Looking forward…

We’ve had a good rest over summer, and didn’t end up doing too much in January due to some enthralling tennis and great weather, but now it’s time to get back to work.

This week started off with the great news that Telsyte named Scoopon Australia’s market leader in the group buying space for 2011. (Telsyte is the voice of the industry and that’s what their numbers say.) Sister site, Grocery Run is also leading the online supermarket space. This means our grocery site gets more traffic than any other in the country – even head-to-head with major grocery sites, Coles and Woolworths. And just to complete the trifecta, CatchOfTheDay is Australia’s #1 shopping site… but I think we’ve said enough about that already.

This is mind boggling for a company that is far from being a household name. So why do our three sites lead the market, and how do we do it without any advertising money? At CatchOfTheDay, we don’t spend any money on buying Google AdWords, we don’t buy banners on other people’s sites, we – quite simply – don’t spend any money on advertising! We realised that nothing brings more visitors to our site than great deals, and that’s where we’ve focused our efforts.

Over the last five and a half years, we have proved that we have sites worth watching. Although not everything will be to your liking every day, a 10-second daily visit can surprise you and help you keep extra bucks in your wallet. (By the way, have you seen this iPhone case with a built-in wallet here? Oh NO! You can’t buy it anymore! That was Saturday’s Catch.)

We were built click-by-click, one member at a time. It took us 18 months over 2006 and 2007 to reach 100,000 members. Now we have more than 1.5 million members across our three sites. Every person that shops at our sites is doing it because someone recommended us. Nothing beats word-of-mouth!

A lot of newcomers are entering the online space and building shopping sites after hearing that consumers are constantly heading online to shop. For a site to be successful, you need three things: lots of traffic, top deals and great systems to back it all up!

Traffic: Some of these newcomers are spending millions buying memberships. I spend half of my day on soccer websites and it’s really amusing to see banners popping up non-stop while I check on the latest in the soccer world, offering me ‘sushi in Prahran?’ or a ‘massage in Guatemala?’. Sure, you can get members to join a site with exuberant promises, but at the end of the day, it isn’t promises that keep people coming back.

In regards to traffic, we are nailing it. More than 200,000 unique visitors check us out everyday because they want to see the latest offer from a company they trust.

The best deals: I keep saying that online shoppers are extremely intelligent. Let’s be honest, you have to be an idiot to pay more if you can pay less. Our customers Google our deals and buy accordingly, and for that reason, we will never place something on CatchOfTheDay unless it is Australia’s cheapest price. In many cases, you will find that we sell at the best prices in the world. Don’t believe me? Google it.

Systems and operations: It seems like a simple business but we have 300 ants running around like crazy all over the country, making sure that everything works properly and runs smoothly on our sites. We deal with millions of issues and obstacles related to our growth every day of the week. One thing that works to our advantage is experience. New companies that launch today are making the same mistakes that we made five years ago – you get the point! Nothing beats experience, and we are by far the leaders in a very fast-growing space.

So here’s to another year of proving to everyone that retail isn’t dead, of taking on the big boys, and of giving you Australia’s best deals!