To Offer a Coupon or Not?

Posted on July 22, 2011 in Build Your Brand by Katie Oskin


So that’s the big question these days…do I offer any coupons to my buyers or not.  We’re going to take a serious look at coupons for your Etsy store.


– Give buyers an opportunity to feel like they are saving some money.
– Allow new buyers a welcome surprise in receiving a discount.
– Drives business oftentimes for more sales.
– Must inherently increase price to make a profit.


– Coupons often lead to an expected discount from your buyers.
– Coupons can damage your end profit margins.
– Coupons cause a lot of problems for record keeping.
– You must up the “bottom line” cost of your items.

Okay, so for a small business person like me, I think coupons are not healthy.  After realizing that I sold almost 20 items last month and cleared ONLY $11 profit, I realized it was due to offering coupons to my customers.  While $11 might seem great to some, my Etsy fees alone were almost $30, and I haven’t added any PayPal fees yet.  I do not mind offering a discount when discounts seem appropriate (multiple item purchase, etc)…however, that being said, we use a very strategic pricing guide to estimate the actual “cost” of all of our items.  Because of this, I feel that our items are priced very fairly for each and every buyer.  As judging by our profit last month, this is evidence to prove that.

So, in the end….for our small studio, coupons are NOT worth it.  We have removed all coupons from our stores EXCEPT the frequent customer coupon which is sent with every order.  We will now begin to have sales 4 times a year and offer a coupon at that time.  There will be no more “standard” coupons that we submit for BNRs, special team events, etc.

We hope that we have not offended our buyers in any manner.  However, we feel that our items are fairly priced for what you are receiving.  As for other stores, we can NOT make decisions for them regarding the use of coupons.  However, I feel that unless they have a significant markup on their items, other stores will begin to realize that coupons are not advantageous to the small business owner.

5 Comments for this entry
Whimsy Needles
August 15, 2011

>Good post, Katie. I know I have reduced my coupons and only offer them for special promos and BNRs, and repeat customers. I rather do that than over price things.

Dell Cove Spice
July 28, 2011

>I so agree with these two blogs. Katie, you nailed it. Pricing is sooooo important for small business owners!

Orchid's Orchard
July 22, 2011

>Yes of course, if I blog this with blogspot it would generate a link back to you within the blog 😀

Please take a bit of your time to follow my Twitter!/OrchidOrchard and my blog too!

Katie - ToyStoryNutty
July 22, 2011

>That would be fine, I would ask that you would provide a link back to this blog somewhere in your post please! THANKS.

Orchid's Orchard
July 22, 2011

>Katie, would you mind if I blog this and the pricing formula you mentioned in this blog on my blog with my own comments? I think you really did a good job blogging about this and I can't agree more, especially with the other pricing formula article. Thank you so much!


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