Saveful is an e-commerce platform that aims to modernize the way consumers shop and compare products online. It gives consumers the lowest price available for products after combining existing discounts like retail sales, coupons, free shipping offers, and credit card rewards.
Saveful organizes products by categories, from top retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Macy’s and Sears, and makes saving money on common purchases easier than ever. It also allows shoppers to search for specific products, create their own shopping lists, and set alerts that will notify them when their favorite products go on sale.
At whom is your startup aimed?
Saveful’s target market are mothers, ages 25 to 45, who want to save money but still want the best purchases for their home and family. However, any online shopper will find our product extremely useful.
How does your startup stand out against its competitors?
Saveful brings shoppers the joy of discovering amazing deals from top retailers in the US. It showcases editor’s picks and curated lists to make online shopping a whole lot easier. With Saveful, consumers can create their own shopping lists and receive alerts if prices drop. They can also view other users’ lists for a wider selection of great discounts.
Unlike any competitor in the marketplace today, Saveful uses its proprietary stacked discount model to combine coupons, store sales, and free shipping offers, to calculate and display the lowest price possible.
Where did the idea for the startup come from?
With numerous sites emerging online that offered deals and coupons, we realized that there was still no single site that combined the two separate – and often tedious – processes of searching for products, and then searching for coupons and discounts. Even if I found the product I wanted at some retailer, I still had to search for coupons and then calculate the final price after discounts to see if I was getting the best deal. Then I had to repeat this process with other retailers and compare final prices. This was the only way to know if I was getting the true lowest price, and I knew there had to be a better way.
Did you have any concerns when starting your business, if so, what were they?
I started building the business because it was a problem that I personally faced, and one that had not been solved by any other business. I did a set of interviews with potential users before starting to build it, and it seemed to be a need that others faced as well. The only issue was that you never really know if these individuals will actually use the site until you launch it. After we launched the beta version, we were able to do thousands of user interviews with our real product and received some extremely valuable insights that helped us shape our product and business from that point forward. Now shoppers continue to use our site because we built it based on their needs and their feedback.
What is your business background, and what got you interested in startups?
Prior to my experience in the startup world, I worked at two bulge-bracket investment banks in the US and a venture capital firm in China. In both roles, I helped companies develop their businesses and marketing strategies to direct them towards the right path to success. That’s exactly what I do at my own company, but now instead of advising on strategy, I get to develop and implement it.
How did you initially raise funding for your company?
Saveful is currently funded through a combination of our own savings, funding from angel investors, and the company’s revenues.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
I believe one of our greatest achievements at Saveful has been developing our stacked discount technology which allows us to combine coupons, sales, and free shipping offers from different top retailers, and accurately compute the price shoppers will actually pay at checkout. With this technology, our users can rest assured that they’re getting the best deals.
How have you kept your business relevant and engaged with your audience over the last three years?
It’s really all about listening to your users so we take every piece of feedback very seriously. Over the life of Saveful, we’ve done thousands of user interviews and received lots of user feedback, which we’ve then used to shape Saveful into the product it is today. We always listen to our users and will continue to use their valuable insights to make Saveful even better in the future.
How long has your business been in making?
Saveful was founded in late 2013.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
One of the biggest challenges has been communicating to potential users how Saveful is different from the competition. While many believe that the online shopping market is a very crowded space, Saveful is unique thanks to our social savings community, and use of stacked discounts for individual products.
In the coming year, what would you like to achieve with your business?
Our goal is to reach at least 250,000 active users.
What has been your most valuable lesson so far since starting your business?
The most valuable lesson is that once a potential new user gets to your home page, you have about 10 seconds to make your case or they’ll be gone. We’ve made our best case by making sure our home page effectively communicates what we do and why we’re different from the others. To that end, making sure you’re tracking metrics–and the right metrics–is very important.
Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about starting a business, what would it be?
Perhaps the most important thing is to know and understand your market. You need to take the time to conduct surveys and do user research to know what product your target audience truly needs. Then build a prototype and go back to your users to get feedback. Take those insights and use them to further shape your product. Then repeat. This has to be a continuous process if you want to ensure your product best meets the changing needs of your users.