National online shopping site is experiencing rapid growth; adding new features
By Nancy Lane
President, zip2save.com & Suburban Newspapers of America
Six months is a long time in the life of a start-up. For
zip2save.com, the first six months have been incredibly exciting and lucrative.
Several hundred sales reps have now been trained to sell zip2save.com and success
stories are starting to pour in from the field.
In Ohio, Director of Sales & Marketing Ron Waite (Dix Communications) has used his
company’s affiliation with zip2save.com to monetize the grocery category. Some of
this business had shifted to Advo long ago. Now Waite and his staff have a reason
to call on grocery stores with a new product offering in the digital space. The
results have been spectacular with 4-6 now running regularly on the site. In one
case, a $30,000 contract was signed — all new business for the newspaper.
Perhaps the biggest headline is the addition of the valuable News America “smartsource”
grocery coupons. In their first full month of running on zip2save.com, nearly 18,000
smartsource coupons were printed. The sale was made by Ben Dils, Online Sales Manager
at American Community Newspapers in Columbus, OH. Dils reports that zip2save.com
is now in News America’s top 10 partner list (and they run on hundreds of sites
across the country).
The grocery coupon success is getting the attention of grocery stores large and
small and many more are starting to advertise on the site. Current zip partners
should make grocery priority number one. Those media companies that are not current
zip partners will want to take another look as grocery alone could make a zip affiliation
There are several new features and products that will be launched in the next 60-90
days. All of these are potential game changers for the site. They include:
- Mobile coupon application: testing in a few markets in May and then rolling it out
to all zip media partners. This will allow zip media partners to control the local
mobile marketing budgets before someone else (think yellow pages, Valpak, Advo)
does. This revenue will extend well beyond the zip2save.com web site and may eventually
exceed revenue produced by the web site. (Note that mobile is not even addressed
in the business plan or in the financial models so this presents a new and exciting
- Hispanic language version of zip2save.com: coming in the June 1 timeframe. zip2save.com
has contracted with an individual that has 20+ years in Hispanic media (both on
the advertising agency side and media side) to develop and implement a business
- Product search feature: will launch in the next 90 days (driving sales directly
to the retailers' web sites). Flyerland launched this a month ago (go to www.flyerland.ca and click on products — they have
over 250,000 on the site already). This will be a major game changer. zip2save.com
will earn money through affiliate programs (earning a percentage of all sales made
on participating retailers’ web sites that come from zip2save.com).
- Self serve model: is soft launching today. Zip media partners keep the same revenue-share
from all dollars generated in their market from self-serve.
All of these new products and features will make a partnership with zip2save.com
even more lucrative.
On the traffic side, the goal was to get as much content on the site and then start
with an aggressive SEM/SEO campaign. The site had 121,153 monthly uniques in the
month of March — 78% over record set in February. The SEM campaign started
on April 1 and will result in 175,000+ uniques in April and 250,000 in May. From
this point on, zip will show steady and big growth with the goal of hitting 1 million
by the end of the year.
zip2save.com continues to add new media partners every week. In the last 2 weeks
zip added papers (mainly dailies) in Santa Fe, NM, Columbia, MO, Coeur D'Alene,
ID, Lawrence, KS and Hagerstown, MD. Serious conversations with many others, large
and small, are ongoing. Several metro dailies are also taking a hard look at zip2save.com
A $5 million capital raise in now underway (over $1.5 million has been committed
already). Many companies are in the process of executing an NDA and then reviewing
the business plan prepared by Borrell Associates and the offering details. Interested
parties can contact Nancy Lane at (843) 390-1531 or
Retailers such as Kohl’s, JCPenney, Lowes and Target are encouraging the industry
to get behind a common platform. During meetings at NAA’s Media xchange, this theme
was reinforced many times. Retailers do not want to see “go it alone” strategies
that force them to buy hundreds of sites and hundreds of platforms. There was high
praise from the retail community on the progress that has been made so far; they
are hoping to see a lot more media partners join the effort in the next six months.
While six months seems like a lifetime ago, the progress made over this time period
is simply amazing. The next six months are sure to be even more exciting as the
site matures, gains consumer loyalty and adds new features and products.