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Portland startup Birth Coups turns online coupons into customer loyalty

Online coupon titans Liv­ing­So­cial and Groupon have a new a rival, a Port­land tech start­up called Birth­day Coups that boasts a dis­tinc­tive fea­ture set­ting it apart from its competitors.

Intre­pid chief tech­nol­o­gy offi­cers and busi­ness devel­op­ment asso­ciates will be intrigued by this new twist.  The firm’s unique online plat­form was built by 27-year-old Web Devel­op­er Chuck Drew, who designed it to enable coupons to be sent to cus­tomers as their birth­days approach.  It may be in the same busi­ness space as Groupon, but there all sim­i­lar­i­ties end.  Birth­day Coups promis­es to over­come the short­com­ings of the tra­di­tion­al online coupon mod­el – a fleet­ing rush of bar­gain hunters fol­lowed by a rapid tail-off in cus­tom – by attract­ing long-term, loy­al shoppers.

Loy­al­ty vs flash in the pan shopping

Busi­ness­es who sign up with Birth­day Coups will receive an online dash­board that allows them to man­age their cus­tomer birth­day list and choose which coupon types to offer.  Chief rev­enue offi­cers and prod­uct man­agers might like to take note.  Instead of a flash in the pan flur­ry of shop­ping, the startup’s tech­nol­o­gy will dri­ve sales all the year round by auto­mat­i­cal­ly send­ing coupons to cus­tomers on day one of their birth­day month.

Present­ly, busi­ness­es will need to track when cus­tomers redeem their coupons man­u­al­ly, but this will short­ly be auto­mat­ed, offer­ing enter­pris­es intel­li­gent feed­back about which coupons are per­form­ing the best.  The ser­vice is free for clients with few­er than 500 names on their mail­ing lists.  A month­ly fee of $29 is payable for mail­ing lists of between 501 and 2,500 names, ris­ing to $129 a month for com­pa­nies with lists above 2,500.

On the way up?

Although Birth­day Coups has been in beta for the last six months, it already has a dozen clients on board, three of whom are fee pay­ing.  As an online ven­ture, it’s not lim­it­ed by geog­ra­phy.  With no mar­ket­ing, it’s attract­ed a spa in South Africa and restau­rants in Texas, North Car­oli­na and Chicago.

One of its clients, a local gro­cery called Rose­mont Mar­ket and Bak­ery, says it was imme­di­ate­ly attract­ed by the firm’s loy­al­ty-build­ing focus in pref­er­ence to gen­er­at­ing a tran­sient spree of bar­gain seekers.

Co-founders Chuck Drew and Mer­ritt Carey have boot­strapped the start­up so far, but soon plan to begin look­ing for new invest­ment to scale up the firm.

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