By Catherine Gluckstein
Sept 3, 2012
We all know that the winter holidays are the busiest shopping period of the year and the time that retailers offer the biggest discounts, but did you know Tuesdays were the day to find the best deals?
There are many surprising, less obvious discount trends that can help small online businesses compete with the big guys.
Sliced and diced by best shopping holidays, months, regions and even age of business, this infographic insight will benefit online retailers and consumers alike.
Here are some more interesting findings:
- Major holidays like Independence Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Thanksgiving are busy shopping days and a good time to offer discounts.
- November is the busiest shopping month of the year. Use this to your advantage by offering amazing discounts and ‘gobble’ up the revenue.
- Tuesday is the busiest day of the week for discount buying. Sunday are best avoided.
- The older and more established your brand/business, the less discounts you need to offer.
- The Brits know a bargain and could teach other countries a thing or two.
- In the US, Californians win in offering the best deals. North Dakota and West Virginia have some catching up to do.
Use this information to your advantage by timing your discounts well. Customers know where and when to find the best deals!
Guest Author Catherine Gluckstein runs Business Development for SumAll, a NYC based start up. SumAll is big data for small businesses. ~ SumAll has a mission to bring the full power of business intelligence to small and medium sized companies. Today, only the largest companies have access to the kind of tools that let them leverage their data to make better decisions and more money. Our vision is to bring these tools to everyone by making data beautiful, affordable and accessible.
January 6, 2012
By the ZippyCart Content Team
There are several activities people engage in while drunk that are generally looked down upon like drunk driving, dialing or texting. However, ecommerce retailers are loving a new activity that is swiftly gaining popularity: drunk online shopping.
According to a recent study in the UK, many respondents admitted to logging into their favorite ecommerce websites and making purchases. This trend has been called “BUI” or buying under the influence. For some shoppers, late night plastered purchases result in a “Heart’s Greatest Hits” CD, like one woman confessed in Times, but sometimes they are more detrimental to one’s bank account than an unwanted addition to your music library.
For example Chris Tansey, an accountant from Australia, recalled his $10,000 drunken online shopping purchase: a motorcycle trip around New Zealand. Although the trip was fun, Tansey said in an email to the Times, “The hang-ups of spending your hard-earned cash are so far removed from your life when you’ve had a bottle of wine.”
Retailers are far from ignorant to this trend with sites like eBay and The Guilt Groupe reporting a noticeable spike in consumer purchases in the late hours of the night. eBay has the highest traffic daily between 6:30 pm and 10:30 pm in each time zone. Vice president for mobile for eBay, Steve Yankovich, commented on drinking being a possible factor for the volume of shoppers between those times:
“I mean, if you think about what most people do when they get home from work in the evening, it’s decompression time. The consumer’s in a good mood.”
Many ecommerce marketers have taken advantage of consumers late-night behaviors and have adjusted their promotions accordingly. An array of promotional emails are sent out after dinner time and well-into the night. High-end flash sale site The Gilt Groupe says it plans on adding more deals that begin at 9 pm. Although retailers will not say if they specifically target intoxicated shoppers, judging by the timing of promotional emails we can draw our own conclusions.
Additionally, mobile shopping apps and one-click checkout options that many retailers offer for convenience have contributed to the spike in Alcohol-fueled purchases. This is considered a problem to some as it is well-known that alcohol reduces working memory, which means shoppers may not have the cognitive clarity to make rational judgments and think through purchases.
However, many people don’t see BUI as a particularly concerning habit, but rather a fun game full of surprise. Many of these shoppers don’t regret their post-bar buying behaviors, but actually enjoy the surprise gifts that show up at their door several days after the fact.
Whether it is a problem or not, perhaps In Icon’s Steve Jobs action figure sales will benefit from this phenomenon.
December 22, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
The concept of linking sales to non-profits is a swiftly growing phenomenon. Websites like Nonprofitshoppingmall.com and GoodShop.com allow consumers to donate to charities through their ecommerce purchases using a click-through technology. Although these websites have been around for the past decade, their success has been limited and slow-growing. However, new ecommerce solution Sharing Spree has seen large growth in just under a years’ time with their unique twist of combining daily deals with philanthropy.
While, Nonprofitshoppingmall.com and GoodShop.com lead shoppers to external ecommerce solutions and make donations from commission, Sharing Spree takes on the Groupon and LivingSocial daily deal model. Sharing Spree offers daily deal and helps consumers give back by donating 10-15% of every sale to a school or non-profit. Just like Groupon, users find location-specific deals that are only offered for a limited time. The difference, however, is that with every consumer purchase Sharing Spree makes a donation to a charity of the shopper’s choice. The site has contracts with popular large charities like American Cancer Society and Meals of Wheels in addition to many local causes that are often overlooked when it comes to donating.
Officially launched in June 2010, Sharing Spree boasts a motto of “buying, giving and living locally.” Sharing Spree supports local communities by offering daily discounts for restaurants, spas, bars, theaters, sporting events, retails, hotels and more. Since January of this year, Sharing Spree has seen a 500% subscriber base growth, which has generated over $225,000 in donations to various non-profits and schools. consumers can decide which organizations receive their donations by simply choosing from a list on Sharing Spree’s website.
Timothy Moorehead, vice president of marketing for Sharing Spree had this to say in a recent press release about the creative ecommerce solution:
“Great causes are all around us, but the harsh economic climate during the past few years has forced many people—especially those already living on a shoestring budget—to put charitable donations at the bottom of their financial to-do list. We are thrilled to add a charitable twist to the daily deal phenomenon to help non-profits and schools boost donations.”
Although the current state of the economy has caused non-profits to suffer due to a lack of donations, the daily deal market continues to thrive. Sharing Spree has successfully leveraged the prosperous daily deal market in order to boost donations to charities and help out local communities.
Sharing Spree currently offers daily deals in Portland, Ore., Nashville, Tenn., and Birmingham, Ala. The unique ecommerce solution plans to expand their market and begin launching daily deals in other cities across the United States throughout the next year.
November 15, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Groupo the Bargain Bird is back and that can only mean one thing: It’s Grouponicus time!
For those of you who missed it last year, Grouponicus is a holiday created by daily deal site Groupon in 2010. It is symbolized by Groupo the Bargain Bird (nothing says “great holiday deals” like a dapper bird with the tail of a snake) and is described as a “brand-new, ancient wintertime holiday that’s celebrated all over the world.”
The special Grouponicus deals were only available in 15 cities in its first year, but this year the holiday deals are spreading cheer to 41 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Grouponicus officially began yesterday (11/14) and will last 7 weeks. Featured deals will focus on encouraging consumers to give the gift of experience. The Grouponicus holiday differs from regular Groupon deals by offering specials that last 3 to 5 days instead of the usual single-day deals.
There will be a variety of deals for a range of consumer budgets. Grouponicus will also launch “Epic Deals,” which will be exclusive deals that become available at unannounced times and have very limited quantities. Some of the upcoming “Epic Deals” include:
- A 3-day trip to the taping of The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s Twelve Days of Giveaways episodes with a a behind-the-scenes tour
- A package deal that includes a cooking lesson with Todd English in the kitchen of one of his New York City restaurants, a private dinner with English and your friends, and a signed copy of his book, “Cooking in Everyday English”
- Trips to various destinations across the United States, Asia and Europe with exclusive activities curated by Groupon
Other large-scale Grouponicus offerings this year include great deals on the best “local gems” such as cooking classes, concert tickets, and museum memberships and “Giftable Getaways,” which are vacations sponsored by Groupon and Expedia.
Even though this is the second annual Grouponicus promotion, Groupon’s main competitor LivingSocial has not attempted to create any type of special holiday promotion to compete. LivingSocial recently expanded into several new markets, but has not shifted its focus towards the holiday shopping season hype.
Groupon continues to hold the top-spot in daily deal ecommerce and launched an initial public offering on November 4th. Although the ecommerce solution has faced much criticism this past year, things seems to be looking up. Since the launch of its IPO, Groupon has raised around $700 million and is valued at $15 billion. The company also recently launched a high-end deals service called Groupon Reserve.
November 3, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
New collaborative ecommerce solution Giftiki is a group gift giving platform that allows friends to pool their money together to buy a friend a combined gift. Launched less than 4 weeks ago, Giftiki is in its first stage of beta but has already enjoyed more success than founder and CEO Justin Stanislaw could have expected.
Described as a hybrid between WePay, Charity:Water and KickStarter, Giftiki offers a unique approach to a many to one platform. Instead of raising funds for a charity or a project, Giftiki users contribute to raising funds for a gift.
Stanislaw was inspired to create Giftiki after his past birthday when he received several unwanted gifts and realized the large number of people who left him messages on Facebook. He came up with an idea that would enable those Facebook friends to pool money together online, which would then be gifted to an individual on their birthday (or any other occasion). The idea behind Giftiki, is that friends can pool money together for an individual and then the recipient gets to choose what gift they buy with that money.
The buying power is in the hands of the recipient, although Stanislaw mentioned the site is working on a feature that will enable friends who give money to make suggestions of what the recipient should buy. So far, Gifitiki has partnerships with 26 retailers including Starbucks, Amazon, and Sports Authority. The recipient can choose to redeem their gift in the form of a gift card or an instant ecode.
Giftiki is completely wrapped up in social media and is integrated into Facebook. Operating through Facebook Connect, Giftiki users will have access to friends’ birth dates just as they do on the social media website. Giftiki users also have personal profile pages- similar to those on Facebook- that feature a gift-o-meter which shows how many monetary donations their account has received to-date.
The start-up is working on a tool for users to tell their friends how much money they are trying to raise for a particular birthday gift, which would make the gift-o-meter increasingly helpful. They are also developing a wish list feature, which would allow users to show their friends what they would like to buy. With this feature, instead of friends as the initiators, an individual can let their friends know what they want. Stanislaw is looking forward to Giftiki creating a future of more rewarding gift-giving.
Stanislaw also sees this platform as becoming innovative for wedding gift buying. He explained how couples getting married often want a big screen television or a dining room set, but those types of items are far too expensive to add to their registry. Giftiki could help in this situation by allowing the couple’s friends to donate money towards the bigger items.
Social ecommerce solutions have been gaining popularity throughout the past year, as consumers are becoming more and more comfortable spending money on the Internet. Giftiki joins Letsgift.it, SocialGift, and thegiftsproject (acquired by eBay earlier this year) in the social gift giving market.
October 7, 2011
By The ZippyCart Content Team
If there’s one thing we know about online shoppers, it’s that they can’t pass up a great deal. This truth is validated by the ever-increasing number of people flocking to group-buy and flash sale sites. The booming industry, most often promoting daily deals to create a sense of urgency among shoppers, is experiencing huge gains in traffic and is only expected to grow for the next couple of years.
According to a study by Experian Cheetahmail, in August 2011 visits to flash sale sites in the U.S. increased 59% from those in 2010. Flash Sale sites are characterized as those featuring sales lasting 24 hours or less and include companies like Hautelook, Rue La La, Ideeli, and Guilt Groupe. These four sites all operate on a limited-time business model, featuring sales usually lasting several hours to a couple days. Flash sale sites are a niche market, with less product variety than group-buy sites like LivingSocial and Groupon, but implement the same time-frame concept to spark a sense of urgency in browsers.
A new player in this flash sale game is sneakpeeq. Launched only a few months ago in May, sneakpeeq offers a unique twist to the preexisting flash sale platform. sneakpeeq ties together elements of flash sales, gaming, and social media, creating a beautifully addictive ecommerce solution.
The company, based in San Francisco, has a partnership with Facebook’s “Lifestyle Apps” and shoppers can only access deals by signing up via Facebook Connect. Their partnership with Facebook brings social aspects into the online shopping experience. While browsing sneakpeeq’s online store, a live feed streams showing you what others have been peeqing at or purchasing. An offline shopping experience is created with this stream as users are able to see what friends and other members are shopping for in real time.
Another unique feature is that prices are not displayed next to an item. Instead, shoppers must choose to peeq at the price, which will then reveal the discounted deal. But there’s a catch- even if you like the deal price, you may want to peeq again in a few minutes because with every peeq an item receives, the more it is discounted. Shoppers are initially allowed 10 peeqs per day, so you must use them wisely.
Peeqing adds a gaming aspect as shoppers may chance missing out on an item if they opt to wait for the price to discount further. Also, adding to the gaming feel of sneakpeeq, the more you peeq, the more points you accrue and you can advance to different levels of membership. For example, 1 peeq gets 1 point and just 20 points advances users to the next level which then allows them 15 peeqs per day.
Staying true to the flash sale model, all items are only available for a limited time, so if you’re going to buy, you gotta do it quick.
As for product selection, sneakpeeq has partnerships with over 300 brands and their website offers this note:
We work with great brands, both national and boutique, and our mission is to bring you the best of lifestyle products in fashion, dining, travel, and more. Our products change every day. We all aspire to have the best and we want you to have access to these great products and experiences at great prices.
The future of sneakpeeq includes plans to release mobile apps for both Android and iOS platforms.
September 30, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Wednesday morning, daily deal site Groupon.com quietly rolled out their latest endeavor: Groupon Goods. Coming just one day after the introduction of Groupon Rewards, a customer loyalty program to officially launch next month, Groupon Goods features discounted direct buy products instead of their usual coupon deals. Unlike Groupon’s other discount offers, Groupon Goods does not feature a deal from another business.
In the company’s own (interesting choice of) words:
Groupon Goods features really good deals on great products. To get airspace on Groupon Goods, a product has to be cool enough to share and innovative enough to inspire. It also must be made of reliably bonded molecules and stardust.
Honestly, if we think a product is remarkable and we can offer a good deal on it, we’ll do so.
Groupon’s venture into the world of ecommerce came with no prior announcements, just a single email to subscribers advertising current Groupon Goods with a small header that read “Introducing Groupon Goods – Products that inspire. Deals that delight”. The site’s inaugural move into online retailing brings an explanation to why the company bought out a series of domain names tied to the words “Groupon Goods” in the past month.
Although it may be a bold move for Groupon, with 134 million email subscribers this ecommerce solution could become a huge source of revenue. It is also necessary for Groupon to move into full-blown ecommerce to compete with discount deal leader, Amazon.com.
Groupon has been forced into competition with the ecommerce solution giant after Amazon bought Woot last year and launched its own deal-of-the-day offering. In addition, Amazon has significantly helped Groupon’s main competitor, LivingSocial, by investing $175 million in the company late last year and then began offering LivingSocial-branded deals through its own offers platform, Amazon Local.
On the heels of a series of setbacks for Groupon, including cutting revenues in half- from $713.4 million in 2010 to only $312.9 million- losing their second COO in less than three years, and canceling their IPO roadshow, the introduction of Groupon Goods and Groupon Rewards seems to be a calculated attempt to attract new customers and merchants and to spark interest in its IPO. Despite the rocky road Groupon has been battling since initially filing for IPO early in the summer, the company remains a strong force in the daily deals market and shows promise with their entrance into the online retail market.
August 29, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
After just a year since its own public launch of daily deals, the social review site Yelp has raised the white flag and is the latest contender to bow out of the daily deal business competition. The announcement comes on the heels of social network giant Facebook, who will also put an end to its four-month daily deal run in the upcoming weeks after a surprisingly, underwhelming public response.
Vince Sollito, Vice President for corporate communications for Yelp had this to comment:
“Rather than offer more and more deals of inherently declining quality to more and more folks over time, we want to make sure we’re only providing good, quality opportunities,” Sollitto said. “While we think the deals business is a good one, it has never been a core focus of our offering.”
However, for two companies with an overwhelming online, social presence (not to mention rumored potential IPOs), it would seem like a natural fit for them to get into the daily deal business and thrive and succeed. With their recent move to change directions this may be an indication of the changing group-buying landscape.
Is this a market that is so inundated with daily deal sites after another, the public has lost its allure for deep discounts?
According to a recent study by daily deal aggregator Yipit, in July alone, 38 daily deal ecommerce solutions shut down, compared to 36 new sites being launched. As for the daily deal giants Groupon and LivingSocial, they both reported drops in revenue, which reveals that if the leading daily deal sites in the market are down, it can be assumed every other site is as well.
To Groupon and LivingSocial’s relief, the competition in the group-buying market may seem to be dying down, but one thing Yelp will be doing differently than Facebook is that the company won’t scrap working with local businesses altogether. There is less of a risk for Facebook to bail out on its daily deals as it was only piloted in six cities, while Yelp had launched in 20 cities this year alone. All is not lost though, while the 30-person sales staff dedicated to Yelp Deals is being disbanded with half to see to the end of the deals through, and the remaining 15 employees will move to other parts of Yelp’s workforce.
The competition to obtain the attention of local businesses still remains, however in what capacity is yet to be truly defined. It seems the consumers in this market are no longer “excited” by a deep discount because let’s face it, they are everywhere (check your email inbox now and see for yourself) and Yelp standing by quality is an honorable move. For competitors in this market, quantity seems to be the focus rather than quality. Any product or service that can get a discount will be slapped with the group-buying coupon stamp of approval. Merchants are consistently flooded with calls from daily deal sites but as the market is dictating, the demand is down, and the consumer needs to be excited again.
August 26, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Yipit.com recently compiled, analyzed and released sales and traffic data from the top Daily Deal sites for the month of July. Overall, July was not a memorable month for the daily deals industry, though there were a few clear winners. The results are not all that surprising: Groupon is on the upswing, joined by online travel sites. LivingSocial, Groupon’s nearest competitor, did not have the best July.
Based on data collected from over 650 daily deals services, Yipit found that the industry’s total revenue declined in July by 7 percent in North American cities. Despite the drop in revenue, the number of daily deals offered to consumers rose in July. The data also shows that the marketplace is becoming a bit cannibalized. In July, 38 daily deal ecommerce solutions shut down, compared to 36 new sites being launched.
In what may be the most significant news coming out of the report, travel deal sites continue to expand and chalk up great numbers month after month. New travel sites are cropping up all over, and even established booking sites are announcing new and exciting features. Travel ecommerce solutions account for six of the top 10 deals in July, and have become the third-largest daily deal category. Travel deals now account for 60 percent of the top deals and nearly 15 percent of the industry’s revenue.
As for the heavyweights- Groupon’s revenue dropped 4 percent month-over-month. This number pales in comparison to LivingSocial’s decline- a considerable 18 percent. Groupon used the relative gains for the month of July to put some more space between it and LivingSocial. The revenue of both companies declined by over 20% when comparing numbers for the first half of July to the first half of June. Groupon’s revenue in the second half July actually increased over the second half of June, while LivingSocial’s declined. Groupon generated more than twice as much gross revenue than LivingSocial. So what does all this mean? Basically, not a good month for Groupon’s closest competitor. In a month where everyone lost, LivingSocial was the weakest contender.
As a result of the slow month for LivingSocial, Groupon was able to snag some of the market share away from their competitor. So now Groupon remains atop the Daily Deal throne, representing nearly 50 percent of the total daily deal market. This number weighs in at more than twice the size of LivingSocial (21 percent), and far more than the next contender on the list, Travelzoo, currently representing a feeble 5 percent of the market.
Groupon also claimed the highest grossing individual daily deal. The Photoboom America deal generated $575,505 worth of revenue for Groupon in the top 30 North American markets. Some other interesting points: Travelzoo continued to aggressively expand its “local deals” offering. The ecommerce solution increased the number of deals offered in the top 30 North American markets by 48 percent, with a 35 percent increase in revenue month-over-month.
So where’s Google involved in all of this? Google Offers “continue to have significantly lower prices and revenue per deal than Groupon or LivingSocial deals”, according to the report. The company continues to struggle with generating significant revenue per deal, as they are the late comers to this party. Google’s daily deal ecommerce solution is also only available in limited markets. Google Offers launched in Portland, but has expanded to New York and San Francisco. As Google Offers expands to more major markets, we may see a three-pronged Daily Deal battle between Groupon, LivingSocial and Google Offers.
August 24, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Group Commerce, a New York based company that offers turn-key solutions for companies looking to offer their own daily deals, has acquired geo-location start-up Socialight. The Socialight team and technology will be put toward developing Group Commerce’s mobile strategy, Group Commerce CEO Jonty Kelt and Socialight founder Dan Melinger said. Terms of the deal are not being disclosed at this time.
Everyone has heard of daily deal sites. Groupon and LivingSocial dominate the scene, and Groupon has rapidly expanded in the past year. These ecommerce solutions rely on a customer base that they have built up from past deals to support their business. Group Commerce takes a different approach providing a “white-label” platform to let publishing brands target deals to their existing readership base. The ecommerce solution currently stands behind daily deal applications for Hearst Magazines, The New York Times, Daily Candy, Thrillist, and other smaller companies.
Kelt said: “When we saw the emergence of this group buying deals market, we were struck by how big it was so quickly, and by how perfect it was for publishers and media companies to participate in. There are three things required for success in that industry: an audience, deals and technology know-how. Publishers have audiences and sales forces to source deals, and we have the know-how and technology to stitch it all together.”
Geo-location is becoming a major source of interest for daily deal sites, as offering consumers location based deals may lead to more relevant offers, ultimately increasing the revenue generated for both the daily deal company and the stores or restaurants offering the deal. Senator Al Franken and other congressman recently unveiled a proposed law that would make it mandatory for mobile companies to inform users of what geo-location data is being gathered from their devices.
The Socialight team will work on incorporating location-aware features to Group Commerce’s mobile offerings. By focusing on combining mobile daily deals with geo-location technology, the ecommerce solution hopes that it will bring in new customers and help expand the reach of its daily deal offerings for current customers.
Group Commerce was started in 2010 by Kelt, David Rosenblatt and Andrew Glenn. All three of these entrepenuers are former Google or DoubleClick executives. The company gained early support, bringing in $18 million in venture capital to date. The ecommerce solution currently has a staff of 85 people, and is hoping to expand to 100 employees by year end.
Melinger founded Socialight in 2005. According to their website, using Socialight’s products requires no coding and is reportedly “So easy, your mom could do it!” The ecommerce solution focuses on “letting anyone build their own location-aware living map in minutes. It’s as simple as starting a blog to create apps (including for iPhone) used by local experts to capture and share real world knowledge.”
Melinger and his team are looking forward to working within a larger firm that still has a startup vibe. “When we were looking at the next steps for our company we talked to a lot of [potential buyers], both public and private,” he said. Ultimately, he decided that the idea of selling to a larger public company to “rest and vest” was unattractive. “I’m the kind of guy that can’t rest, and I just want to get to the next level. Group Commerce is a really strong startup, and I think we’re on the cusp of something really huge.”
August 11, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Have you ever seen a young child run too fast for its own body to catch up it becomes unclear whether or not he or she will take a tumble or just keep running at that momentum? It’s a strange analogy but it seems these days, the daily deals champion, Groupon is that young child/startup running/spending too quickly for its body/company to catch up it that it looks as if it’s on the verge of either falling on itself or remain running at that pace and you bet, everyone is watching for it.
Although the company has experienced immense growth since its launch in 2009, both on the domestic and international levels, with 175 North American markets and 45 countries serving up its daily deals on ecommerce solutions, growth doesn’t necessarily equate to profitability. According to an SEC filing published Wednesday (an update to its first pre-IPO filing), Groupon has reported a net loss of $102.7 million in the second quarter, a number almost tripled compared to the year before when it reported a loss of $35.9 million in 2010.
The massive Q2 loss may be a sign of growing pains because Groupon has been aggressively investing in growth. The company’s operating expenses were $830.7 million in the first half of 2011, which include $378.7 million in marketing expenses and $452.0 million in acquisition related costs (removing any shotty accounting metric or “Adjusted Consolidated Segment Operating Income”).
Groupon hired more than 1,000 employees in the 3-month period of Q2, growing to a total of 9,625 employees (4,680 are in sales) by the end of June. The company started out with only 37 employees in 2009.
Despite its losses, people are still buying Groupons, as the company had 32.5 million Groupons purchased in Q2 alone and it’s astonishing because the company’s revenue has also increased with $878.0 million for the second quarter. However, a company on the verge going public, and using millions of dollars for expansion, without having yet turn a profit may be a red flag for investors.
To touch lightly on the current state of the public markets (with one toe in hot water and a gun at bolstered at the side) the DOW isn’t doing well, which could put a kink on the scheduled upcoming IPO as venture capital investors are assessing how bad the markets are before deciding what to do with their money. It would be incredibly bold for a company to ask investors to take stake in a company that may or may not profit, as it is a gamble given the current nature of the market, this kind of move hasn’t really been seen since the dot-com era.
CEO Andrew Mason ensures the marketing costs will end after they complete their rapid expansion, which should bring a sea change to Groupon’s numbers and hopefully, bring confidence back to its investors. The company may be taking a massive net loss now to better position itself for the IPO, just how long this period will last is uncertain, but the public is eager to see how this two-year old startup will maintain its rocket momentum and translate it to dollars or is it moving too fast for its own good?
August 8, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Jonathan Stark, a programmer and entrepreneur, has decided to try a new social experiment that is circled around the take-a-penny leave-a-penny mantra. After all this talk about mobile wallets
and such we’ve seemingly forgot about the mobile Starbucks card application. This allows people to refill their cards online and have an app that shows the bar-code with the amount on it. You simply wave your phone in front of a sensor and it debits your account on the mobile ecommerce solution
Stark’s card is now open to the public to go buy yourself a coffee! The only catch is is that the card needs to be reloaded by various people. The karma-based system has hopes that people will log on to Starbuck’s ecommerce solution and reload the card after they purchase the coffee. Stark has created an API that taps in to the cards balance and automatically posts it on Twitter every minute. To use it you have to access a picture of the card on your phone, here.
The incredible amount of coverage this card has gotten is making the amount change by hundreds of dollars every 5 minutes. If the card is out of money when you go to buy your coffee you better have your actual wallet ready. To prevent that, just have your twitter app open on your phone to check the balance right before you use the card.
As I type this the card has a total of $7.53 on it. If you want to help the cause and load some money on the card through Starbuck’s ecommerce solution here’s how:
1. Visit starbucks.com/card
2. Click on the “Reload A Card” tab
3. Enter the card number visible in the picture (6061006913522430)
4. Click “Reload This Card” in the left sidebar
5. Choose a reload amount
6. Choose a payment method
The problems with this experiment are easy to spot, the free-loaders simply wont load any money on it. There have been some incredibly generous people throwing $100 on the card, but most are just taking the free coffee and running. The equation to solve this experiment is simple: the number of greedy-freeloaders > the number of generous people.
If you have the extra change to spend go ahead and load the card and hope the good-karma comes back around. The longer this experiment goes the better, who knows when the “funding” will be exhausted, but right now it’s some pretty good marketing for Starbucks.
August 3, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Google Ventures has decided to take a share in online coupon ecommerce solutions
. Today, WhaleShark Media
has announced that they received a $10 million round in funding from Google. This puts their funding total up to $133 million since inception.
The company was founded in 2009 and focuses on acquisitions. WhaleShark Media boasts quite the web portfolio – owning websites such as RetailMeNot.com, Deals.com, and CheapStingyBargains.com. These sites index a huge amount of coupons from thousands of different retailers. In fact the company, WhaleShark Media, boasts over 230 million users browsing their various websites and ecommerce solutions, with over 100,000 retailers offering coupons on the ecommerce solutions.
Google Ventures knows that online coupons and deals are in a huge upswing at the moment. Here is what they had to say on WhaleShark Media:
“WhaleShark exemplifies the key characteristics we look for in an investment — community-fueled growth and products that address a pervasive market need. For consumers, WhaleShark offers a simple way to save money online, and for retailers, a marketing vehicle to showcase discount opportunities for potential buyers. We are excited to collaborate with a company innovating in this fast-growing market.”
Another one of the company’s investors is Austin Ventures. The media group has also announced that Brian Sharples, CEO and founder of HomeAway, has joined the WhaleShark Media board of directors. Both WhaleShark and HomeAway are portfolio companies that are backed by Austin and Google Ventures.
Cotter Cunningham, chief executive and founder of WhaleShark, hopes that Sharples can help the company continue its run on acquiring good-looking, successful coupon ecommerce solutions for its portfolio:
“He’s kind of done what we’re trying to do. We’re asking him for advice around some of our acquisitions and expanding internationally.”
WhaleShark hopes to go international in the next few years, and says that they will definitely have another acquisition within the next year. Sharples has taken HomeAway public, and is in global markets throughout various countries.
Whaleshark has 75 employees and is hiring. If you look at their website, there are at least 15 new job openings that experienced persons can apply for. We’ll surely see more on this company while they continue to grow and go global.
August 2, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
More and more daily deal sites have been popping up in the the world of ecommerce solutions
. Today, Dealmap
was acquired by Google for an undisclosed amount. The website claims to have 2 million users that check the site regularly for daily deals. Dealmap currently has 450 sources from which they regularly get their daily deals. The wrinkle here is that they specify them all by location – hence the word “map.”
What differentiates Dealmap from other daily deal websites is that they do not actually negotiate the deals. Instead, it is used as a portal for users to make sure they are seeing just about every deal that is available. It works somewhat like Amazon’s daily deal ecommerce solution because they’re simply LivingSocial’s deals, but Amazon posts them. Dealmap doesn’t use just one daily deal site to pull bargains from, but over 400.
The market is incredibly flooded, but Groupon, Google, and LivingSocial are the top 3 and continue to flex their muscles through acquisition sprees. Groupon, and their impending IPO, has been a main topic of discussion in the daily deal sector of late.
The filing of their IPO paperwork has put Groupon under constant scrutiny, and even more information has popped up in the past week. The SEC has inquired with Groupon about their “interesting” accounting verbiage. Back in the 90s when the dot-com boom occurred, terms such as “eyeballs” were introduced into accounting records. This simply means users visiting a site. The commission has been strict with accounting terms since the subsequent dot-com bust.
Groupon’s accounting tactics are under scrutiny because they somehow omitted marketing from their expenses. To better understand it Ben Strubel, a portfolio manager with Strubel Investment Management, describes it for us:
“In essence Groupon is asking investors to look at their profit before any expenses. It’s not a surprise they want investors to focus on measures that don’t include expenses since their expenses have been rising.”
It will be very interesting to see what the SEC does with this, and to see where the Groupon stock will go. We’re seeing a lot of negative feedback from a powerful and very widely used company. While the daily deal sector is growing faster than anyone expected, these controversies provide some exciting drama for investors and consumers everywhere to enjoy. Don’t look on TMZ for these stories, keep it right here on the ZippyCart Blog.
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