8.23.17 Online Savings

Keycode: A Personalized Deal Comparison Site That Improves the Shopping Experience for Consumers & Retailers

By: Jessica Sommerfield

The Crunch: With so many options for how, when, and where they can shop, consumers are becoming more selective about purchases — and savvy about comparing offers. Keycode, an early coupon publisher, has evolved into a robust comparison site featuring deals from thousands of online and offline retailers, giving customers access to the latest offers from their favorite brands. By using Keycode to personalize offers and provide access to deals close to the point of purchase, retailers can drive more conversions. Coupon codes remain an important mechanism in driving sales and customer satisfaction, which is why it’s important they work properly. As a tool that responsively maintains retailer offers, Keycode is improving the shopping experience for both consumers and retailers.

The explosion of digital channels has given consumers numerous choices for how, where, and when they shop – making them even more selective. That means online shopping often entails users browsing but not buying, or filling a virtual cart and abandoning it.

But with the timely appearance of a coupon code, those online window-shoppers can often be motivated to follow through on a purchase or sign up for a service.

“That’s why advertisers are still using coupons and promo codes. They may have to pay an affiliate or a network, but they do it because it’s closing their sale,” said Robert Russo, owner of Keycode.

Robert Russo saw the incredible potential of Keycode’s relationships with advertisers when he bought the site in 2011.

While some retailers place pop-up offers on their cart pages in an attempt to keep customers from leaving to find a discount elsewhere, Keycode has found that consumers respond better to deals presented by a third party. By working with affiliate publishers and deal sites that put their brand offers in front of the right customers at the right time, retailers improve their chances of optimizing ROI, reduce cart abandonment, and secure more return customers.

Keycode, one of the oldest coupon publishers on the web, has evolved into a leading offer comparison site. Instead of featuring ads for specific products and prices, Keycode lists up-to-the-minute coupon code deals from its extensive network of retail advertisers.

Keycode works with hundreds of online merchants and dozens of brick-and-mortar retail chains representing more than 15,000 individual stores. That reach provides consumers with reliable access to offers from top brands while helping retailers optimize those offers to complete more customer journeys.

Building on the Strength of Its Brand & Advertiser Relationships

Keycode enjoyed success as one of the internet’s longest-standing coupon sites until the first of the Google algorithm changes in the early 2000s began to affect its search engine rankings. Older websites like Keycode that didn’t allow user interaction or content sharing dropped from search engine results, and Keycode’s rankings and traffic fell. Along with these changes, bigger businesses started moving to the internet, pulling customers away from smaller e-commerce sites with less engaging formats and features.

That was the outlook for Keycode when Robert came to the site in 2011. An attorney-turned-entrepreneur, Robert found success purchasing and building businesses — especially deals sites. Robert saw an incredible amount of potential in Keycode because of its vast network of advertiser relationships.

“They had fantastic relationships, going back for years, with all the major advertisers — many of whom weren’t likely to work with the newer coupon sites,” Robert said.

The Keycode brand was appealing to Robert because of its recognizable — and marketable — web address.

As the site evolved, Robert started to rethink his intentions for Keycode because of something else it possessed: the trademark on its brand name, a term that’s interchangeable with related phrases like online coupon, online promo code, and offer code.

“It’s a trademark that allows us to say to the consumer, ‘Hey, go get yourself a Keycode,’ instead of ‘Go get a coupon,’” Robert said. “It also helped that advertisers were already using that term, so we worked with them and allowed them to use it. We thought, ‘Let’s build a brand.’”

After acquiring the site, Robert immediately boosted Keycode’s performance for advertisers and engagement with consumers by drawing traffic from his other web properties and utilizing modern content and design strategies.

Today, Keycode is not only a user-friendly site where consumers can find, compare, and personally engage with the latest brand deals; it’s also a trademarked platform that helps a vast network of online and traditional retailers cost-effectively provide their offers to a wider audience.

Responsive Monitoring & Optimization Solutions Drive Conversion

While some coupon sites charge retailers to post their offers regardless of whether they receive clicks or sales leads, Keycode invites new stores to list their offers in exchange for a few social media shout-outs. This model enables SMBs with smaller marketing budgets to take advantage of the visibility and leads a Keycode featured offer can generate.

Coupon code maintenance is another responsibility the company takes seriously, and retailers that advertise on Keycode have the assurance that their deals will be correctly displayed, promptly updated, and pulled at the right times.

“I think responsiveness is the key with advertisers. They want to make sure you’re representing their brand well, and that their purchasers aren’t getting frustrated or giving up on a sale,” Robert said. “We have someone monitoring our communication with our advertising partners 18 hours a day to make sure we’re constantly up to date.”

“We license the term Keycode for advertisers to use on their cart page, and we enhance their conversion rate through a handshake interface with Keycode. It provides the visitor with the current promos and coupons for that site rather than making the user leave the cart page and go somewhere else to look for them.” — Robert Russo, Owner of Keycode

One of the ways Keycode moves beyond the role of a deal publisher to an active affiliate marketer for its merchants is through the Keycode Optimization Program — or KOP.

“We license the term ‘Keycode’ for program advertisers to use on their cart pages, and we enhance their conversion rate through a handshake interface with Keycode,” Robert said. “That provides the visitor with the current promos and coupons for that site rather than making the user leave the cart page and go somewhere else to look for them.”

Keycode team members work directly with retailers in the Keycode Optimization Program to monitor the performance of offers in regards to conversion rates, customer satisfaction, and sales revenue. Because affiliate marketing commissions are based on sales versus views or clicks, retailers know they’re spending their marketing dollars on measurable results.

By helping advertisers stretch their marketing budgets and optimize their offers, Keycode maintains the strength of its advertiser relationships and provides the greatest variety of top deals for its consumers.

Verified Offers Help Consumers Make Timely Buying Decisions

Just as a timely coupon code can motivate a customer to follow through with a purchase, a coupon code that’s faulty or isn’t removed from circulation when it expires can lead customers to abandon a cart and take their business elsewhere.

Helping customers and retailers avoid this frustration is another benefit of Keycode’s proactive diligence.

“We’ve learned from our partners that one of the most frustrating experiences is when a consumer tries to use an offer, and it doesn’t work,” said Robert. “We ensure that all of the offers we post on Keycode are viable.”

Keycode highlights coupon codes in three categories — expiring, hottest, and newest — to keep consumers up to date.

Deals on Keycode are updated regularly and categorized for consumers into three listings: expiring codes, hottest codes, and newest codes. The site makes clear that the newest coupons may be only a few seconds old while expiring coupons usually have less than 24 hours remaining.

This system makes it easy for consumers to make time-conscious decisions about purchases they’re considering, as well as plan ahead if they find newer deals. For users who prefer to be contacted directly with relevant codes, Keycode also offers an email subscription service.

Capitalizing on Machine Learning Technology to Personalize Deals

Keycode’s large network of retailers and volume of consumer traffic testify to its success as a coupon publisher and offer comparison site. As it strives to provide trusted, customized service to its merchants and users, Keycode is also looking to the future of personalization through heightened technology.

“We’ve been working with a company that specializes in machine learning and AI protocols. We’re in the process of testing and implementing features that will automatically display customized offers for our visitors,” Robert said. “I think with the sophistication of machine learning and the ability to place offers in front of users, sites that deliver what the consumer is looking for are going to have a leg up in the next wave of online business.”

Consumer demand for more personalization and timely offers continues to change the way retailers target and convert customers, but coupon codes remain a reliable strategy.

Keycode helps merchants optimize offers for conversion while providing deal comparisons to help consumers make informed shopping choices. And the site is meeting the demands of both.

About The Author

Jessica Sommerfield is a contributing writer for DealCrunch with over seven years of experience with online publications in the personal finance sector and other consumer-focused niches. Her 13 years of experience in brick-and-mortar stores prior to her writing career have also given her an insider’s perspective on the unique challenges that the retail industry faces.

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