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Master vs. Unique Coupon Codes: Why You Should Switch To Unique Codes ASAP

Copy of iOS 14 Blog PostIf you have an ecommerce store, you probably have a lot of different coupon codes floating around.

Coupons for new subscribers, VIP customers, seasonal events, orders over a certain dollar amount...

You get the idea. Love them or hate them, coupons are a huge part of the ecommerce industry.

Here's the thing about coupons, though: there may not be a right way and a wrong way to offer them, but there's definitely a good way and a better way.

So whether you're revealing a coupon code in a popup "thank you" page, or sending one via email or text, you need to ask yourself: "Which type of coupon code should I use?"

Actually, you only have two options to choose from: master codes and unique codes. So what's the difference?


Master Coupon Codes vs. Unique Coupon Codes

If you're just starting out, you may not know the difference between these two coupon types.

So here's a simple breakdown of what each type of code actually means:

  • Master codes: Obviously, a master code is a coupon code that gives the customer something. Let's say it's a 10% off discount. With a master code, the same code is valid for every single customer that receives the coupon. So if the code itself is "WELCOME10," then anyone who signs up for your email list, or anyone who gets an email with that code, can use "WELCOME10" to get 10% off their purchase (think of it like a door lock that can be opened by 100 identical keys...whoever has one of the keys can get through the door, no problem).
  • Unique codes: You've probably guessed by their name that "unique codes" work quite a bit differently than master codes. With a unique code, everyone who signs up for your list or receives a promotional email gets a slightly different code. However, the code itself offers the same discount — in this case, 10% off. As an example, instead of everyone getting a "WELCOME10" code, one customer may get a "WELCOME1234" code, and another may get "WELCOME5678." Whatever the case may be, each person gets something different for his or her code (it's like a locked door with only one key - only the person that has the key can open the door).

Which Type of Coupon Code Should You Use?

Now that we have a pretty good idea of what master codes and unique codes are, the next logical question is: Which one should you use? Before we get to the answer, let's get a couple of things out of the way.

First of all, a lot of ecommerce operators worry that customers may have trouble remembering a unique code. "After all," they may say, "isn't a master code easier on the customer? They just have to plug in a simple word or phrase and bam! they get their discount."

But think about the reality of ecommerce marketing today...

Isn't it true that coupon codes are almost always sent to customers via email or text? If they forget their code, it only takes a few extra seconds to pull up their inbox or their messaging app and find it. Even (accidentally) deleted emails can be accessed within 30 days on most email clients!

Secondly, some store owners feel that it takes less work to send out one master code for everyone than it does to create a unique code for each customer.

In reality, it doesn't take that much more work. You just have to set up your unique code parameters inside Privy, and they'll work across all of your popups, emails, and text messages. And if you want to set an expiration date for your codes, you can do that, too.

You should absolutely use unique codes instead of master codes as your go-to option. Here's why we say that:

  • Even though it may be a bit harder for each customer to remember his or her unique code, no one will be able to post the code on social media or pass it over to friends and family. Since it's a unique code, it will only work for one person, for one order. That's a big win right there.
  • Since you can set unique codes to expire after a certain period of time — let's say 48 hours — there's a sense of urgency involved that's just not present with many master code promotions. And when the customer knows that the offer will expire in a couple of days, and it's just for him, he's much more likely to make a purchase.
  • With unique codes, you'll have more peace of mind compared to dealing with master codes. After all, if a master code ever "gets out into the wild," you'll probably see a dip in your profit margins (since everyone and their brother will be using the same old code to get 10% off, whether they're part of your subscriber list or not). Unique codes don't come with that risk. It's definitely something to think about.
  • As an added bonus, unique coupon codes tend to make your individual customers feel special. Using some generic coupon code is one thing; but when your customer understands that "this code is for me and me alone," it can foster a sense of brand loyalty and satisfaction.

When it's all said and done, using a master code won't kill your business. It may bring in a lot of customers.

But if you really want to maximize your profits and attract more traffic to your site, then unique codes are the way to go.

So make the switch to unique coupon codes as soon as possible.

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Written by Ben Jabbawy

Go getter and ecommerce extraordinaire Ben Jabbawy is the founder and CEO of Privy. His passion for entrepreneurship has helped him empower and inspire hundreds of thousands of small to medium sized business for nearly a decade and he's not stopping now!

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