Coupons still work. Consumers may not find them as often as they used to in the Sunday paper or in magazine inserts, but this doesn’t mean that coupons are no longer popular or effective – because they still are. Just do a quick check on the Web and immediately you’ll find tens of thousands of online coupon sites – like RetailMeNot and CouponSaver – offering discounts, special deals, free shipping offers, and other similar privileges to consumers.

If, as a small business owner, online retailer, merchant, or Internet marketer, you still haven’t tried using coupons as an online sales tool, then you might want to start doing so – especially at a time when the world is still trying to recover from the financial crisis. According to recent studies, over 76 percent of the shopping population use coupons, which continue to gain such popularity that the number of people searching for them on the Web has grown to thrice as much as the actual growth of the Internet. Your competition is sure to be offering them to their customers.

Just in case you need more convincing, here are the top 9 reasons why you should use coupons for your online store.

1. Getting coupon sites to participate in your affiliate marketing program is like having your own online sales force – paid only for results.

2. Coupons make your brand and product offering more attractive. It can also help increase your conversions and sales, all while enhancing your sales structures and strategies.

3. Coupons provide an opportunity for you to sell up to even more profitable products or services. It also gives you the chance to sell related items, or items that you think customers might also like (based on their purchases).

4. Coupons let your customers enjoy the feeling or idea of getting a bargain. It rewards them for taking the time to search and shop online.

5. Contrary to the belief that they destroy brands, coupons can actually be used as a branding tool – particularly when you provide short, simple, memorable codes that have great viral potential (Ex.: NIKEWORLDCUP20OFF). They’re great for spreading the word around, without leaving plenty of room for spelling or typographical errors.

6. It’s pretty easy to add coupon functionality to your e-commerce site. Just ask your shopping cart software vendor or your Internet marketing consultants.

7. Because good offers have the potential to break routine shopping habits, coupons can entice new customers who have previously been shopping at the stores of your competitors. In the same way, coupons can bring back some of your old customers who, for one reason or another, had stopped patronizing your store.

8. You can use coupons in your pop-ups, PPC ads, landing pages, and other advertising materials to encourage positive visitor response and increase your conversions. That’s because many people will be willing to give out their E-mail addresses if they know that coupons are available for use in your store. Moreover, the promise of a bargain or a discount can really attract a shopper’s eye. With this, you can implement a more effective auto-responder series or E-mail marketing campaign, in which you instantly send out coupon codes to those who’ve provided their E-mail information.

9. Coupons – especially if you change and create new ones regularly or seasonally – can encourage repeat visits. Shoppers are always in the hunt for good bargains; by offering coupons, discounts, and other promotional offers, you’re giving them good reason to visit your store more than once.