Primed to shake the voucher code market, a browser extension that alerts consumers when a deal is available for a brand whose site they are visiting has been launched in the UK.
‘Pouch’ has been created to save shoppers time and money when buying online by surfacing the best voucher codes and discounts available, eradicating the often difficult and time-consuming process of finding and redeeming codes.
The tool is now available on Chrome after a successful period of beta testing, can be downloaded for free and will display voucher codes for any of the 3,000 e-commerce websites it’s linked with, including GAP, Hungry House and Dominos.
The startup’s co-founder and marketing director, Ben Corrigan believes the tool will help fight cart abandonment - a challenge that is close to the heart of his former employers at Yieldify and SaleCyle.
There’s also reasoning for its success at a time when the nation is once again keeping an eye on their spending. Voucher code usage in the UK was said to have spiked following the recession in 2008 and Corrigan alluded to Brexit seeing a renewed focus on staying frugal.
“Voucher code redemption increased 43% in 2015, and this trend is forecast to continue as the UK continues to experience economic uncertainty.”
A new extension lands
Founded by Corrigan and entrepreneurs Jonathan Plein and Vikram Simha, Pouch has been granted acceptance onto the MassChallenge accelerator programme, which works to raise the profile and prospects of small businesses across the world.
The startup is expecting to be working with 4,000 UK retailers in the run up to Christmas, although there will always be questions from the wider performance marketing industry about its business model.
PerformanceIN readers may remember the attention attracted by Quidco’s Cashback Reminder, which encouraged buyers to claim money back on their purchases via the affiliate. This hit a nerve upon launching in 2014 after advertisers complained about auto-enrolment.
Corrigan admits the conversation around the regulation of browser extensions and plug-ins is a “contentious one”. Perhaps to protect its rep, Pouch requests permission from the advertiser and asks users for pre-defined permissions, which are also granted and controlled by Chrome.
Codes are obtained via “premium data feeds” and APIs from affiliate networks. URLs of sites are cross-referenced with the Pouch database in real time, but the company doesn’t store any personally identifiable information from the user.
As for Quidco, Corrigan believes that while the tech and its benefits had little to answer for, the group - recognised as one of the biggest success stories in UK affiliate marketing - could have better planned the launch of its tool, which hit the web in 2014 and remains active to this day.
"From what I remember, advertisers and agencies were disgruntled by the auto-enrolment of Quidco's Cashback Reminder and the difficulty in opting out.
“It caused a lot of hostility because the benefits of the tool were not clearly explained to merchants and the wider performance marketing industry.”
An inevitable action?
‘Closing loops’ is a big focus for Corrigan and the team at Pouch. Its mission is simple, in that consumers will abandon a cart in search of a code. Merchants spend money on tools like Hubspot and Yieldify to boost their conversions, which comes as a result of problems with people leaving their sites, occasionally in search of a deal.
“Having spoken to several affiliate network heads, I know that the majority of commission revenue earned by traditional voucher code websites like vouchercodes.co.uk comes from transactions from users who abandoned the merchant’s website, searched for a code, clicked on a voucher code website, and returned to the site to buy, all within 5-10 minutes,” Corrigan continues.
“All Pouch is doing is closing that loop, allowing merchants to retain control over their own user journey, and making it easier for users to redeem voucher codes.”
And if that isn’t enough, the extension will be looking to eradicate some of its early functionality with a view to making it harder to avoid putting a discount on the basket.
Pouch is set to keep growing and November will bring new features, such as 'auto-application', which will automatically apply voucher codes at checkout to get shoppers the best deals in scenarios where more than one voucher code is applicable to their basket.
The company will also add a new button next to the voucher code box across all of its retailers for a seamless user experience.
There is no doubt consumers and retailers will be watching this space with interest.
*12/10 - This article was amended to take into account factual errors presented to PerformanceIN*