An Ecommerce Tip from Prime Time

Did you catch the ecommerce tip on the Office last night?

Jim Halpert gave the office staff a quick update on business performance, mentioning that customers were using coupon codes online, but they were still having a problem differentiating between the letter ‘O’ and the number ’0′. (Another tricky one is the number ’1′ and the lower-case letter ‘l’.)

This is a common problem with coupon codes, especially ones that are a long string of random characters:

Customers will have more success with codes that are more intuitive (GAP20 for 20% off at the Gap, for example), but it’s best to just come up with codes that can’t be confused:

Who knew the writers of the Office were so ecommerce savvy?

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9 Responses to “An Ecommerce Tip from Prime Time”

  1. Fives, S’s, and dollar signs can also be confusing. I made that mistake with a store last year and fielded a couple of phone calls.

  2. The Office was on yesterday? Wikipedia says otherwise…

    Please tell me wikipedia is wrong?

  3. I think some merchants don’t want the discount to work :-)

  4. Hi Linda,

    Many times direct marketers want to use targeted offers rather than broadcast coupons available to anyone. They devise “single-use” offer codes to prevent abuse, and to make it hard to guess the code, but these computer generated codes can be long and confusing.

    This doesn’t have to be the case. The random code generators can and should have exclusions: A – Z, a – Z, numbers but no: “0,1,o,O,l,5,S,s,…”

    A wee bit of coding up front can save orders, improve customer satisfaction and reduce frustrated customer service calls.


  5. Good thing to know. Now I can see why they never work for me LOL

  6. Business owners that understand the psychology of coupons are generous to the *extra* customers that coupons bring.

    Those just copying the idea get all grumpy and obsessed with rules and try to find ways to not honour the coupon.

  7. Jim Halpert is the best!

    John R. Carlisle

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