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The Rise of Online Couponing

Ever since Coca-Cola founder and marketing genius Asa Candler introduced his first “paper tickets” in the 19th century, coupons have been a staple for merchants. Thriving across many distinct product categories, they have become standard fare for shoppers—savvy and unsophisticated alike. Coupons quickly found their way online in the early years of the web. During this time, the internet primarily served as a distribution channel for shoppers to locate and then print coupons they would later use in-store. Once e-commerce became more widespread, some opportunistic marketers developed a new, more streamlined approach: the coupon code. The advantages were clear. Rapid creation, simplified distribution, as well as improved tracking and accountability resulted in widespread adoption of codes—often supplanting their printable predecessors and rendering them obsolete. This result, a fully digital version of the coupon, has shown itself to be incredibly versatile and effective for online merchants.