because coupon codes are promotional tools, companies will publicize their coupon codes through every marketing avenue possible.

If you want to find the best online deals and offers without a specific store in mind, use a coupon code site like RetailMeNot or CouponCabin. If you are using RetailMeNot, simply click the offer of your choice, and the site will automatically copy the code to your clipboard. The site will then directly send you to the store’s site to shop.

The following are different types of coupon codes to keep in mind.

  • Public Codes are open to the general public and can be seen and used by any customer. These codes are generally promoted to gain new customers and preserve devoted customers.
  • Private Codes are not publicized to the public. Instead, they are sent to loyal subscribers and new customers who make their first purchase.
  • Restricted Codes are granted to specific single users. Apologetic companies may send a customer a discount code if he or she received a delayed package.

How do you apply coupon codes to your purchase?

Enter your coupon code into the promotional box, and click the “apply” button. Some companies will ask for the promotional code prior to the checkout process. Other companies may ask you to enter the coupon code after entering your payment information. Once the coupon code has been accepted, the site will recalculate the price of your order based on the coupon deal. For example, if your coupon code offered $10 off your first order, you will notice a $10 deduction from your original price. If your coupon code offered free shipping, you will notice the standard shipping price has been replaced with a $0 amount.

You may be entitled to use multiple codes if the site permits, or you may be forced to choose one coupon code out of a variety. Compare and contrast how much each coupon code will save you by doing the math. You also may be able to input different codes to the promotional box to see how the original price is affected before checking out. Make sure you enter the correct coupon code of your choice before clicking the final submission button.

If you are experiencing complications when entering your code, the code may be defective. The following are common reasons why you may be having trouble entering a code:

  • Exclusion Code offers may not apply to the entire store. Make sure to place close attention on what exactly the code can be applied to before adding items to your cart. For example, you may think that the Loft is offering 20 to 40 percent off of its entire store when the offer may only pertain to formal dresses.
  • Minimum Purchase Codes can only be utilized if you meet the minimum purchase requirement. If there is free shipping offered on purchases totaling over $100, the coupon code will typically not apply to your $80 sum.
  • Expired Codes are mainly found on coupon code sites. A retail site like Macy’s will not display an offer after it has expired. However, coupon sites, like RetailMeNot and SmartSource, often maintain codes on their sites even after they have expired.

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