Building a solid coupon infrastructure

Robert Glazer from Acceleration Partners wrote a stellar article on how to modernize your coupon strategy. He underlines the significance of coupons as part of a digital marketing strategy and shares many invaluable insights about coupon best practices. It’s a must-read for any company that wants to launch coupon campaigns, especially through the network of coupon sites.

In this article, we’d like to decompose his advice and examine how to implement each tip from an IT perspective. Disclaimer: we’re going to use our coupon API in the proposed solutions.

Controlling coupon partners

Robert suggests being cautious when it comes to coupon partners. His advice is to regularly check if they are sticking to the agreed promotion guidelines, e.g. is the deal being displayed in the right place and at the right time. This type of monitoring is probably hard to replace with software, at least with a limited budget. But with Voucherify, you can automate at least some aspects.

(If you’re not familiar with Voucherify yet, I’d suggest reading creating advance coupon campaigns part 1 to properly grasp the idea of how it cleverly automates coupon promotions.)

Voucherify gives you the ability to control your partners in a more detailed and data-driven way.

Firstly, you can create separate coupon campaigns for each partner/marketing channel. In this way, if something good or bad happens to one of the promotions, you’ll be able to figure out the attribution right away. If you need more deals for the same partner, you can create a campaign for each deal and still group them by partner with categories. What you get is a greater level of granularity while still having a clear-cut view on individual partners.

And because each campaign can have different parameters, including discount type, expiration date, or number of possible redemptions, you can launch completely isolated experiments with each of your vendors.

Mapping different marketing channels with separate campaigns is an excellent first step towards building your monitoring infrastructure. Once you know which coupon campaign belongs to which partner/deal, you can closely observe the number of redemptions and ultimately calculate ROI.

Campaign monitoring features also let you disable any coupon with a single click when something goes wrong, e.g. your coupons are misused.

Finally, you can, in fact, make manual checking easier by using the description field; you can store any contract information which your partner has to fulfil, plus, you can paste a link to a deal page so you can check it super quickly.

It’s also worth highlighting that Voucherify can easily work with multiple vendors when it comes to separate redemption gateways. Imagine you’d like to have 3 different checkout pages handled by different vendors. You want to isolate them in a way that vendor A cannot redeem or list coupons that belong to vendor B and vice versa. With Projects and separate API keys you get it all out of the box.

Right oversight in one place

We’ve designed Voucherify in such a way that it shows which coupon campaigns work and which don’t and this is supported by hard numbers. To give you oversight of all our couponing tactics we have equipped your marketing team with:

  • Dashboard - operating on a selected timeframe and showing you several useful charts including total number of redemptions or a list of the most recent redemptions with their status. A nice quick way to get a bird’s eye overview of your deals.
  • Coupon browser -  a powerful viewer to inspect each and every coupon campaign’s performance. Thanks to extensive filtering capabilities you can list and sort coupons by:
    • Discount type,
    • Category,
    • Activity status,
    • Start date,
    • Number of redemptions.

This view also gives you the ability to manage the lifecycle of the coupon, e.g. you can see the details of every coupon code, edit its details, or even disable and delete it at any point in time.

You can learn more about the effectiveness of monitoring coupon campaigns in our articles about Redemptions tracking and calculating coupon ROI and Effortless bulk unique coupon campaigns. 

Coupon compliance monitoring

So, how do you avoid the kinds of non-permissible behavior Robert warns of? Once again, we cannot exclude manual checking completely, but here are a few mechanisms that can help you control coupon compliance with fewer clicks:

  • Failed redemptions monitoring - this section not only groups the failed redemptions, but it also shows the reason for the failure. Imagine that you’re seeing a ‘failed because the coupon has expired’ message time after time. In this case, we may suspect that one of your partners hasn’t updated your deal. What’s more, you can prevent such a situation by allowing your partner to list the up-to-date collection of coupons you want to share with them. This is easily achievable with our API.
  • Redemption limit - you can cap the redemption number when creating a campaign. In this way, you ensure that the promotion won’t kill your stock. You can also use it to increase user engagement by running promotions similar to: “$20 off for the first 200 shoppers with the code ACME2017”.
  • Real-time deactivation - Finally, in cases of fraud, you can disable a particular coupon (or the whole campaign of unique codes), so the customers won’t be able to get any discount when trying to redeem it.

And the good thing is, due to having separate campaigns, you can apply different levels of precaution for different channels.

Investing in relationships

In the next paragraph, Robert recommends creating frequent unique promotions for specific coupon sites. Coupon deal sites highly appreciate exclusive deals and they often reward such promotions with better ad placement. As you may have figured out, offering exclusive deals is available out of the box with Voucherify; it can be achieved in 2 ways:

  • Offering fixed code, public coupons with a prefix indicating a partner e.g. groupon-ACMEPROMO
  • Creating bulk unique coupons that are then pushed out to customers by your partner. This is a more secure option but it might also be trickier to distribute.

Reward scheme

The next question is how to build your reward scheme based on coupons and your marketing goals. Robert proposes a structure consisting of 3 levels: new customer acquisition, awareness, and conversion. Let’s find out how we can model this with Voucherify:

  • Conversion - this is a no-brainer. Just count the number of redemptions.
  • New customer acquisition - this one would require more time if it weren’t for Voucherify’s customer segments. With the built-in ‘new customer’ segment, you can monitor the incoming traffic. You can also build other segments with a plethora of filters.
  • Awareness - in one paragraph, Roberts suggests building a separate landing page for each deal. Along similar lines, we pass coupon codes in the URL so that you can match the pageviews count with a corresponding coupon campaign in Google Analytics or other trackers.

Having all these metrics in place, you can easily structure your commission scheme. Bear in mind that this is just one of many possible ways of performance monitoring. You can monitor more parameters (e.g. cart size) that influence the way you reward your partners. And the API-first approach lets you model even the most demanding scenarios.

Tracking results and incrementality

We hope we have convinced you that running modern coupon campaigns in the way Robert describes can be much easier with Voucherify. Building a solid coupon infrastructure that allows for multiple experiments and detailed ROI monitoring doesn’t require all those developer months anymore.

Wait, there’s more! In the second part of the article, Roberts shows you how to take your promotion tactics to the next level. Voucherify is a perfect fit too. Want to learn how? Watch out for the next post.