Greg Pringle from the Cape Breton OatCake Society There’s a new way to strategically connect with customers that gives certainty to sellers, reduced prices to consumers, and turns the process of social promotions into an addictive game that Groupon fell short on and fizzled.

Spinzo is a brilliant new startup that is now working with merchants in a way that actually helps them grow their business instead of gouging them. Started by our friend Emmanuel Elmajian, this new startup has launched with their bright new idea and a long list of features to come that will turn merchants into happy partners - quite the opposite experience many have had with Groupon and the like.

Case Study: The Cape Breton Oatcake Society

In the highlands of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia is a rich Scottish heritage complete with its own Gaelic College, Scotch Distillery (sorry, single malt whiskey), and countless kilt-wearing performers. And from this magical little piece of the world comes our friend, Greg Pringle, and his great grandmother’s mind-blowing recipe for the best oatcakes we have ever tasted.

Greg’s oatcake baking hobby turned into a little holiday season business in November 2011 when Greg decided to put a price on his wares and promote them to friends on Facebook by starting the Cape Breton Oatcake Society. Repeatedly selling out, Greg decided to explore this hobby as a long-term business idea in January 2012 and, after hearing what Emmanuel was up to with Spinzo, I introduced our two friends to each other to see how they might work together.

Today, after his première earlier this month, Greg launched his second Spinzo deal and we’re excited to see the early days of both businesses.

What This Means to Greg’s Business

Greg gets to show up at a specified place like a city market or other venue with a fully paid-for order of oatcakes. Distribution costs, waste, and uncertainty are all drastically reduced and his customers get a lower price.

How It Works

Greg creates a Spinzo deal with a starting price and shares it with his Oatcake Society members. Oatcake lovers give their credit card info through Spinzo and commit to the current price but know that the price they will pay at the end will decrease for every single additional buyer.

As lovers of the product, there is an incentive to spread the word and drive the price down (like I'm doing now. I'm in on this deal!). Every new convert is a new buyer and a new price-reducer for the other buyers.

There is no tipping point that triggers the discount. The sale happens, and the price just keeps getting lower with every new buyer.

Payment, Tracking, and Marketing Built In

Greg identified a few needs to grow his business that Spinzo could meet for him. He can now accept orders online, track orders to bake them when needed, and he gets added, exponential exposure to new customers through the personal networks of his buyers.

Understanding and Helping

It’s obvious from looking at the business model that Spinzo is flexible and genuinely eager to work with merchants. Their process now and as they scale focuses on significant effort up front to forge a partnership with their merchants instead of just selling a one-off deal.

They promote their “other” (non-Spinzo) deals on their Facebook page, their commissions are a lot lower (about 20% vs. 50% for many others), they are more open to featuring individual items, and they insist on profit for the merchant in every single deal.

Technology companies are famous for putting their innovations ahead of their customers. Many of them don’t even consider who might use their product or service until it is already built. When it comes to group buying and merchant-enabling, Spinzo is obsessed with making life better for merchants and their customers and making their own profits a function of their partner’s success.

Spinzo didn't start with a technology, it started by figuring out how to feed the growth of brand communities with a better buying model. And now a true society of oatcake lovers is born and bred.

A key part of a brand community built by focusing on a better buying experience, demonstrating how social business is more than just awareness and branding.

If you loved a product, would this kind of sales approach encourage you to share it with friends? Let us know in the comments.

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