CoupSmart Creates Recurring Revenue From Social Commerce

CoupSmart Creates Recurring Revenue From Social CommerceCoupSmart is a B2B startup focused on helping businesses grow and monetize their online fan base. Technology and marketing merge in this easy-to-manage social commerce platform that tracks shares and redemptions of exclusive digital offers while generating actionable customer data.

CoupSmart was founded in 2009 by CEO, Blake Shipley. Employed with one of the country’s largest retailers, Kroger, Blake gained exposure to the marketing world and saw enough opportunity there to quit his job at the height of the recent recession to venture out on his own. Blake ran CoupSmart on a shoestring budget for over a year and a half and, after finding an equally ambitious CTO, received angel funding in late 2010. CoupSmart has continuously grown since, adding incredible technological capabilities and talented employees.

The software employed at CoupSmart is all about making it easy for companies to take charge of their online marketing efforts in ways that positively (and measurably) affect the bottom line. Special offers, referrals, social gifting, and automated personalized emails are used to accomplish four things:

  • Target consumers and turn them into fans
  • Turn fans into paying customers
  • Turn paying customers into advocates for your business
  • Turn advocates into key influencers of other consumers

Study after study shows that discounts and special offers are the top reason consumers ‘like’ a business’ social media page (check out this interesting article on a recent IBM study). Because of this, we made social deals central to our approach. The cycle begins wherever the customer is, offering them an exclusive deal for ‘liking’ the company page. Once opted in to claim the deal, fans can then be targeted again based on the user data collected, and encouraged (even required) to share a deal with their online friends in order to claim it themselves. The fan then acts as an advocate for that business, adding credibility to the offer and creating a viral campaign through sharing.

CoupSmart’s setup wizard enables businesses to create coupons in minutes (our record is 62 seconds), and display them on their website, Facebook fan page, or physical location. Every detail of the coupon is under the company’s control; from what’s being discounted to the total number of times it can be printed and used. The end result is an easy-to-use platform that will directly encourage viral spreading of your company offerings.

Your time is valuable, and we don’t want you wasting it. CoupSmart’s unique technology ensures you are finding and engaging with the fans most likely to deliver high lifetime value to your business. The viewing, sharing, and printing of your special offers are good indicators of an engaged fan. Plus, the personal profile data obtained through these interactions allow you to target offers at these very fans, deepening the customer relationship and capitalizing on repeat purchases and word-of-mouth marketing.

Additionally, Many are seeing the growing potential of selling directly online through e-commerce stores. Well, CoupSmart has you covered here too. Not only can our team easily link an offer to your existing online shopping cart, we can even build you your own gift shop, allowing fans to purchase and share goods right on your Facebook page!

Data collection at the point-of-sale (POS) can be a challenge, from small business owners with a thousand things on their mind to large Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies dependent on retailer cashiers to follow steps consistently. To make this more manageable, each and every CoupSmart offer contains a unique barcode and number, which can either be entered into your system manually or scanned using our own patent-pending hardware device called CoupGear. This barcode collects redemption data to add to the detailed customer information while also protecting against fraud.

CoupSmart Creates Recurring Revenue From Social CommerceGreat pricing options are another feature of CoupSmart that attracts businesses of all sizes. We offer a basic free account to learn the ropes with if all of this social media stuff is new to you. When you’re ready to go pro, you may choose from a wide range of paid packages starting at $27 per month and continuing until you choose a completely customized, white-labeled platform. No contract is ever required, so it’s easy to fit into even the leanest of shoe-string budgets.

CoupSmart also offers an affiliate program, so if your business is making other businesses successful, we’re a great way to overachieve for your customers. If interested, please email us at [email protected]

We’re always looking to hire talented software developers and business development people, especially in the Cincinnati area (but hey, we’re a tech company, so location isn’t always a big deal). If you’re talented and want to join a dynamic team, send us an email at [email protected].

Recommendations for Other Entrepreneurs

Like every start-up business, we’ve gone through many growing pains, from figuring out how to efficiently develop software and deal with Facebook’s software issues to effectively communicating with each other.

On the development side, we use and love the Amazon cloud. It enabled us to use the tens of thousands of dollars we’d have had to spend on servers and attract talented people instead. We’d also highly recommend companies seeking to deeply integrate with Facebook (e.g. something more than having a “Like” button on your site) have an in-house person or three handle all of this work. Facebook changes their API and guidelines so often that it’s a full time job to keep up. Using a contractor for that work can lead to some expensive issues down the road.

We also make extensive use of Balsamiq ( for wire-framing. It’s not free, but it’s cheap and is a great way for our non-techie CEO to effectively communicate ideas to our extremely techie team. Google Docs and Sites are also great and free tools for tracking development and collaborating on ideas.





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