By the Data: 3 Coupon Takeaways that will Make You Money

a bunch of various paper coupons to denote mystery coupons

By now I’m sure you’ve heard — Klaviyo has supported Shopify and Magento unique coupon codes for months.

Since it’s been a few months since we released dynamic coupons, I figured I’d dive into the data to see how emails that use coupons have performed. I looked at 400 flow messages sent to 4,222,149 recipients between May 23rd and June 23rd.

When looking at that many emails, you can imagine that we found a couple interesting stats.  For example, mystery coupons had an open rate of 37.55%. Keep that in mind because we’ll talk about it later.

Let’s talk a little more about the data.

Across the board, here’s what I saw:

  • The average open rate was 36.83% (very high)
  • The average revenue per recipient was $2.25
  • The average conversion rate was 2.77%

I then took a look at the numbers by the type of flow. To make things a little easier, I broke it down by our three most popular flows: Welcome series, abandoned cart, and win-back.

Here’s what I found.

Flow type Email sent Open rate Click rate Revenue per recipient Conversion rate
Welcome series 4,168,253 37.41% 8.21% $2.54 2.79%
Abandoned cart 4,167,876 37.30% 8.15% $2.27 2.77%
Win-back 3,775,870 35.57% 7.29% $1.26 2.08%

You can see that the welcome series and abandoned cart emails performed above the average across the board. It’s no surprise that the win-back flow performed a little below the average because it’s designed to go out to inactive customers.

Based on that data, here is what I think are the 3 best takeaways.

Make a good first impression

First impressions are important. There’s no better way to make a great first impression than by offering a discount right off the bat.

As you can see from the table above, adding a coupon to your welcome series performs above average across the board. Out of the 400 flow messages, 118 used a coupon in their welcome series, receiving a 37.41% open rate and a 2.79% conversion rate.

My favorite welcome series email came from a fashion company. After signing up, they sent out an email with a 10% discount. The subject line read “Your 10% off promocode awaits…”. This email received an open rate of 71% with a $13 revenue per recipient. Now that’s a solid performing email!

So why does using a coupon in your welcome series help?

Including a coupon in your welcome series will help get your subscriber across the finish line from the very beginning.

The best way to work a coupon into your welcome series would be offering a coupon while making it time sensitive. For example, offer a discount, then send follow up emails (if they haven’t purchased) reminding your subscriber that their discount is ending soon.

If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can up the discount towards the end of the promotion. It will make a great last ditch effort.

If you’re continuing to see low engagement, I recommend checking out these 5 tips to incentivize new subscribers to purchase in your welcome series.

Include the discount in your subject lines

Including the coupon in your subject line will help you increase your open rates, giving you a better shot at bumping up those conversion rates.

6/10 of the top performing flow messages included some sort of discount in their subject line.

Out of the 400 flow messages, 177 included some sort of discount in their subject line. The results were close, but I’m sure you can guess which emails performed better.

  • With discount: 37.55%
  • Without discount: 36.44%

That’s right, the emails with the discount. The emails that contained a discount performed above average, while the ones without performed slightly below.

Now let’s break this down a little further and look at the different types of discounts by open rate.

  • Percentage discount: 36.34%
  • Dollar discount: 37.23%
  • Mystery discount: 37.55%
  • Free shipping: 29.34%
  • Free: 38.18%

The stat I found the most interesting is the mystery discount outperforming the dollar and percentage discounts. What I mean by “mystery” is when the discount is offered in the subject line but the customer doesn’t know the amount until they click. Not only did they have a high open rate, but also a very high click-rate (8.13%).

A few of my favorite subject lines include:

  1. Take a little off the top
  2. Hydrate and Save. Redeem Your 15% off
  3. We Miss You. Take 15% Off Your Next Order.

To learn more about subjects lines, check out these 5 data-backed best practices for email subject lines.

Set an expiration date

Putting a deadline on your coupon will help motivate your customers to purchase.

69 out of the 177 flow messages that included a discount in their subject line had an expiration date. Those 69 subject lines received an open rate of 37.64%, slightly higher than the average.

Now when it comes to expiration dates, I recommend putting these on abandoned carts or win-back emails. If you’re deciding to put an expiration date on your welcome series email, extend that date out a week or two and follow up when their discount is coming to an end.

When looking at timing, the data showed that a 24-hour expiration date worked the best with a 30.28% open rate.

My favorite expiration dates included:

  • Last chance Phil, your 15% discount ends TODAY
  • Phil, You have 24h to get free shipping on your order
  • Our Best Offer Expires in 24 Hours…

In summary, discounts matter

If you’re going to use a coupon, you might as well use them right.

The following takeaways will help you see the highest returns from your coupons.

Including a discount in your welcome series will put you in good terms with your new customer right from the start. There’s no better way to make a good first impression than by giving away free or discounted product.

Putting the discount in the subject line will help increase your open rate. But you don’t always have to show all your cards in the subject line, add an air of mystery to your coupon to motivate them to open.

Set an expiration date to put a little pressure on your customer to use their coupon.


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  • Hi Robert,

    Thanks for reading!

    You’re right, browse abandonment is a great way to get people to come back and purchase. It’s definitely a topic that we enjoy writing about here at Klaviyo. Here are a couple posts about browse abandonment that you might find helpful.


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