Added Security Features Can Help Prevent Misuse of Digital Promotions
Digital promotions are an extremely valuable tool for marketers. Over 127 million adults in the United States redeemed digital coupons in 2015, and that number is expected to increase to 145.3 million by 2021. Coupons represent a fantastic opportunity for brands to attract new customers and engage current customers in new ways.
However, there are some disadvantages to the traditional model of generic coupon promotions. Every year, brands are finding that coupon fraud is becoming a more significant problem. In fact, some estimates put the loss to coupon fraud anywhere from $300 to $600 million USD per year.
With hundreds of millions of dollars lost each year in counterfeit and misuse, manufacturers and retailers must be vigilant in protecting themselves against coupon fraud. In October 2017 alone, the Coupon Information Center (CIC) registered more than 120 fraudulent coupon scams. This number, while very high, does not represent the total number of active coupon scams for the month, as some manufacturers prefer not to have counterfeit coupons listed, and because the premature disclosure of counterfeit coupons may jeopardize law enforcement investigations.
So how can a company reap the benefits of digital coupon promotions while minimizing exposure to fraud? Here are six different security features that can be added to a digital promotion to help prevent coupon fraud.
1. Single-Use Links
A digital coupon that is activated as a single-use link deactivates after the first use. This technique prevents a consumer from printing and using the same coupon multiple times themselves, or printing several and sharing them with other shoppers who have not accessed the digital link themselves.
2. Customizable Print Limits
If a promotion is intended to be shared (as with an ‘invite a friend’ offer), a digital coupon can be enhanced with customized print limits rather than as a single-use link. That way, a coupon can be used a specific number of times and cannot be mass-distributed by an individual, or used in a way other than what was initially intended.
3. Domain Security
A digital coupon that a brand distributes via a web or mobile site with domain security means that there is limited access, preventing users from sharing valid links and mass-distributing the coupon. Organizations can monitor and control the number of consumers accessing the links and avoid unrestricted forwarding of digital offers.
In some instances, optimization of a marketing promotion requires that customers in different physical locations receive different offers. For example, geo-fencing can be used to target shoppers that are already inside a store, offering enhanced discounts to current consumers based on their location.
Digital offers can be personalized, with an individualized bar code identifying a specific consumer from brand interaction through the path-to-purchase. This technique helps prevent consumers from using the same coupon multiple times, as well as preventing mass distribution of an offer that was intended as single-use. Additionally, personalization allows a company to gain valuable insight into the shopper’s journey, by providing data points that can be monitored and used for high-level data analysis.
6. Dynamic Expiration Dates
Based on its preferences, an organization can create promotional offers with dynamic expiration dates. For example, you can generate a coupon that is only good for a specific period, like a special date or event. A promotion that celebrates the week or month of a birthday, with a discounted product, is a great way to personalize an offer, while a dynamic expiration date means that the coupon is good only for the period intended.
RevTrax, a leader in personalized digital promotions, is also a leader in helping clients to prevent digital coupon fraud. The company was recently granted a patent for unique technology that verifies that web traffic to a specific digital offer is driven from an approved channel, to prevent a digital coupon from going viral, or being mass-distributed beyond the intended audience.
Learn how to get the most out of your digital Retail promotions — download the Staples case study and see smart consumer insights at work.