How do you use mobile to bring customers into your business? This is the single most important question retailers should be asking themselves as the world moves from the stationary screen to the one in their customers pocket.
Candice talks passionately about the way mobile can help retailers get new and existing customers to walk those extra few steps into a store and how mobile can drive revenue at the same time. This is a perfect example of how mobile can drive customer loyalty and sales and do it in a seamless and relevant way.
Listen to the audio version now: [audio: http://blip.tv/file/get/Untether-Shopcatch698.mp3]
Rob: Before we begin, two messages. What mobile platform do companies like eBay, NBC Universal, the Los Angeles Times, Razorfish and PayPal use to build their cross-platform native applications? Titanium by Appcelerator. They aren’t alone. There are now over 25,000 apps deployed by Appcelerator, which has been called the Rosetta Stone of app development.
You can start now for free. Just go to www.appcelerator.com for more information.
When my company needed to develop a key mobile product, one that I was counting on for a key source of revenue, I knew exactly who to turn to. Macadamian. They delivered on time, with incredible attention to detail, and I was able to get the product into customers’ hands faster than I ever thought possible.
I’ve personally known them for ten years, and they do make great products even better. Check them out at www.macadamian.com.
Hello everybody, and welcome to UNTETHER.tv. My name is Rob Woodbridge, your host. I also founded this little thing called UNTETHER.tv.
Welcome to another episode. This is where we get together with a mobile entrepreneur that is paving the way, changing the way that we are doing business in the real world because of mobile. It’s always so much fun to get these little stories out and get your input and feedback, so we’d really appreciate it if you could feed some this way.
Today, a Canadian company. You know I wear my flag very, very proudly. This is a Toronto company, it’s a company called ShopCatch, and I just want to give you a bit of background. This is a deal aggregator of sorts that really focuses on driving you as a consumer into a retail establishment.
There’s a few differentiators here from a lot of the other products. We’re going to get into that. But really, really clearly, this is one of those things that every one of us is going to use at some point when we’re looking for deals, or out there shopping. I’m really proud to say that this is a Canadian company, just around the corner in Toronto from me.
With me today is Candice Faktor, who’s the creator of ShopCatch. I’ll bring her in and say Candice, thank you for doing this, really appreciate your time.
Candice: No problem. Thank you, Rob.
Rob: There’s certainly a lot to talk about today. I think that there’s a lot of activity around this space, just because there seems to be this unease or malaise around the economy, which usually leads to much more coupon clipping.
All of a sudden, deals are cool. They’ve been cool for a couple of years now. I’m really, really intrigued to talk about how you guys differ from a bunch of the competitors, but we’ve got to start at the beginning. We’ve got to start there, which is, let’s talk about ShopCatch. Let’s talk about how this was created. It’s a relatively new company.
Let’s talk about where you are actually sitting in. You’re in the middle of Torstar. How did all this happen?
Candice: Let’s step back in time a little bit.
Candice: Exactly. Here we are, late last year, early this year. What we realized is so, my role at Torstar Digital is really to look at new things. To focus on, what are these emerging spaces and how do we enter them? We have an incubator and I guess strategic investment or acquisition arm, and that’s what I do here.
We were looking at mobile, and we really felt that 2011, year of mobile. Finally.
Rob: Tenth year in a row, here it is.
Candice: Talking about this. What we started thinking about is, what are the right businesses for mobile? Talking about deals, we have a very large group buying business called Wagjag. What we said is what’s so interesting for mobile is how it’s changing the way people shop.
Really, for me, that was much more than just the little Mom and Pop restaurants and buying a deal off of a group buying site. It was actually this really big market of retailers, and this huge consumer base of shoppers. There was a couple things we just knew, right?
One, consumers like to shop. Two, most consumers today have this thing called smartphone. We realized people want to find deal information all the time, people love it. It’s like candy to a shopper. Knowing Banana Republic is on sale right now, only for this day, people get very excited about that, and they get very angry or sad if they miss a deal.
We started thinking in the context of Torstar’s businesses, which, we have a very big circular or flier business. I call it different things in Canada versus the U.S. We started thinking about how that business is really going to change in the future, especially with mobile.
For me, it was just so evident that you’re not going to take a PDF of this flier and put it on your mobile phone or the web. But that really is a big thing that a retailer wants, how do I drive traffic into a store when I’m targeting a younger consumer who is not sitting at their home, waiting for a flier?
Just going back to the consumer piece, I realized when I looked for deal information, there wasn’t one place to go to easily find what’s on sale where I am, and when I’m ready to shop. I thought you know what, let’s make a very clear, focused product on big brand retail.
This is about Toys ‘R Us and the Banana Republic and The Gap and Wal-Mart and all the big retailers. Make it a really simple experience that shows you, on a map view and a list view, what’s on sale. You’re able to see, in a mall, what’s on sale or just the closest ones to you.
To really aggregate three things. So, publicly available deals. Coupons. Then the thing that we love to do, our exclusive ShopCatch offers for consumers.
That’s sort of the long version of how this came to be. We said, “Hey, let’s do it.” The interesting thing is, we just didn’t find an entrepreneur out there that we thought we should invest in or acquire their company. The solution didn’t exist yet. We said, ‘Hey, let’s create it and see what happens.’
Rob: What do you think was missing when you surveyed this? Was it because you were honed in on, all we want to do is this one thing and everybody seems to be doing ten things in their app? Or was it just that nobody was attacking this market the right way?
What was missing out there?
Candice: Yeah, I think if you look at who’s out there, there’s very few people who are focused on big brand retail deals. You have shopkick, but it’s not about the deals. It’s a gaming or awards system for when people are in stores.
We said, look, they’re solving one interesting problem, but there’s another big problem, which is how do you drive people into stores? How do you make it really simple for the retailer? I’ve seen everything from very complicated commerce solutions, but to get a retailer to change their POS behavior, [inaudible 07:22] consumers, isn’t that easy, right?
There’s a reason you haven’t seen a lot of that. So we didn’t see anything like that. Then there were some smaller coupon aggregators in place, but they weren’t really focused on, A, the retail segment, and we didn’t like the experience. We thought we could do it better ourselves.
Rob: You hit on a really key point there, which is I think that we saw a lot of this behavior the last ten years. Here’s a solution, modify your process to fit our solution, right? It’s even how Walmart does their supply chain. If you want in our supply chain you, who are producing our product over there, you have to conform to what we want.
They have the clout to be able to do that, because there’s a huge value in being on their shelves.
We see a lot of companies out there that are saying, “Listen, we’ll take your coupon, but you have to go on here and you have to fill this out, and you have to upload here, and you have to geo-fence this, and you have to install a piece of hardware over here. 90 days and $200 grand later, we are ready to go. We’re ready to give away your product at a discount.” Right?
Candice: As was the complete opposite of that.
Rob: That was conscious though, right?
Candice: We were very, very conscious. We said, “You know what? We’ll do it all for you.” Actually, we have a deal curator who puts on a bunch of really key retail deals for the consumer, and we wanted to focus on, what does the consumer want? Then create some really good opportunities to drive and increase traffic for the retailer.
We said, no creative required, to the retailer. We will take your deal for you. You can give us an exclusive deal or some of your existing deals. You can pay us on a performance basis for people who see the deals.
What we also realize is we need a scale, so ShopCatch to retailers is both a mobile app, website and an ad network, where we actually run their deals across an ad network, which has been really valuable for the retailer.
We just said we want to make this easy for the retailer, and equally as easy for the consumer, which is not asking for users to send me deals. We have somebody, we have a team of people, actually across Canada. We have 96 malls across Canada, over 145 retailers, where you get all the deals in one place. Really easy solution.
Rob: Complexity kills these things. We’ve heard this forever. The simplicity of the mobile device, sometimes doesn’t necessarily mean that it translates into simplicity and actually getting your product on that mobile device.
Love the idea here that you’re taking existing deals and just amplifying those deals. You said something that was really interesting, an ad network. This is one of these things that is very unique with you guys. Oftentimes you’re going to leverage somebody else’s ad network, but you said, “Listen, we’re aggregating all these deals and these coupons and these discounts.”
You’ve got them, so why wouldn’t you create an ad network? It just seems like a logical step. How unique is that in this market?
Candice: I think it’s pretty unique. We’ve got the scale and really rich experience, so the results that we’ve seen are tremendous. In our mobile app, for some of our retail partners, our click- through rate from the app to a deal is actually 47%.
Candice: 47%. I think that talks about the context. If you’re opening up this app and you see a store, French Connection, or here’s The Gap, 25% off clothes for kids and baby, people are clicking on that. Because they really want that, they want that information, they want to be able to actually use it.
On our mobile ad network, the click-through rates are also incredibly good. We saw .47% click-through rate on our mobile ad network, which is out of context. Again, we know that’s what people are looking for.
Rob: Because you’re under the umbrella of Torstar, how much of any of Torstar properties do you leverage in order to be able to . . . because that’s a big broadcast voice. Not only in the print, but on the digital side.
Candice: Torstar’s been amazing to ShopCatch. We’ve absolutely had the chance to leverage both the media assets of Torstar as well as some of the sales relationships, as well as some of just other businesses that are on similar spaces, knowledge sharing, etc.
I’d say we leveraged a lot, but it is definitely a very separate entity and is very much a start-up. It’s a very small team that’s very focused on doing something that’s disruptive.
Rob: I love it. I had to ask that, because the ad network is such a unique piece of this. If you’re aggregating those deals, set them free, get them out so they’re not just relying on the one app in order to be able to succeed.
Candice: Our retail partners have loved that. They’ve really responded well, sure.
Rob: The big thing is about, especially for retailers, driving people to their stores. One way or another, getting in front of them to do it. I’m on what seems like a daily email list for Banana Republic and The Gap and Old Navy and all these other. They say, “Hey, 40% off from 12:00 to 3:00 today, go.”
They’re amplifying, but obviously they have to not only catch you at your desktop, they catch you when you’re in transit or at work or something like that. When you look around you, have you been able to successfully drive people to the store with this?
Candice: Yeah. One of the most fulfilling parts, I think, about this role is getting those, if it’s on our Facebook page or Twitter mentions or just direct email, like, “Thank you so much for letting me know about that sale.” Even for people, if it’s on their email, not everybody checks their email on this device.
When The Gap has a 30% off sale just for today, we do a push notification to all of our ShopCatch users and an email blast, saying, “Hey, don’t miss this sale.” Breaking news category for shoppers.
The number of people that actually go in store and purchase is amazing. We just really believe that the future of shopping and the retail consumer relationship is with this mobile device. Push notifications are a very big part of our product. We have location aware push notifications. You can also follow your favorite retailers and just get their notifications.
It’s constantly evolving, but that’s exactly what this is for. A lot of people don’t necessarily want to be signed up to 17 or 25 different emails and get those deals. They want one source.
Rob: Trust me, I’ve spent a week pretty much unsubscribing to a bunch of stuff. If I could get that aggregated in one way it would be much better.
How do you judge, or how do you gauge the redemption rate or your success for driving people in there?
Candice: It depends on what product it is that the retailer’s using for us. Right now, we have actually pretty sophisticated analytics for our platform. If it’s publicly available deals, depending if it’s a deal, it’s harder to engage redemption. We certainly can engage click-through rates and even some location information and social information.
If it’s a coupon, which we actually have a lot of, we can actually have redemption keys. If it’s an exclusive offer, we get amazing analytics of where they are and how they’re redeeming at the cash.
We have a suite of products. It just is up to the retailer what’s important to them. Is it the measurement? Is it the ease? Is it the distribution? Constantly evolving on that front.
Rob: One of the biggest things about mobile is because it’s such a personal device, it’s a go-everywhere device, it’s also one of the easiest for return on investment piece.
Ultimately, the great thing about what you’re doing, aside from helping get shoppers into retailer locations and re-inventing the flier, which we’re about to talk about, the other thing that you’re doing is you’re collecting an incredible amount of data. Consumer data.
Rob: What do you do with . . . I know whenever I ask this question people are saying, “Rob, of course the first thing we do is it’s private, it’s anonymous.” We know all that. If you’re not doing that, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
It’s private data. Do you pick up early trends? Do you come back to, say The Gap or Banana Republic or some of your customers and say listen, you know what? That 20% discount didn’t push the needle, but a 25% at 2:00 in the afternoon . . .
Are you getting into baseball stats at this level?
Candice: Look, I think that’s our ultimate vision. We’re really early, we’re really early on in our path to that, but I would say absolutely.
A big piece for us is we have amazing data. We know where people are, we know what categories they’re interested in, and we know what kinds of stores they’re clicking on and what kinds of offers they’re clicking on. Now through a new, great analytics tool we just got, we’ve got some really good social and demographic data from our customers.
We do believe, ultimately, that there’s a huge data piece of it. We need some scale against that, but that’s definitely the direction we want to go in.
We’ve heard from retailers that’s important to them. Instead of trying to perfect that before we actually get started, we wanted to make it really easy. I feel like ShopCatch is pressing the easy button and the save button. We keep joking about that.
But it is. For consumers, it’s, ‘Make it easy.’ For retailers, it’s, ‘Make it easy.’
Rob: I’m a big mobile commerce, mobile payment junkie. I watch this industry and I think anytime when you have to change your behavior on a consumer or a retailer, you’re going to lose that battle. There’s too much friction.
The idea of what you guys are doing, listen. Start. Get them engaged. Show them some value, and then you’re going to consistently show them value, they’re going to consistently use you for the service.
Candice: Then the one stat that is the proudest stat we have I would say, is the one that I’m like, “We must be doing something right,” is 75% of our users come back every week. This is a product that’s really useful, and people build a habit out of it.
I think anytime we’ve started to change people’s behavior, it’s like, when I’m going to go shopping, the first thing I’m going to do is check out ShopCatch. It’s going to show me, just in case there was a 20% off sale at Club Monaco, I don’t want to miss that, right? That’s really powerful.
Just that stat alone is the one thing that we’re . . . and just talking to our users. This is about a new habit-forming activity.
Rob: It is. If it worked the first time, if I actually got a discount the first time and it was appropriate, and I got the product that I wanted at a reduced rate, you’re always going to go back to that product.
Talk about this. When you’re out there, this is a relatively new product. You said you soft-launched in July, beta launched, then you actually launched back to school in the late summer and August. How are you getting awareness of this product out? How are you finding new customers, new retailers?
Is it pick up the phone for the retailers, and is it just social and a little bit of advertising for awareness, maybe?
Candice: Sure. I’ll just talk about the retailers and the consumers separately. Let’s talk about the retailers. I think that’s one of the assets we have at Torstar, we have some really good relationships with retailers, so that’s definitely helped us.
It’s a combo of going in with some relationships that we have with some different businesses, as well as we have an amazing, amazing salesperson who literally is cold calling, too. I think the one thing about Canada is retailers don’t have as big an experimental mobile budget as the U.S. I’m very happy to say we will be launching across North America.
Our main strategy is both cold calling and using some of the assets we have in relationships.
On the consumer side, we’ve really got a lot of grassroots staff. Even though Torstar, we’re a new venture, we by no means have very large budgets. It’s on a dime, like a start-up, is a start-up, and we’re treated that way.
It’s a really interesting combo. I think PR has been a really huge help for us, and really unpaid PR. Everything from where we were the top shopping app in Canada for a long time on the Apple Store, FLO 93 called us the best shopping app ever and we got thousands of downloads.
Tomorrow, I think we’re on something called the [Merrill and Dana] Show here, which is a very big show. We’re being listed as one of the best holiday shopping tools.
I think all that stuff is the best kind of marketing you can do. How you do it is you need to have the product, and you need to use social media and PR really effectively. I think we’ve done a good job in that area.
We’ve done a little bit of experiential marketing in high shopping areas. Very grassroots. We had something called the ShopCatch Mobile Boutique where you took a picture of yourself in a ShopCatch frame and sent it to your social network, and got people to download the apps that way.
We had a really great shopping vacation contest that we scrambled together and really got some of our media assets to promote, as well as experiential.
I think a creative campaign, a really simple idea but really hit the emotion of it was, we had a woman on a mall bench, bawling her eyes out. Like really, really upset. It was basically, “If only I had known about ShopCatch, I would’ve saved all this money.” I think that just really spoke to the heart of all those passionate shoppers.
Rob: I love it.
Candice: That’s some of the stuff. We don’t have big budget, so we’re constantly trying to get influencers and get people who love our app to talk about it.
Rob: How important is that? I mean, the creative nature of your ads, in order to stand out. It’s the same story I hear quite often is listen, these are all experimental. Until it catches, it’s an experiment. How important is it to be so nimble when it comes to your message and exploring these new channels. Pretty important, wouldn’t it be?
Candice: Oh, it’s huge. Marketing really is, today, a real mix of science and art. Never before has there been so much science, and you need so much creativity. It’s not traditional in its traditional sense.
A lot of the stuff that we’ve done, we’ve used some of our traditional assets and they’ve really helped, but I think also just from retailer credibility, it’s been really helpful to have some of that. From the stuff that’s moved the dial, it’s been a combo of that but a lot of grassroots creativity.
Kudos to the marketing team.
Rob: I find that you can even have the best product in the world right now, but it’s so crowded with a lot of similar products that anything that you can do to bump it up a little bit . . . having a big brand around you, having something like Torstar or the name Torstar. I know Torstar Digital is separate from Torstar, but it’s a powerful brand.
It gets you through that first hurdle.
Candice: Sort of. I think sometimes in certain instances it does, and in others it’s, how innovative are you if you’re an older media company? You use it where it makes sense, and in other areas you make sure people aren’t dismissive of it as a result of that, for sure.
Rob: A brand like that carries not only credibility in the nation, but it also carries a lot of baggage with it.
Candice: Or tradition, I would say.
Rob: Tradition, that’s a better word. Tradition.
What about this concept of reinventing the flier? We talked just before we started recording about this idea that you’re looking at this as the future of the flier. Explain that concept to here.
Candice: I think it is a very long time, I’ll be really honest, before fliers become extinct or irrelevant. I do not think that’s anytime near. Mainly because it’s a powerful tool that works. It’s got guaranteed circulation, which is huge. If I’m a retailer, I know that this is going to go to every single household in my region, and I’m able to [versionize] all of these different regions with the stores that I have. All this stuff.
Very, very hard to displace. I know people who come in are coming in because of that flier. The data could be better, but it’s not that bad actually.
That being said, I think the whole notion of, where do retailers spend a huge amount of their marketing dollars? It’s on that, how do I drive people into the store. You get them there for me and I’ll take it from there, thank you very much. I’ll walk them through my store, I’ll increase their basket size, I’ll do all of these great things.
What we said is, we want to play in getting them to your store. We want ShopCatch to be the best driver of that, and it’s very real. Smart phone adoption is very, very high, and I think what you need is to replicate that push model, as well as having a pull model in order to be that.
One of the things that we evolved our model to is having an email push of the product and a push notification product, so that we get to choose when we communicate with the consumer. As opposed to them choosing when they communicate with us.
I think it’s very real. That’s what we’re trying to do. The biggest thing was that you can’t just take what the old product was and put it in this new context. It’s completely different. You need to be mobile first, think what do you want from a mobile device, and then think about how it relates.
Rob: I see this all the time. The reason I’m smiling is, I love hearing this. Stop trying to take an old medium and put it on a mobile device. I see this on the web as well, where a PDF version, and an enhancement to the PDF version is look, if you roll over the ads, it pops up and you can click on it.
It works for print, it’s great for print. Tuesdays for us in Ottawa, it’s great, because you get the Canadian Tire pamphlet or brochure or flier. What ends up happening is I look through it every time, and that’s the experience. But I’m not flipping through a PDF with the page curls and turns online.
It always astounds me that people do the exact same thing in a mobile device. They’re missing an opportunity. It’s incomprehensible that people do this. So if you’re doing this, stop.
Candice: Exactly. I think that’s really true.
Rob: This is a transition, right? There’s a group of all these different types of people, Millennials and digital savants and all these types of things. In our lifetime, do you start to see this transition happening?
Candice: Yeah. I think even if fliers don’t go away, it doesn’t mean that this can’t gain significant traction and become a very powerful tool. I think there’s value for both. You may want that browsing experience in your home, but you absolutely want to take that content or have that content available to you when you’re out, ready to shop.
It’s not even whether it’s in my lifetime. I think maybe I’m really rosy-eyed or see the glass half full, but within the next 18 to 20 months, if you have a large enough pool of users who want to receive this information in a mobile form, and you have the right kinds of content and the right partners for retail, I really believe it’s very, very feasible for this to be a very meaningful business or new behavior from consumers.
Rob: I always think of it this way, as a flier really is trying to jam a bunch of products in to attract as many people as possible. I might be interested in one product, you might be interested in another, but combined we might both go to Canadian Tires as a result of that.
What I love about the mobile experience is it’s a very broad, but one-to-one broad feeling. So tailored but so broad. It’s a different experience for different people.
Candice: As our product evolves, you’ll start to see a lot more personalization. If I keep looking at fashion deals, that’s what’s going to come to me first. All that kind of stuff.
Rob: The other side of this is there’s got to be a closer piece to this. You get people to download the application, you’ve got a bunch of great retailers that are pushing the deals out. You drive them in there, but are you also looking at this and saying, “Listen. How do we close the gap for commerce? How do we go right from a coupon to buying?”
What’s the impact on commerce in general and even mobile commerce?
Candice: For us, we originally were going to launch with a mobile commerce platform. That’s what this originally was. We have the capability, it’s there. It’s more around working with retailers when they’re ready to accept that.
Some retailers are absolutely there, and we’re very excited to work with those retailers. Others aren’t, so we’re okay with that. There’s a whole bunch of new parties who are trying to enter and play in that payment space. We’re looking and talking to many of them, and very open and interested in partnership.
We see this as, we want to deliver a great consumer experience, which is about knowing the information, having access to it, having exclusive offers. If we can be in that payment space or commerce space, great. We just are also aware that some retailers just aren’t there yet.
Rob: Again, this is a little bit long term. Right now you’re just trying to get them used to using this kind of stuff and getting them engaged.
Two more questions. One of them is around how you guys make money. Might as well ask that question. How does ShopCatch generate any revenue as a result of this?
Candice: As of now, it’s an advertising model, so we have some really great products for retailers. We’ve got a combination of performance pricing, so pay on a click basis or coupon redemption basis even. We have some fixed-fee offerings to make sure that you have a guaranteed reach and a weekly product, if that’s what you’re looking for.
We have some phenomenal sponsorship opportunities. Our launch partner was Visa, and they loved it. We worked with them on their Visa perks program, and they’re a big supporter of us and continue to be so. That was a sponsorship model.
Rob: A great mix of revenue opportunities for you guys and payment opportunities for . . .
Candice: I think the important distinction is it’s not commerce or transaction based today. It’s advertising based.
Rob: That stuck well with some of your early customers?
Rob: Okay. The traction is there? I don’t care about numbers, but you’re starting to see traction, right?
Candice: We are absolutely starting to see traction. We’re starting to see traction in Canada, which is eight months behind retail in the U.S. That’s what’s exciting to us, and why we’re excited to play in the U.S. as well.
The interest is absolutely there. The retailers get it and have been incredibly supportive of the product. And we’ve seen dollars.
Rob: How perfect is that?
Canada is, you know the saying, if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. Come up to Canada and try to sell your product in Canada first. And if you can do that . . .
Candice: To retailers.
Rob: To retailers nonetheless.
A lot of Canadian companies, a lot of Toronto companies that I’ve spent some time with especially, they say, “We do a test launch, a beta launch, as a Canada launch, because our population is such that it’s just around the state of California.”
We test it in Canada and we see how it works, and then we drop down to the States. That’s a real strategy for a lot of companies, but it sounds like listen, if you get traction here, think about the opportunities. There are retailers that Canadians have never heard of in the States that are bigger than our biggest retailers.
Candice: I think the way that we looked at it is, for our beta or our early days of launch, we’ve hit some really good milestones. The geographical boundaries just don’t exist today for a lot of Internet based or mobile based companies.
We’re saying, especially from a consumer adoption model, let’s see if we can take this to the U.S. Let’s try it. Really, the U.S. is ten times the size of Canada, and retailers are a lot more progressive and have bigger mobile budgets.
I’ll be able to tell you very shortly.
Rob: I’m going to have you back on to follow up as soon as you launch in the States.
It leads me to my next question very well, not on purpose, because I don’t know what I’m doing here. IP, intellectual property and that concern. It is a very competitive landscape. In this space, everybody doing a little bit different that makes them unique, but a lot of it is common ground, a lot of it is common IP.
Do you look at protecting the stuff that you’re doing, the secret sauce? If so, when do you start looking at that, or have you gone down that path already?
Candice: I think it’s hard. I think we’re living in very interesting times in terms of IP. We are looking at it, but at the same time I think action is the best way to solve IP problems.
Rob: I’m the same way.
Candice: Action and traction.
Rob: Action and traction, that’s right. Then you can react to something, so it’s action, reaction and traction when it comes to something.
Candice: There you go, exactly.
Rob: Right here.
Candice: Right here.
Rob: A lot of companies talk about IP, but it’s true. By the time you’ve protected your IP, your idea could have passed. You could have been on the next iteration of it, which could have taken you down a completely different path.
As opposed to where it was 10 or 12 years ago, where IP was something people invested in. Now it’s about activity, isn’t it?
Candice: I think so.
Rob: This is all funded on revenue, this is all funded internally through Torstar, this is something that needs to stand on its own, right?
Candice: This is a start-up that is funded by Torstar. We are looking at a bunch of new funding opportunities as well as we grow and expand, so very open to conversations if anybody who’s watching UNTETHER.tv . . .
Rob: Knock knock.
Candice: . . . is interested. It’s a real start-up funding structure.
Rob: Where does it go from here? Do you take a progressive approach to moving this product along? Is it a threshold for customer numbers before you start to bring in new features? What are you guys envisioning for the next little while for you?
Candice: We are milestone funded, and we’re focused on getting a bunch of key milestones in terms of consumer adoption, revenues, gross in markets, etc. For us, next big things that we’re doing are North American expansion.
We have some really great new product features that are coming out that really focus on the socialization and gamification of the experience. We have some great new products for retailers as well, just listening to what they want around measurement, tracking, a bunch of stuff that they’ve asked us for.
Pretty busy, evolving on all these trends on retail offerings, consumer and gross.
Rob: I swear, this is my last question. Every time I sit there and I think about what you guys are doing, it’s always great, and I could probably spend much more time with this. We’ll save some for the second interview after you’ve launched in the U.S.
When it comes to numbers, did you have an expectation of the number of retailers that you would bring on and the number of consumers you would have download the app? Did you set expectations, or did you have an idea of what you wanted to achieve?
Candice: We absolutely threw out some numbers. I would say they’re never what you think they are, both good and bad. In certain instances we’ve overshot some of our numbers, and in others we haven’t.
We’re still learning. I think we’ve seen good traction, that’s why we are still funded.
Rob: That’s why we’re having this session so late.
Candice: That’s why we’re having session, and it really is a milestone funded company. If we do not get certain milestones, we rethink continuing. We’re on track. We’ve hit some milestones, but as I said, the one thing that we really want to look for is, do we have the right experience?
Do we have something that’s unique and are people responding to that? That 75% of everybody who signs up comes back every week, that’s the number we’re most impressed with, and we have a very sizable base in a very short period of time.
Rob: I love it. How do people get involved with you guys? Whether they’re a consumer or a retailer, how do we drive them somewhere?
Candice: Super, super easy. Just go to shopcatch.com, and on that page you can either download that app directly from the App Store, you can see our mobile website. If you’re interested in partnering with us and working with us, you can send us an email from that website.
Just go there, or you can contact me at [email protected]
Rob: That’s nice. That simple. No friction, just get involved, give us a call or get in touch with us.
Candice: We’re looking for partners in many regards. People who are interested . . . retailers obviously, other likely partners in the mobile space. Obviously more consumers. We’re very open to partnership.
Rob: This has been great. Candice, I’m going to have you back on once you start to infiltrate the US. This great Canadian company, infiltrating the US, because I love to hear these stories from Canada going down to the States after testing it up here in Canada and making a success of it here.
Hopefully, I can count on you to come back on the show.
Candice: Absolutely, I’d love to.
Rob: This has been great.
Go to shopcatch.com to find out some more information, to sign up and download the application. If you’re on iTunes, on your iPhone, just listening to this in the car, pull over. Do a search for ShopCatch, you’ll find it in the iTunes Store.
In the States, you’ve got to wait. The next time you come up to Canada to spend your below par U.S. dollar, just download the application because you [to get] those deals.
Candice, I really appreciate you doing this. Candice Faktor is the creator of ShopCatch. Really appreciate you coming on and sharing this. You’ve been really candid, very open, really can’t thank you enough for doing this. Thank you.
Candice: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Rob: For those of you who are still watching, still listening, wherever you may be, whatever you are doing, however distracted you are while you’re listening to this, I really appreciate you doing this each and every time. Love some feedback on this.
Reach out at [email protected], and I respond to every one of those. I might take a little while, but I respond to it, I promise. I really, really appreciate you coming on and listening to the show. Candice, thank you for doing this.
Candice: My pleasure.
Rob: We’ll see you next time on UNTETHER.tv.
Be sure to subscribe to iTunes to be notified on all future episodes (they are free for the first week!):
As Torstar Digital’s Vice President, Strategy and New Ventures, Candice is responsible for creating the next generation of Torstar Digital’s businesses. Candice’s most recent venture is Shopcatch, a location based mobile shopping app, website and ad network for brand name retail deals. Candice is actively pursuing acquisitions, strategic investments and incubating new ventures in the high growth emerging areas of social commerce, mobile, and performance advertising. Candice has been at Torstar Digital since the beginning and has been instrumental in its growth. She has played a key role in the foundation of several start-up ventures, partnerships and acquisitions including Torstar Digital (now has over 250 employees and 8 businesses), Olive Media (Canada’s largest premium ad network), Travel Alerts (leading Canadian travel deals newsletter), Wagjag and Tuango (Canadian leaders in the group buying industry). Before joining Torstar Digital, Candice spent four years with the Monitor Group, a top tier strategy consulting firm.