Magento VS. Shopify: Coupon Codes and Promotions

18 Apr 2016

The easiest and probably the most effective way for store owners looking to grow sales and increase average conversion rate is to offer different incentives. Coupon codes are surely something that your customers will appreciate, and not only because they saved money, but because of the attention given to them, making it more likely to return in future.

Buyers adore coupon codes, not only online but offline too.

We were cutting them out diligently and using them wherever offered offline, and today, they are in our Inbox, ready to be used all over the place!

Shopping online

Discount coupons

Coupons are one of the most valuable incentives out there!

They can be used for pretty much any sort of promotion you are running, as a reward for your customers that became fans on Facebook, for buying on your store for the first time, or simply because their cart has reached a certain value that you have predefined.

Bonus: Download free PDF checklist and get our in depth comparison of coupon code management in Shopify and Magento.

And according to Statista, you should never miss out on offering them on your online store.

Whether it is a free shipping coupon, new collection discount or a reward for referring your friends, there is nothing as beneficial for your online store as allowing your devoted customers to enter that magic number/letters combo while checking out.

Statista concludes and predicts:

“In 2014, 16 billion digital coupons were redeemed. This figure is projected to grow to 31 billion online coupons in 2019. Experts claim that redemption will mainly be driven by mobile coupons.”

Incentives such as coupon codes or any other kind of promotion really, are an amazing way to win over doubtful customers, encourage them to spend some more or make them come back and hit checkout with their once abandoned shopping cart.

But only with a plan that cannot fail you. Coupon codes can potentially be unpredictable, and a threat can come in many forms.

From store owners/administrators not configuring them properly to miscalculating and suffering loses.

You need a plan, but before, you need a feature.

We bring you detailed comparison between coupon related possibilities in Shopify and in Magento.

Magento discount code

Setting up coupons in Magento is closely related to setting up shopping cart price rules.

Detailed guide on how to create shopping cart price rule in Magento, as well as a step by step guide and video, can be found in our Magento Tutorials section.

That is the reason why we will only name possibilities and what sort of incentives you can give out to your customers as an out of the box feature if you are using Magento as your eCommerce platform.

Bonus: Download free PDF checklist and get our in depth comparison of coupon code management in Shopify and Magento.

Setting up coupon code in Magento for different customer groups

  • Magento allows you to set up a discount (shopping cart price rule) that can be applied to different customer groups. Simply mark them when creating the rule.
  • Magento allows you to come up with your own code name or to autogenerate one. It doesn’t seem like much, but it can be extremely beneficial in terms of marketing. Create something that is easy to remember, that reflects your brand, or simply something funny, and your customers will love it!

Setting up coupon code in Magento admin panel

  • Setting up number of uses per coupon and number of uses per customer is an out of the box feature.
  • You can also simply edit your coupon at any time.
  • Setting up from date and to date will set the time frame when your coupon code will be valid. Click on the calendar and choose springy dates!

Priority field is an important field in terms of combining coupon codes in Magento, and as such it definitely deserves special attention.

Combining discounts in Magento is possible – your customers can use one discount if they fulfil condition you have set up, but apply discount from a different code if condition responsible for that code is fulfilled.

What that has to do with priority field?

Well, in order to allow multiple coupons to be used during one checkout session, you need to set a priority for those rules.

Usually, store owners/administrators are starting from 10, and continuing with 20, 30 and so on.

Bonus: Download free PDF checklist and get our in depth comparison of coupon code management in Shopify and Magento.

The reason is simple – if you have a big volume, you might generate loads of rules, and the entire procedure is easier if you kick off from 10.

Rules will then be applied according to priority you have set up.

It is important to note however, that the sorting will be done in ascending order.

That means that the higher value is assigned to this property, the lower priority the rule will have when applied.

Take a look at how many different options you can have at your disposal:

  • if ANY or ALL conditions are met. Meaning you can choose whether customer will have to fulfil only one or every condition that you have assigned to a particular rule.
  • another thing you have to decide upon is whether you want it set up to TRUE or FALSE.

Setting up shopping cart price rule

In short: if you wish to add rule that allows customer to obtain discount based on subtotal in cart for example, you will have the option to narrow it down by determining whether the quantity will be:

  • is
  • is not
  • equals or greater than
  • equals or less than
  • greater than
  • less than
  • is one of
  • is not one of

Meaning – you can go wild with your combinations. Clicking three dots (…) will let you enter your amount.

Same goes with setting up any other condition.

Bonus: Download free PDF checklist and get our in depth comparison of coupon code management in Shopify and Magento.

Adding conditions to shopping cart price rule in Magento

Of course, you can continue adding Actions and determine whether you will have dollar value or percentage, you can set up whether is it possible to set up coupon code to be used for shipping and in which circumstances, set up Buy X get Y rule and stop further rule processing at any point.

Shopify Coupon Codes

Discount codes are available in Shopify, as an out of the box feature.

Similar to Magento, in Shopify you can:

  • add discounts that will reduce product price for a percentage value or a dollar value
  • set start and end date
  • limit usage of coupon per customer
  • create coupon codes for specific customer groups

Creating Coupon Code in Shopify

Downside of creating coupons in Shopify is that you cannot make a mistake.

Shopify doesn’t allow you to edit coupons, so you will have to be extra careful when setting them up.

“At this time, you can’t edit a discount. If you want to make changes, you must delete the discount and recreate it. Keep in mind that all your reporting for this discount will then disappear.”

Same page suggests that customers shopping on your Shopify hosted store will not be able to stack coupons.

Here it is:

“Keep in mind, your customers cannot “stack” discounts. If you have a 10% off discount, they can’t also use a “free shipping” coupon. Only one discount at a time will be valid.”

And according to this thread, it will not be available to store owners any time soon.

It appears that one of the major issues Shopify users are facing is the fact that coupon codes and price reduction happens after the customer enters billing information.

And it is bad for many reasons. Kissmetrics writes about it in their “6 Common Checkout Mistakes” and emphasize that online store owners need to…

“(…)minimize distractions and keep your shopper focused on the checkout process at hand. The last place you want them to go is Google, where they’ll get distracted, or worse, go to a different store with the same product.”

However, it seems like it will not become reality any time soon according to this topic on Shopify’s forum dating from 2013.

Another potential difficulty for store owners relying on Shopify is that they are not able to prevent using coupon code on a product that already has reduced price.

Bonus: Download free PDF checklist and get our in depth comparison of coupon code management in Shopify and Magento.

That means that if you have several products in one collection that are already on sale, and you create coupon code that will give 10% off on products from that same collection, your customer will have the possibility to double the discount which is not ideal for many store owners out there, online or offline.


Well, to be honest, out of all blog posts from Shopify vs. Magento series, this one was the easiest to decide upon.

It seems that managing coupons in Shopify requires a lot of reading, researching and brainstorming before venturing into it.

Basic functionalities are definitely present and unless you have bigger expectations, they will prove to be just right.

If you expect to be able to edit your coupons, offer them combined with other discounts, exclude certain product from being eligible for a discount, or offer special wholesale price, you will not be satisfied.

Remember, explore all of your options, be extremely detail oriented, and search for a perfect fit until you find one.

This is where we will end our Magento vs. Shopify series.

We tried to be unbiased and help you choose eCommerce platform that will suit your business perfectly.

Numerous features that will make your day to day online store management easier, your buyer’s experience more personalised and your product true star of the show, are offered in Magento without the need to implement third party solutions.

Managing your online store in Shopify is visually more satisfying and most certainly easier.

Still, lack of basic functionalities means that you will have to invest more in apps and spend more altogether.

Inevitable headaches when trying to edit your coupon codes, or trying to add different prices for different customer groups, will come for free.

Whatever you choose, remember that the platform you choose will be skin and bone of, not only your online shop, but more importantly, your online business.

And that is something that is not worth risking. Choose carefully and, whatever you do, dedicate yourself entirely to your online store.

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