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What Is a Coupon Disclaimer? How To Write, Why To Use & More

ByNitesh Chand

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Coupons are a great way to encourage customers to make a purchase. However, incomplete or missing information like how to use the coupons, which items the coupon is applicable on and what's the minimum cart value to use the coupon can lead to a bad, if not frustrating, user experience.

In the case of physical stores, you still have employees who can help the customers with these queries, but online stores use automated systems to manage these restrictions, and that too, only when the customer tries to apply the coupon code on the checkout page. This is why coupon disclaimers are of utmost importance for ecommerce businesses.

In this guide, we’ll learn all there is to know about coupon disclaimers including why they're beneficial and how to write one for your coupons and make your discount coupons more appealing and rewarding both for you and your customers.

Table of contents

What is a coupon disclaimer?

A coupon disclaimer is a set of conditions and restrictions provided with a coupon that explains how, when, and where the coupon can be used. It typically includes the expiration date, the minimum cart value, any exclusions on products or services, and if it can be combined with other offers.

Why do your coupons need disclaimers?

Coupon disclaimers are a must-have for ecommerce stores if you’re using discount coupons to increase your revenue. They are also important for legal safety, customer clarity, and handling marketing challenges. Let’s take a look at them in more detail.

  • Legal compliance and risk mitigation: Coupon disclaimers can avoid legal issues and reduce the risk of misunderstandings and prevent customers from misinterpreting the terms and conditions by stating rules on pricing and limitations clearly.
  • Clarity and transparency: Coupon disclaimers promote transparency and clarity in your marketing efforts. Customers appreciate knowing the exact terms of the coupon offer upfront, which builds trust and enhances the overall customer experience.
  • Informed decision-making: Coupon disclaimers provide important details that help can help your customers understand the offer fully before starting their purchasing journey. This allows them to make more informed choices and take rain checks.

How to write coupon disclaimers

Crafting the right coupon disclaimer is important. It takes some thought and must contain all the information that your customers would need to know. Let’s take a look at some things you should include in your coupon disclaimers.

Duration of validity

Make sure you specify when the coupon kicks off and when it says goodbye, i.e., the period within which the coupon is valid. This isn’t just about keeping things clear; it’s about adding a little urgency to nudge your customers to use the coupons and make a purchase.

Example: Valid from 7th April 2024 to 14th July 2024 at midnight.

Applicable products or services

Be clear about what’s in and what’s out. Maybe it's just for a specific range of products, or perhaps there are a couple of no-go items. Either way, let your customers know so they can shop without the guesswork. A common practice with ecommerce stores is to have a dedicated page with curated items on which a particular coupon is applicable.

Example: Coupon valid only on kitchen appliances. Excludes the 'Deluxe Cookware' range.

Minimum purchase requirements

Your coupon must also mention the minimum cart value on which the coupon would be applicable. It’s important because you wouldn’t want to give your customers a flat $125 discount with no minimum purchase, as they would buy an item for $130 and then pay $5 for it. Having a minimum spend value is a great way to bump up sales and increase the average order value.

Example: Coupon applicable on minimum purchase amount over $50.

Usage restrictions

Think about how many times you want this coupon to be applicable. Is it only applicable once, or can it be used multiple times? This helps the customers plan their purchases and make sure that they use the coupon wisely and not share the discount code with their friends.

Example: Coupon can be used twice per customer.

Customer eligibility

You must define if the coupon was custom-made for a specific customer or if it is valid for all the customers who have it. You might want to offer a coupon as a welcome gesture for a newcomer or a thank you to one of your loyal followers. It may even be valid for a specific location.

Example: Exclusive to first-time buyers residing in the U.S.

Combining with other special offers

Can this coupon be used with other discounts? Your customers will want to know if they can stack up savings by using multiple coupons that they’ve received or if they can only use one at a time.

Example: A coupon from December 2023 can be combined with other offers or discounts from 2024.

Shipping and handling policies

When it comes to online shopping, shipping can be a deal-breaker. You must let them know if the discount is going to be applicable to the shipping fees as well or just the products. It makes a difference because sometimes stores offer high shipping charges and a discount that includes the shipping fees too, would result in a better discount.

Example: Discount applies to product price only, not to shipping fees.

Inventory limitations

Define the availability of stocks on which the coupon is applicable. Is this coupon valid until the stock runs out, or is it just for the first hundred early birds? This is specifically useful when you want to clear off your dead stock or when you want to create a buzz for your newly launched product.

Example: Valid while stocks last, limited to the first 100 orders.

Minimum or maximum order quantity

You may also include a cap on the maximum or the minimum quantities that a customer can order. A minimum order quantity will help you sell more with every order and also reduce the shipping and handling costs for you. A maximum order quantity, on the other hand, will limit the maximum number of the same product that a customer can buy, making it fair for other customers and making your inventory available to more customers.

Example: Minimum order quantity of 2 items required. Maximum of 5 items per order.

Best practices for effective coupon disclaimers

Consider these best practices to ensure your coupon disclaimers are both effective and user-friendly.

  • Make the disclaimer easy to read on social media and other platforms. Use clear and simple language and avoid jargon to keep the instructions as clear as possible.
  • Make the disclaimer visually appealing. Use an attractive layout to ensure customers can easily find and read the terms. Don’t make the font too small or use a color that makes the text difficult to read.
  • Keep your disclaimers up-to-date with current laws and company policies. Regularly review and adjust them to reflect any changes in regulations or offers.
  • Educate customers about how to use the coupon best. Provide examples or scenarios to clarify the terms.
  • Gather feedback from customers about the coupons. This will help you understand what might be confusing or problematic for customers and make changes to improve clarity and effectiveness.
  • Test different versions of the disclaimer through social media posts to see which disclaimer is most effective. You can experiment with wording, placement, and design to determine what customers understand and appreciate most.
  • Create a standardized template or set of guidelines. Use this template to ensure that your message remains uniform and consistent regardless of the platform or format.
  • Work closely with legal professionals like lawyers and marketing professionals to ensure that your coupon disclaimers are fully compliant with the laws.

Examples of coupon disclaimers

1. Dipstix

Dipstix's coupon outlined the terms of the offer, including its one-time use limitation and inability to be combined with other promotions. It specified validity only at participating locations and indicated that certain restrictions might apply. The coupon was set to expire on August 31, 2021, and notably, it did not specify a minimum purchase value or any particular eligibility criteria for customers.

2. Walmart

This coupon from Walmart promoted a $20 discount on orders of $119 and above, using the provided coupon code at checkout. The sale was for a limited time, as indicated by the "4-Day SALE" banner.

3. Forever 21

The sale at Forever 21 advertised up to 70% off site-wide, exclusive to online purchases, and was available from June 29 to July 4, 2023. It detailed exclusions such as specific brands and merchandise categories, as well as gift card purchases and shipping fees. The disclaimer also reserved the company's right to alter or discontinue the promotion at any time without notice. There was no minimum purchase value mentioned.

4. Dressbarn

Dressbarn offered a coupon until April 30, 2012, which was not valid on items discounted 50% or more, previous purchases, prior layaways, fundraising items, or gift card purchases. This coupon could not be combined with other offers, coupons, or senior discounts. The promotion aimed to provide savings, excluding certain heavily discounted merchandise and specific categories.

Conclusion

In summary, writing coupon disclaimers properly and with caution is important for the success of your discount marketing strategy and for your online store. It's all about creating clear, legal, and customer-friendly offers. By following the best practices and guidelines shared in this article, you can create effective coupon disclaimers that can protect your business as well as provide your customers with a good customer experience and make your brand more trustworthy and reliable.

FAQs

The sentence of a coupon typically refers to the specific terms and conditions that govern its use.

Clearly outlining a coupon's limitations and conditions in a friendly, understandable manner is key. It helps customers know exactly what to expect, which can go a long way in preventing any mix-ups or disappointment.

It's important to frame the disclaimer in a way that maintains the coupon's appeal while setting realistic boundaries that protect the business’s interests.

It's really important to think about where and how we show those coupon disclaimers. We want to make sure they're easy to spot and understand, so our customers know what they're getting into before they buy.

What should you do next?

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