Penny pinchers may just be the most misunderstood people on Earth. They long for compliments like ‘astute bargain hunter’ but are often reciprocated with ‘miserly’ and ‘Scrooge-like’. However, with discount coupons stashed in every pocket, these brilliant negotiators and price cutters often have the last laugh to the bank.
In an era of e-commerce and mobile shopping, paper coupons have lost its appeal. Consumers go after digital promo codes now. These codes often appear on advertisements, special newsletters and shout-outs on social media sites and blogs. But we can never seem to find them when we need them.
Enter Flipit, a five-year-old aggregator for promo codes, discounts and coupons in the Netherlands, which launched a localised version of its website in Singapore last December. Jochem Vroom, Co-founder and Managing Director, Flipit told e27, “According to Google Trends, Singapore has seen steady growth in the (number) of people who are looking for promo codes, and this is predicted to rise over the next few years.”
Although there is a huge market for such a service in Singapore, Vroom added that promo code redemption in the city-state has been slow so far. He explained, “We account this to the fact that there are not many “couponing” sites available for the Singaporean market, and many people aren’t aware that these types of websites exist.”
It is true. I once found myself searching for promo codes of all sorts of services and brands on Google — only to find myself disappointed at the dearth of search results. He added, “However, interest has indeed been increasingly steadily, particularly in travel and fashion. Flipit Singapore has a high turnover rate, meaning there is a high ratio of visitors who then go on to buy.”
Asia and bargains
“Asia is an interesting market,” said Vroom, “because of the sheer size of the population and the opportunity it presents.” At the moment, according to the Population Reference Bureau, Asia has a population of 4.3 billion people, as of 2013. The firm, which has websites active in both, India and Singapore, says the two are very different markets. In the coming months, Flipit will also look to expand into Malaysia, Japan, and Indonesia.
“These (Malaysia, Japan and Indonesia) will be challenging as new markets, and predicting how successful promo codes will be in a country has always proved rather difficult. Culturally, it can be challenging as well, as each country operates differently and projects different interests,” added Vroom. Hiring natives from each country does help to counter that problem of localisation and gaining a deeper understanding of any given market.
“With personalised coupons, our member-only section and the ability to search coupons by category, we are getting closer to our goal: to become the largest global couponing portal that facilitates and excites the shopping experience,” said Vroom. On Flipit, visitors are also offered exclusive coupons, which often leads to an increase in loyal visitors. He added, “It also helps with giving Flipit credibility and reliability.”
In the future, Flipit hopes to engage with more online shoppers and retailers who are interested in retaining or attracting existing and new customers. “We offer our brand and affiliate partners opportunities to be featured on the homepage, in our newsletter, and in our Lion Smart Shopper areas,” explained Vroom. The Lion Smart Shopper feature provides users with access to personalised promo codes based on the shops that they like, and member-only exclusive codes.
In Asia, there aren’t many coupon portals. The e-commerce scene is only starting to thrive, and promo codes is still a relatively nascent concept. “Competitors like Myvouchercodes and Retailmenot (from UK and US respectively) are well-established and certainly pose a challenge to us,” said Vroom, adding, “However, we’ve found that most of our competitors are stagnant in terms of innovation and page layout. Their portals are not generally user-friendly, with simple interfaces that are not responsive to their visitors.”
On the flip side, the firm is in the process of adding a feature that will allow the favouriting of webshops for users. This will then sort content according to personal preferences. Vroom concluded, “With this new idea of personalisation alongside Flipit’s exclusive coupons, we expect Flipit to become the ultimate online money saving platform.”