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Prepping for a Groupon Deal with Improve Photography

by Jason Unger, Founder

improve-photo-fbWe recently had the opportunity to work again with the great folks at Improve Photography (whom we previously helped develop a test community using WordPress Multisite and Buddypress) as they prepared to offer a Groupon deal for their popular photography classes.

They have seven classes, ranging from beginning photography to advanced Photoshop to the business of photography, and they were offering a unique Groupon deal: discounted pricing on sets of 1, 2 or 4 classes.

The site where they host all of the classes, Photoclasses.com, runs on WordPress and uses Premise as the e-commerce and membership engine. Premise is a powerful membership tool, but out of the box, it’s not set up to handle the type of discounted pricing we needed to implement.

There were a few kinks we had to work out, including:

  • integration of a few thousand redemption codes that buyers received from Groupon after purchase
  • allowing the codes to be used either 1, 2 or 4 times, depending on the bundle they purchased
  • ensuring that once the code is used, it couldn’t be used again

It sounds like a pretty straightforward process, but when you’re creating these types of systems, you’re always looking to make sure all of the potential holes are covered and the process goes smoothly for the buyers.

Since the guys at Improve were launching this Groupon deal in one market to test its viability and profitability, we obviously wanted to be sure they had a good experience to gauge whether or not to expand to new markets.

So here’s how we did it.

  • We needed to create a special Groupon code validation form, which checked the buyer’s redemption code against a database of codes sent to us by Groupon
  • Once the code was validated, the buyer needed to be able to register for any of the classes via Premise and set up a membership without being asked to enter any credit card information
  • After they registered for the class, the user couldn’t go back and re-use their code (unless they purchased a 2- or 4-pack bundle) or try and add another class to their membership (without paying).

We custom-coded the coupon validation process and developed a process for ensuring that each coupon code could only be used its allowed number of times.

We had a great time working on this project (our first Groupon-specific project) and helping the guys test it out. The deal’s over now, but be on the lookout as it may return soon…

About Jason Unger

Jason Unger is the Founder of Digital Ink. He built his first website on Geocities, and hasn't looked back since. Digital Ink tells stories for forward-thinking businesses, mission-driven organizations, and marketing and technology agencies in need of a creative and digital partner.

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