The free custom code generator for scaling applications

Development
-
Jul 7, 2021
Jakob Shimony
Jakob Shimony
Software Engineer
5
Min to read

You can generate simple coupon codes with basic software, it’s even possible in Microsoft Excel. So then, why is it such a headache for developers?

For an in-house or low-code solution to be successful there are a number of variables you need to consider:

  • Challenges of creating huge numbers of codes dynamically or in batches
  • Workload in customizing codes for segmented audiences
  • Troubleshooting once codes are in circulation
  • Security concerns: abuse, misuse and fraud or hacking

In this article, we’ll address these topics and offer some solutions that you can implement. And we even created a free random number code generator to show you a simpler version of Talon.One's product interface.

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The pros and cons of building an in-house solution

When calculating potential return on investment for a software project you should always include both direct and indirect costs. Indirect costs include all the associated variables — and what happens after the solution is finally built. 

Writing some code to fix your most immediate promotion marketing challenges might seem appealing, but can lead to a totally new set of issues that harm your business in the long-term.

The advantages

  • You completely control the product architecture
  • Engineers can customize your code however they like
  • You have control over timelines and initial sprint planning
  • You can design solutions to meet highly specific requirements
  • You can implement requirements as and when you need them
  • You can allocate engineering resources as you see fit

The disadvantages

  • Developer and engineer time is not spent on your core product
  • Scaling your solution so it can support hundreds of requests per seconds is hard to do in-house without investing a lot of resources.
  • It can be difficult to account for future use cases
  • Your team may lack the technical and strategic expertise
  • Limited possibilities for scaling beyond the first build
  • Functionality, security and quality upgrades can be very costly
  • Constant maintenance and troubleshooting becomes expensive
  • No dedicated support, testing or QA, and documentation has to be written and updated
  • There’s always the risk that your solution won’t bring value

Building a solution in-house essentially means you have another product to manage. This usually only makes sense if you can support the project with a skilled IT team and enough resources to build a truly valuable solution. 

This can be a very costly project that leads to unpredictable expenses and internal challenges between departments — like marketers relying on developers for even the simplest campaign modifications.

Creating huge numbers of codes dynamically or in batches

One important aspect of a scalable code generator is the possibility to create large amounts of coupon codes dynamically in parallel to one another. 

For this use case you need to have a system that triggers your code generator via an API request and then automatically creates an email, SMS or push notification webhook with the generated code attached for the customer to use.   

Sometimes you need to create large batches of unique coupon or referral codes for specific target audiences. that you can then attach to a mailing group.   

Important technical considerations for creating codes at scale:

For generation:

  • Making sure there are no duplicates generated.
  • Generating and delivering codes in a reasonable amount of time.
  • Making consistently difficult-to-guess codes, and raising a red-flag when codes are too simple and a potential risk.
  • Offering flexibility in customization, like disallowed/used characters, attached custom properties or prefixes/suffixes.

For evaluation:

  • Maintaining coupon budgets (redemptions per campaign/per profile, max discount per coupon, updating cash values on gift cards).
  • Checking validity (both budget, fraud, time frame and more) in a matter of milliseconds with 10s of millions of coupons in the campaign database.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how we deal with these technical challenges with Talon.One just get in touch and we can give you a quick demonstration, or if you prefer just take a look at our API documentation to get an idea.

Want to create your own coupon, referral or free gift card codes with our random code generator? You can create as many batches as you like, simply changing the prefix or suffix. Then copy or export as a CSV file to use in your own campaigns. Try the card number generator now.

Customizing codes for segmented audiences

Custom codes are important so that they represent the campaign or messaging that you want to present. This can be something simple and generic like a 33% discount on swimwear (SUMMER33), or a branded prefix with unique codes attached for individual users like (WESHARE-H5876DcV)

You may also want to create coupon templates for each of your audiences. A simple example being Segment A receives 10% discounts, Segment B receives 20% discounts, Segment C receives 30% discounts 

Then set up conditional ‘if this then that’ statements:

If a customer doesn’t use their discount (10%), then update their current segment (A) to the next segment (B)

You can make this more granular by raising the percentage in smaller increments, or A/B testing whether customers are more responsive to percentage discounts or money-off discounts. 

Finding the perfect coupon values that are just enough to convince your customers is a great way to reduce spending on your campaigns

Controlling budgets and expenses

This is a big part of managing your coupon codes at scale. 

Once your business gets to a certain size, you need to have full control over the number of coupons you're automatically generating in campaigns, and the amount of discounts that a single campaign can give out.

Try implementing these restrictions on any campaigns that are automated: 

  • Limit overall campaign spend to a reasonable amount.
  • Set the amount of discounts given (you can even include this in your campaign incentive, ‘1000 euros in discounts left, don’t miss out!’)  
  • Limit redemptions per customer or simply set an overall redemption limit.
  • Restrict coupon redemption to geolocations (this could even be a fun challenge to get customers moving to different locations across a city)

Troubleshooting once codes are in circulation

You’ll need to have a log of all your codes that are in circulation so that if you have customers calling you with codes that aren’t working you can immediately troubleshoot. Your codes should also contain information to make them easier to locate and see what issues you’re dealing with. 

Here are the most important attributes you can connect to your coupon codes to make them easier to troubleshoot and more secure overall:  
  • The date the coupon was created
  • When the coupon expires
  • The name of the campaign the coupon was created in
  • The amount of uses allowed
  • The batch ID (if created in a batch)
  • The customer ID (if attributed to a single person)
  • Any other ID references (store location, country/city, etc.)   

Security concerns: Abuse, misuse and fraud or hacking

The bigger your business is, the bigger the losses can be if security concerns aren’t addressed early on. Mobile coupons are the most widely used coupon format. It’s predicted that by 2022 they’ll make up 80% of all coupon redemptions. However, It has been reported that coupon fraud causes losses of up to $600 million every year in the U.S. alone.

The most common issues companies have to deal with:

  • Fraudsters creating multiple accounts to avail of coupon offers — before reselling for a percentage of the cost
  • Malicious hackers brute-forcing coupon offers — there is a cottage industry in sharing pre-computed or brute-forced coupon codes for ride-hailing apps.
  • New account fraud — fraudsters avail of introductory offers before selling the account 

Ways to improve code security include: 

  • Limiting the amount of times a code can be used by individual customer accounts. (It’s important to also manage your customer accounts well to prevent multiple fraudulent accounts being created of course)
  • Setting a budget limit for the overall campaign when you are creating the codes dynamically. 
  • Assign customer IDs or device IDs to codes to clearly see which of your customers are using your codes, and also prevent code fraud.
  • Geolocation attributes limit the ability of fraudsters to target campaigns from overseas.

Summary

Before you start work on developing your own coupon software, consider how a promotion engine can offer you a full-featured experience with only minimum set-up costs.

Check out our random number code generator, for more insights into coupon tactics.


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Headless Commerce & Microservices Explained
Cover images for ebook on headless commerce & microservices
Why headless systems beat monolithic systems
Hypothetical business scenario to compare headless and monolithic systems
Four-step guide on choosing the right microservices for your business
Headless Commerce & Microservices Explained
Get Your Free eBook
Why headless systems beat monolithic systems
Hypothetical business scenario to compare headless and monolithic systems
Four-step guide on choosing the right microservices for your business
Download Your Talon.One Loyalty Playbook
Loyalty Playbook Cover
Best Practices for loyalty programs
How to gain a competitive advantage
Your definitive guide to loyal customers