The rise of coupon sites & how they work

With 96% of consumers saying that they’ve used a coupon in the last 12 months and over 85% of these are using coupon sites online, it begs the question – how do they work?


Coupon sites, you may have seen them before when carrying out searches online offering massive discounts at your favourite retailers. Coupon sites notoriously use direct marketing to facilitate group-buying deals and will have a deal in place with numerous merchants in order to receive a ‘kick back’. Let’s take a look at how this process works:

An offer is agreed and is advertised

Retailers will contact coupon sites with their greatest current offers and agree special ‘discount’ codes that can be applied to the customers using the coupon site. Generally, these offers are incredibly good which makes using the coupon irresistible to potential consumers.

These coupon codes are normally affiliate codes, which will produce a kick back to the coupon site when it is used by the customer, a point that I will get to shortly.

Coupon sites advertise the promotions

The coupon site will then advertise their coupons for a particular retailer through many mediums including but not limited to web searches, television, social media and varying other sources.

In fact, in the last year coupon site advertising has rocketed an astounding 135%, which pays testament to their effectiveness in the market and the buying sentiment from consumers.

Another strong marketing tool for coupon sites is actually beyond their control and that’s word of mouth. Consumers speak to other consumers about their discounts at their favourite retailers and this can also dramatically boost the popularity of a particular deal through a coupon site, which is a win-win for both consumer and coupon site alike.


From here the customer can then simply unveil the code of their choice and use it at their favourite retailer. When the code is applied (normally the retailers will have a ‘discount code’ field on checkouts) it will automatically apply the discount that the coupon site agreed with the merchant.

When a customer redeems a coupon code the coupon site will be notified by varying tracking tools and this in turn will provide a ‘kick back’ for the coupon site in question.

The Coupon Site receives its share

Finally, once the coupon code has been applied and the customer has checked out and paid fully for their product or service in question, then the coupon site will gain a percentage fee for that particular sale.

The process it seems is incredibly simple and I personally think that they’re an incredible asset to the Internet (being a penny pincher, I love a good bargain, who doesn’t?).

Beware the scams and be sure to opt for a reputable company

As with anything online there are always sites out to reap havoc instead of do good and this requires due diligence. I personally used a site recently (so can vouch for them) called and found the process simple and effective – not to mention got 50% off an Ikea order for my new home!

In a world where it seems like we all are looking for the next best bargain, I personally am for coupon sites not only for us to use on a personal basis, but I also think they’re generally good for the economy in general. If businesses can use alternate means to get offers and deals out to potential customers, why not? It only means that businesses stand to grow and with that, so does our economy.

By Jamie McKay