The Crunch: Retailers often use unique, time-sensitive discount codes to deliver deals to individual shoppers, but the process can be time-consuming and ineffective. Coupon Carrier alleviates that friction by integrating with popular email marketing and e-commerce platforms to automate the delivery of unique codes. While generic promo codes are an effective way to boost conversions — especially when they go viral — they work best when targeting a subscriber’s interest. Coupon Carrier allows retailers to broaden their promotional strategies by distributing exclusive offers and deep discounts to specific groups of customers based on actions they take.
Early in 2015, when a few retailers wanted to use MailChimp’s powerful email platform to send unique coupon codes to new subscribers, a team of developers saw an opportunity — and began working on a solution. What emerged from that software consulting team’s efforts was Coupon Carrier, a web service that automates discount and promo code delivery.
At that time, there was no easy way to do that. “So we spent a few days creating the first version of Coupon Carrier,” said developer Jonas Hickisch of Ivory Consulting AB, which operates Coupon Carrier. “Within a few weeks, we already had a few customers paying for it.”
The team continued to improve the service, and an increasing number of MailChimp customers began using it. Requests for additional features started pouring in, and other companies started asking to integrate their services with Coupon Carrier. “We saw there was demand for the product,” said Jonas. So the team decided to dedicate more time to it.
In early 2017 the team began creating a more modern version of Coupon Carrier. The easy-to-use service now integrates with several popular email automation tools and two of the most widely used e-commerce platforms — Shopify and WooCommerce.
Coupon Carrier is suitable not only for small retailers looking for cost-effective strategies to ramp up their marketing but for larger businesses — even agencies or consultancies — to manage multiple promotions. To that end, Coupon Carrier also works with app integration service Zapier to support sophisticated campaigns.
The company enables retailers to respond to new subscription requests as well as a wide range of customer actions. The app lets companies direct discounts and other exclusive offers to specific customers to reward their engagement — without adversely affecting profits.
Upload Lists of Codes & Easily Distribute Them to Subscribers
Jonas explained that the basic retailer use case for Coupon Carrier involves incentivizing some form of customer behavior.
“The typical Coupon Carrier user has an e-commerce store, and they want to offer customers an incentive to join their email list,” he said.
Those retailers want each new subscriber to receive a unique discount code. To leverage the scarcity effect, it’s also common to have the code expire within a specific number of hours or days. Companies generate customized codes and upload them to Coupon Carrier; the service monitors the client’s email subscription list and sends a unique code to every new subscriber.
The service also works with another subset of users to distribute affiliate codes for Amazon.
After getting its start as an exclusive add-on for MailChimp, Coupon Carrier now integrates with four other popular bulk email products — Campaign Monitor, MailerLite, ActiveCampaign, and Drip — with additional integrations to come.
Deliver Trackable Codes in Emails or Through Redemption Links
Coupon Carrier employs two customizable configurations — Code Email and Redeem Link — to help users easily distribute codes.
Code Email — also known as the Welcome Email — works in conjunction with the user’s integrated bulk emailer to send a unique code when a predetermined action is taken.
Depending on the functionality offered by the user’s bulk email platform, emails can go out based on a selection of triggers. Clients can choose to send the emails through Coupon Carrier or their own service.
Redeem Link is a tool that users can deploy a bit more freely, Jonas said. Rather than showing a code, the email that goes out shows a custom link that’s associated with the recipient’s email address.
Jonas explained that a trackable Redeem Link can be used in most apps, and is very easy to configure and integrate.
When a recipient clicks on the link, he or she is directed to a store landing page where the code resides. The link generates the same code no matter how many times the recipient clicks it, and Coupon Carrier has a feature to make the code tamper-proof, so no one can change it to receive a new one.
“Redeem Link works great for sending out campaigns that have a limited number of codes,” Jonas said. “The first recipients who click the link will get the codes, and the others will see a customizable ‘Out of Codes’ message.”
App Integrations Help Small Businesses Streamline Marketing Efforts
Smaller retail stores use Coupon Carrier’s integration with popular e-commerce platforms Shopify and WooCommerce to optimize their marketing, while larger concerns and agencies can use the service’s integration with Zapier to efficiently manage more complex campaigns.
Coupon Carrier provides automatic code generation for Shopify and WooCommerce, so users don’t have to generate the codes in advance. The codes can be generated on-demand and also allow users to set an expiration date relative to the time it is sent out. Jonas told us that many businesses a 1-2 day expiry date.
Connecting Coupon Carrier to an e-commerce platform is as straightforward as connecting it to a bulk emailer. And both Shopify and WooCommerce can trigger Coupon Carrier into action based on shopping behaviors — including joining a mailing list or abandoning a cart at checkout.
Integration with Zapier — currently at the beta level in Coupon Carrier — enables Code Email and Redeem Link to work with the more than 750 apps supported by the e-commerce-focused automation tool, vastly expanding the options for code delivery.
Zapier’s partnerships — with companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram — enable advanced configurations and campaigns that can span several services.
“It’s something that often requires a bit more technical knowledge,” Jonas said, “but it makes our service a good fit for agencies and other developers.”
Millions of Promotional Codes Distributed for Businesses
Coupon Carrier is a service that grew out of an effort to solve a specific problem initially encountered by a team of engineers at MailChimp. More than a thousand businesses have used Coupon Carrier, and the company has delivered millions of unique discount codes.
The service’s pricing structure makes it a viable choice for a variety of use cases. A starter plan is available for smaller e-commerce stores that want to use a single email list or redemption link. Those who need to monitor multiple lists and need to deliver more codes per month can choose the professional plan. Large businesses that work with many lists can choose the agency plan to send emails at a lower cost per code.
And the site’s potential goes beyond retail.
“Since Coupon Carrier can distribute anything as long as it’s unique, there are several additional use cases for it,” Jonas said. “We’re seeing it being used not only for coupons and affiliate codes but for software keys, invite codes, unique credentials, and more.”
Coupon Carrier’s small development team is also preparing to roll out a series of improvements. First on the docket are improved customization features to allow better integration with store branding. The team is also working on building in ROI features to allow Coupon Carrier customers to monitor the effectiveness of their campaigns.
“We’ve got lots of things to be excited about, and there will be a lot of new things coming soon,” Jonas said. “What’s most important to us, though, is to always remain focused on delivering a good and consistent experience for all our customers.”