Everybody loves a bargain. The idea that you are getting something for free is a great feeling, and it has not lost its appeal since the idea was first floated in the late 19th century.

In 1887, Asa Chandler was struggling to sell his tonic to many people at all. He had been successful in getting the syrup into pharmacies across Atlanta but had yet to convince much of the public to try it. He came up with the idea of giving out handwritten coupons which would entitle the bearer to a glass of Coca-Cola, which at the time cost 5 cents.

Coca-Cola would “offer pharmacists two gallons of Coke syrup in return for the names and addresses of consumers who lived near that pharmacy and send the coupon to the consumer in the post. A classic new marketing strategy was born. Consumers got the voucher and decided to try it, as a result, the pharmacist kept buying the syrup. Between 1894 and 1913 it is estimated that one in nine Americans had received a free coke and the drink was available in every state by 1915.

From then, coupons took off like wildfire across the US and companies sprang up who were entirely devoted to the issuing of coupons and tracking their redemptions. The US continue to be the biggest advocates of the ‘buy one get one free’ model with ‘couponing’ websites dedicated to sharing best practice and ways of achieving the best discounts on everything from electronics to weekly shops.

But it’s not just the Americans who are obsessed with getting a deal. Coupons caught on wherever shopkeepers were selling their wares. From supermarkets to car dealers and everything in between.
So, you’ve got the channel (the pharmacy) and a great product (the Coke), you just need to get that address list of the locals and an offer that will entice them into your store.

A tried and tested way of doing this is by taking your customers’ details at the time of sale. You can then let them know when you have a sale on or advertise directly in the hope that they come back for more. Of course, a nice little sweetener to that is a discount code (for our beloved customers only of course!).

Now that we don’t need to physically print anything, the life of a coupon marketer has been made much simpler. Coupon codes can be generated instantly with smart tracking to show you who used which code, as well as what and when they purchased. The only limit is how many emails you’d like to send.

The methods may have changed but the idea has stayed the same. You’ve got a product that you believe in and one that you feel will be enjoyed, if only the end consumer took a chance. Email, despite its many ‘spammy’ associations remains one of the most effective marketing tools, especially when paired with a meaningful and valuable coupon promotion.

Imagine Mr Chandler, with a database of thousands across multiple markets and the ability to contact each one with the click of a button, each message individually personalised and in a language familiar to the recipient. I don’t think he’d be happy to accept defeat.

At Kooomo, one of our most popular features is our powerful promotions engine. We have developed a simple way to manage a huge variety of promotions, that can be assigned to any channel and any market. Find out more about what you can do with our handy tool on the platform features page.