How to Block CapitalOne Shopping

by Kathleen Booth, on Sep 14, 2021 9:00:00 AM

While coupon strategies have long been a staple of both online and physical marketing, the growth of coupon extensions like Honey, and more recently the introduction of CapitalOne Shopping (formerly Wikibuy), has increased the risks of coupon fraud and improper redemption of discounts.

CapitalOne Shopping scrapes your checkout cart for any active coupons recently entered by its users, then shares them across its user base by automatically injecting them while users are completing a purchase on your site. 

This can not only hurt your overall ecommerce revenue by overextending the reach and impact of your discounting strategy, but because your scraped codes can be redeemed by anyone using these products, your marketing attribution will suffer as well.

If your ecommerce business is suffering from the wrongful redemption of coupon codes, here are some tips to help you reign in your strategy and win back control over who receives discounts and when.

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Manual Solutions

While there are software solutions that will automatically prevent CapitalOne Shopping from injecting coupon codes at checkout, you can first try these manual solutions to help tighten up your strategy and prevent codes from leaking to discount websites and extensions looking to share them across the web.


Tracking Down Errant Coupon Codes

If you are finding that your profit margins and/or discount strategy ROI are tighter than expected, it may be the result of coupon fraud.

The first thing to do is check your attribution metrics for your low volume/high discount rate codes (such as those for friends/family, military veterans, etc.) and see if they are being redeemed more than you expected, or at specific times that don’t easily correlate with your marketing activities.

CapitalOne Shopping’s algorithm is designed to weed out the best deal possible. So if it gets its hands on a code with a significantly high discount rate, it will add it to its database and quickly distribute it across its users.

If your coupon strategy revolves around shoppers taking certain actions (i.e. signing up for a newsletter, following your brand on social media, or referring a new customer) in order to qualify for discounts, maintain a list of all the shoppers who took those actions and compare it to how often the earned discount code was redeemed.

If the numbers don’t match up (or at least closely correlate), its likely that your code has been leaked to a discount website or extension and is being improperly redeemed.

Lastly, you can download CapitalOne Shopping yourself, and then visit your own website and add items to the cart.

If it activates and injects a coupon code that should not have been widely shared, your next step is to reach out to them directly.

    Ask Them To Take Codes Off Their Site

If you’ve followed any of the steps above and have discovered that your codes have leaked to CapitalOne Shopping, you can reach out and ask them to remove the coupon code from their database.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t always lead to the best results. CapitalOne Shopping’s data collection policy stipulates that users who sign up for the product are automatically consenting to sharing the codes they use with the platform. 

This is a somewhat bogus basis for consent considering the codes aren’t the users’ to share in the first place, but it is how CapitalOne and other groups justify their coupon scraping and sharing practices. As a result, they will likely refuse to take the code down because of it.

Instead, you may be asked to join their affiliate program in order to gain more granular control over the codes they share for your business. When you do this, you will in effect be agreeing to pay commissions to the group stealing and sharing your codes in the first place.

If that is the case, it might be best to invalidate the errant code entirely.

Limited Use and Unique Coupon Codes

If CapitalOne Shopping refuses to remove your codes from its database, reforming your strategy around limited use coupons and unique coupon codes may be your best bet.

Limited use coupons give you the power to do just that, limit how many times a coupon code can be redeemed before it becomes invalidated. This way you can calculate exactly how much your strategy will cut into your overall revenue and prevent the campaign from exceeding those expectations.

One drawback to this strategy is if a limited use code is somehow picked up by CapitalOne Shopping, it may be used up and invalidated before it can be redeemed by its intended audience.

Unique codes prevent the sharing of discounts entirely. Each code is unique to the customer redeeming them, and once they are redeemed they immediately invalidate themselves.

If you are on Shopify, there are a number of apps that can help create these codes for you, but it can be a burdensome process to undertake. 

Another drawback is that unique codes are not well suited for use on certain channels, like targeted ads, podcasts, or video, who’s messaging can’t be changed from user to user.

Stop Couponing Entirely

If all else fails, you can stop couponing entirely which will eliminate the problem at its inception. 

But this is undesirable as it removes an important strategy from your marketing arsenal and will limit your ability to reach new audiences and build relationships with old ones.

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Automatic Defensive Software

The fastest and simplest way to prevent coupon abuse is to employ defensive software that automatically blocks CapitalOne Shopping from executing on your site.

With cleanCART you get just that, along with helpful attribution metrics, a unique dashboard to track your campaign performance, and a motivated team eager to save you money and win back control over your marketing campaigns.

If you are interested to see how cleanCART can help improve your margins and cart completion rates, you can sign up for a free trial here.


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