Nov 8, 2010

Pyow! MailChimp’s Next iPhone App

pyow-splashBack when we first launched MailChimp, one of the first features our customers asked for was the ability to generate unique UPC barcodes and embed them into emails, so that they could send "e-coupons." But back then, UPC codes were difficult to create (there were no APIs) and even harder to track. I’m glad we never sunk the time and money into that.

Because now, we have QR codes. And generating QR codes is super easy. You can scan them with your iPhone, iPod touch, or just about any smartphone, and actually point users to web pages. Which is why we’re seeing QR codes pop up in so many places. Even the Dalai Lama uses them.

Factor in all the tracking we’ve built into MailChimp, plus all our built-in templates, and suddenly, creating a coupon tool for our customers is actually kind of easy. We just have to piece together all the parts. Which is exactly what our Mobile Lab did when they created "Pyow!"

Pyow! is an easy way for store owners to send QR coupons to their subscribers.


Here’s how Pyow! works.

First, you create a campaign in MailChimp that contains a discount or special offer of some sort.

Below, I’m going to just start with one of our built-in premium templates:

premium-templates-thumbs

Inside the content editor, use our new QRCOUPON merge tag:

qr-code-mergetag

Let’s break the merge tag into its parts:

  • QRCOUPON: Basically inserts the QR code image
  • The text, "$2 off any coffee drink" is a description that appears whenever you use the iPhone app to scan the QR code. You’ll see a screenshot of what I mean below. It’s only visible by the person scanning the coupon, not by the email recipient.
  • Finally, you’ll see 5:2. The "5″ is how many times the coupon can be used by that recipient. You might set a high number if you want to promote coupon sharing.  The number "2″ is for setting the size of the QR image. 1 is small, 10 is ginormous.

The email looks like this with the QR code placed:

good-coffee-email

Next, send it to your customers.

First, we recommend you replicate your customer list, then import a small list of test addresses. You’ll want to test the whole process out with your team, and maybe train your employees on using the app, practice scanning coupons, making sure you have adequate wi-fi or 3G coverage, etc.

Then, you may want to send your first coupon to a smaller segment of your list, as a test. You don’t really want to have a flood of customers swarming your store before you practice a little. Some ideas for segmenting your lists in MailChimp:

When your customers receive the coupon, they can print it out or they can just bring it in and show it to you on their smartphone.

All you have to do is open up Pyow! and scan it:

qr-capture

and Pyow! will sync with MailChimp, and tell you if it’s valid:

coffeedrink

As you can see, we’ll also show you how many uses remain.

The next time you visit MailChimp, we’ll show you how many times the coupon was "redeemed." Right now, we’re showing it as a click in your stats, just like any other click. But we plan to create a dedicated display for Pyow! stats in the near future, after we get feedback from our early adopters.

We’re putting the final touches on the app, and will be submitting it to the app store shortly. If you’d like updates, sign up for the MailChimp Mobile Lab Newsletter.