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Is it possible to apply a Cart Price Rule using a Coupon to a customers cart when the cart is empty?

The reason is the following:
We’d like to apply a discount code (cart price rule) for customers who use a link which includes a coupon code to visit our shop. This works fine by using the /checkout/cart/couponPost/?coupon_code=…&return_url=/ url (returns a success message). However, the cart price rule will not be applied if the cart is empty at that point (which it will be for all first-time-visitors).

Is this a limitation of Magento, that cart price rules cannot be applied or saved on empty carts?

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I know this is an old question, but I wrote an open source module that allows you to put a coupon in the URL, and one of the features is that it will set a cookie with the coupon code and apply it automatically as soon as someone places an item in their cart.

https://github.com/crankycyclops/DiscountCodeUrl/pulls

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