I have a beauty product that I can sell via email, but not online via a publicly accessible website (distribution channel agreement). I have a list of interested consumers.

I was wondering if I could email consumers (maybe using some email solution like MailChimp,ConstantContact, DadaMail, etc.) a marketing email that would include a unique url (unique by consumer if possible) to a store website (Magento?, Shopify? etc.) that would show them a unique store page, when they clicked links from the email - but would expire after X days or X clicks.

Basically, an email from me to the consumer starts the cycle, but instead of replying to the email with their order and payment information, they click a link that takes them to a "one time store" where they can complete their purchase. The key to making this comply with my distribution channel agreement is that "only" (for the most part) people who I email can get to the store page, and the store page itself disappears after being used or a short time later.

Anyone who would go to the homepage would see a simple signup form or some sort of splash screen. Anyone who clicked the emailed link after X number of days or clicks would be taken to the splash screen as well.

I don't know if I should be looking for ecommerce software with special features, or emailing software with special features, or a combination, or I'm headed in the wrong direction altogether and should be looking for something entirely different.

Does anybody know of something out there that does this or sort of does this? Can someone please point me in the right direction and/or suggest software for consideration?

1 Answer 1


I once set up something similar, but it required some manual work, so this is more a concept instead of a fully-fledged solution:

  1. Set up a server, e.g. a LAMP stack
  2. Set up your domain as you would normally (e.g. in /var/www/example.com)
  3. Create your shop in a directory that's hard to find by accident (e.g. /var/www/example.com/ap2omouin25adih1ahdihuhy12)
  4. For every customer, create a hardlink to the shop that contains a random part plus something to identify the expiration date, e.g. /var/www/example.com/asdpl97tq2_20151020 for an expiration date of 2015-10-20.
  5. Set up a cron job which runs daily and deletes hard links which are outdated.
  6. Set up a nice HTTP 404 error page for people who follow the link after the expiration date.

In my case, I wrote a little shell script, so I just needed to log in via SSH, run the script ./newlink and copy the generated URL.

  • Thanks, Thomas. I never did find a faster/easier/cheaper solution than your concept. As it turned out, the product that I was intending to distribute in this manner became unavailable for any online sales for commercial reasons, so I never worked on implementing your solution, but I appreciate your response.
    – yehoshuk
    Mar 20, 2016 at 21:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.