Dealership Communication Tools

Coupons for your dealer website – Do they really work?


Sales coupons for your dealerships website have been around for some time. There are several providers that offer them as an add-on feature (edealertools, Zablo, etc.) for your existing dealership website and there are a few that incorporate coupons as a major function of their dealership website.

*Please keep in mind that I am referring to a money savings sales coupon and not a service department coupon.

So what is the purpose of a money savings sales coupon? Are they really beneficial to have? Do shoppers find them as a valuable feature of your dealerships website?

If your website has the right formula for conversion and you have the right follow-up process a coupon really necessary or are you just giving up front end gross?

I have shared my different views below;

1. Conversion – different people answer to different call the actions. Where one shopper might be triggered to “Get a quote” another shopper might be more interested to “Schedule a test drive”. The right call to actions, the better your website conversion. “Click here for a “Savings Coupon” is another call to action that could cause interest and convert that shopper into a lead.

2. Tracking – Since many dealers have separate Internet sales departments or an individual internet salesperson, we know too well that argument between the sales floor and the Internet sales department to claim the customer. If the customer has that coupon…well, 1 point for the Internet sales department and Internet Marketing.

How much persuasion can a sales coupon really have? If a shopper is on your website and does not find what they want, is it possible they could be persuaded by a coupon to give up their name, number and email? Would you give your personal information for a coupon for something you’re not interested in?

If a customer sees what they want and you have already converted the customer into a lead, then they stumble across the coupon, have you just handed over some gross that maybe you otherwise would not have had to do?

Please share;

How do you feel about sales coupons?

Are you presently using a coupon on your dealership website?

If so, how successful have you been with it, what’s your closing ratio?

Please comment and share your thoughts.

Founder of DealerRefresh - 20+ Years of dealership Sales, Management, Training, Marketing and Leadership.
I love sales coupons - yes, they do potentially lose you a bit of front end gross, but I've never seen this to be the case in practice. In practice, we close 30%+ of all customers who print out one of our sales coupons - pretty much regardless of dollar value. And our grosses on the coupon deals far exceed our normal grosses. So I'm a huge fan of coupons, even as a pop-under ( which I otherwise despise. )
From where I sit, I get to see an overview from our dealership clients. Many of them like to do new/used purchase coupons. I am all for adding as many merchandising angles to a dealership's site as possible, so that you can pique the interest of the greatest number of visitors.

A shortfall I often see, is that the offer is placed centrally as an opening pop up or pop under and is usally a small amount, and applies to any vehicle. This means the dealer settles for a weak offer that can apply to any car. For example, a $100 coupon off of a $40,000 vehicle.

In a dealership website a much more powerful couponing opportunity is at the car-by-car level, but that has to be administered at a more active level by the ISM.

Alternatively, careful data handling and pricing rules in a website could safely automate the couponing process. By strengthening the couponing angle in the advertising copy that is written into the website - to talk up the presense of the Internet coupons - you should be able to entice visitors to drill down into inventory a little further, and increase your conversion ratios by making the coupon offers in exchange for customer contact info.

At that level also, you've moved beyond the pop-up blocker situation which is probably influencing classic window popped coupons.

Excellent subject, Jeff! has been offering discout certificates for over a year now and the dealers love it. Dealers tell us that they close between 20% and 30% of these leads that come from their own website.
These leads aren't from 3rd party sites, but from your site, the one you have been marketing and optimizing (hopefully). What a great way to measure the effectiveness of your own web presence.

In fact, not only do you get the name, phone number, email address, vehicle of interest and a possible appointment time set, we also offer an extensive html followup system.

Give us a call for a free 30 day test drive. We will let you put us to the test on our nickel.

Jay Traylor
Great question, Jeff. I know that we have several dealerships using them and all of them love them, but there is one in particular that seems to be blowing away their leads per day and it's because they know their audience. They are offering a give away geared toward their market segment which is netting them on average about 10-15 leads a day. Again I know that we have all seen those generic lock in your internet savings now etc coupons, but until you know your audience and market to them correctly it's just another bell on your web site that might or might not get you a lead.
  • T
    Tom Seely
  • January 3, 2008
I first had a normal $250 off any vehicle purchase which did next to nothing but then switched it to $250 Gas Card with any vehicle purchase. Well, it made a nice difference until the sales people started cannibalizing the heck out of it. All of a sudden every person they spoke to just happened to see it online, friends, relatives, 98 year old women you name it they saw it. Plus the stigma of "Pop Ups" seems to leave a bad taste in peoples mind about our site. So in a nut shell, I'm split on the matter. Thanks Tom
I can't recall ever selling a car to someone who said it was the coupon that motivated them to get in the car and drive to the dealership. I found it was the ones that were already on their way to buy the car and taking on last look at the website before coming in decided to print it out. They were also the type to pull the coupon out after the deal had been made and demand that they get another $250 off the car. My suggestion it to put a disclaimer on the coupon, that it has to be presented first or off advertised price. As much as I despise pop-ups I do hear they generate a lot of leads. Dealers without them on their site say they want them. One thing I haven't seen is a popup specifically for new cars that advertises the manufacturers rebates or special finance rates. That doesn't cost you anything at closing.
Coupons are a waste of time and a joke. I despise them, they are a gimmick. I also get mad when I visit a site and they pop up, it is aggravating. The coupon does not guarantee a faster response nor does it really save money when you have to quote a low price anyway. The coupon just generates a lead. There are many other better ways to generate leads. How many times has a customer tried to use the coupon as an excuse to save even more money? It creates more bad then good. In order to create a lead and get a customer interested the site needs something eye catching and something unexpected. Visit or or . Now tell me what catches your attention and your eye on that site? You are on a car dealer website and you see a little creature that has nothing to do with cars. Now tell me if you naturally click on it. If you click on it you will submit a lead because curiosity will always kill the cat. Now you generate leads instead of aggravate a customer and tempt them to leave your site without contacting you.
Coupons should be easy for you to sell against and replace. I would just browse the web for anyone with a coupon and give them a call. I have one customer that has already received 90 leads this month with a closing ratio of close to 20%, I don't think you could get him to change for any reason. Why? Because for some they work and some they don't.
Just like some dealers sell Hondas and some sell Hummers, everybody likes something different. By the way, this dealer gives window tint away. Big deal, it cost them about $110 to the deal.

One other thing, for those who say that coupons cost them money when the customer throws it in at the last minute have to consider 2 things. First, they probably received training on holding back from previous experience with various sales tactics. Not dissimilar to holding back on the trade or other techniques. The other thing and the most important one is this, if you received a lead on John Doe and he walks in and you are not prepared to ask him for the coupon you got the lead from, you whiffed that ball. All you have to do is find them in your CRM before working your deal with them.

Bottom line, some like coupons some don't. Coupons work for some and not others, same with numbats. Not everyone is going to like them, that's what keeps life interesting.

By the way, I think it's a great product. Good luck with it.
Speaking from the retail sales side. Coupons are just another piece of the marketing pie. However small the increase in the sites conversion ratio is, it is better to have it than not. On the consumer side, It allows them to get that "I've got something up on people who are not clever enough to use the Internet" feeling. Bonus!
While we are dealing with items within the vicinity of Coupons for your dealer website – Do they really work? | DealerRefresh, Purchase coupons online and print them at home. Doing so can save you at least 50% on the face value of the coupons.