Weight-loss food brand Atkins offers a salute to military members with a coupon code, but the e-retailer wants to ensure the right consumers receive the discount.

Atkins Nutritional Inc. wanted to beef up the promotions it offers veterans, active military members and first responders.

The weight-loss foods e-retailer learned, however that verifying if a shopper meets this criteria can be difficult, says Nicole Thompson, director of digital marketing at Atkins.

“We had conversations about trying to build [a verification system] ourselves for a couple months, and we figured out this is more technical and complicated,” Thompson says. Atkins didn’t have databases with shoppers’ active military titles or statuses, but such information exists, so the company started looking for help.

Atkins chose verification technology vendor SheerID because it could tap into an active military database and quickly verify if a shopper qualified for the discount. Atkins launched the feature on Veteran’s Day (Nov. 11) and notified its 5 million email subscribers about it, Thompson says.

Here’s how it works: Near the top of the Atkins e-commerce site, shop.atkins.com, the e-retailer has a hyperlinked promotion, “Military Veteran, Service Member, or First Responder – Receive 15% Off Bars & Shakes Every Day!” When a consumer taps the link, she is taken to a SheerID page where she enters her name, email address, branch of service, birthday, military status and exit date, if applicable.

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Once she hits “verify and continue” she sees a message telling her she will soon receive a coupon code in her inbox. If the shopper’s information doesn’t match SheerID’s database, she will be asked for additional information, such as uploading a paycheck stub. The email will arrive instantly or in less than five minutes, depending on if SheerID needs additional information, the vendor says. The email from SheerID contains a link back to Atkins’ e-commerce page and a coupon code unique to the consumer that she can use indefinitely. About 37% of consumers who apply for the Atkins coupon are denied, SheerID says.

Although consumers leave the Atkins shopping page to apply for the coupon code, Thompson says she doesn’t worry about consumers abandoning the shopping page. 63% of consumers who visit the program landing page apply for the code. In the four months since offering the coupon, 30% of shoppers who received the coupon code have redeemed it, she says.

It took the retailer about two months to integrate with SheerID, which involved adding SheerID’s code to its site, adding an Application Program Interface and activating the hyperlink, Thompson says.

Atkins pays SheerID a monthly fee based on transaction volume, Thompson says. Typical pricing begins at 99 cents per verification and decreases based on volume, a SheerID spokeswoman says.

Atkins has operated its own e–commerce site for the past eight years, however, the retailer didn’t make e-commerce a priority until two or three years ago, after it started seeing an increase in sales, Thompson says. Shop.Atkins.com generates millions in sales annually, she says, though she declines to give specifics. Atkins also sells its products on Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide) and on Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s (No. 4) site, Thompson says.

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