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In 2013, Raw Generation had to shut down its website because sales were too low.
“It didn’t really make a difference because we were [making] no money anyway,” says Jess Geier who started the company in 2012 with her dad, Bill Geier. About one month after shutting down, Raw Generation re-launched as a provider of detoxifying juice cleanses rather than a seller of nutritional juices—and teamed up with daily deal sites to see what the online discount craze was all about.
By the end of 2013—the year where Jess and Bill almost had to shut down their business operations—Raw Generation raked in $500,000 in sales. This number doubled in 2014 and then basically doubled again in 2015.
From zero to $2 million in 2 years — here’s how they did it:
As a business owner, Jess says her challenge has always been finding the time to take care of all the little details required to run a business, yet also remember to make money at the same time. Her decision to partner with Lifebooker in March 2013 made the company $8,000 in one week. This was a huge improvement when taking into account that the company made $1000 in all of 2012. After experiencing a massive uptick in sales, Jess spent all of her time trying to get onto other deal sites, including Groupon and LivingSocial. Within three months, the company’s sales were $100,000. By the end of the year, the business made $500,000 in sales. In the following year, sales were at $1.2 million and the company is projected to hit $2 million by the end of 2015.
“If the deal sites didn’t happen when [they] did, we probably still wouldn’t be in business,” says Jess. “That was the first boost that we saw.” And it was the boost the company needed.
The success of daily deal sites—where consumers are alerted when specific products and services are sold at a big discount for a limited time—makes sense in the digital age where shopping can take place anytime and anywhere as long as a smartphone or tablet is nearby. As a result, online sales—specifically mobile commerce—have been growing at rapid rate. According to one study, mobile commerce grew 42 percent annually between 2011 and 2015. Another study by PwC found that 47 percent of consumers worldwide have made a purchase with their phone, up from 30 percent in 2013. This explains the success of thousands of deal sites offering everything from a wide spectrum of products and services to focusing on niche-specific markets.
While Jess was researching daily deal sites, she stumbled upon coupon pop-ups, which basically offer visitors coupons, discounts, and deals in the form of a “pop-up” that appears as you enter a website. At times, these “pop-ups” are sent through email marketing or a newsletter. The idea seems simple enough, but coupon popups are highly effective and are successful at converting visitors into paying customers.
Jess opted for a 60 percent coupon code, which took her 10 minutes to setup and generated income and sales from day one. Even with 60 percent off, the company still made a profit from individual orders.
In just three weeks, the company brought in more than $28,000 in sales from pop-up coupons and collected 1,900 emails from consumers who wanted to be alerted for future deals. Using an offer like this is a great way to increase sales to meet projections or to drive traffic and peak interest while your business is getting off the ground or you’re launching a new product. It’s also a great tool to building out an email list—crucial to businesses that want to build a relationship with consumers.
As her business continues to grow, Jess is thinking about more innovative ways to get consumers interested. The company is currently working with celebrities and Instagram juicers to boost sales. According to Bloomberg, social media ad spending is expected to reach $9.8 billion by 2016. Remember last year when Gwyneth Paltrow’s magazine “Goop” basically endorsed charcoal lemonade as one of the “best juice cleanses”? All of a sudden, drinking juice bottles that looked like ink became the latest juice craze for all fashionistas.
Coupons might not be the sexiest way to make a business grow and prosper, but they’re definitely making a comeback, according to global consumer insights firm Nielsen. An effective coupons strategy has the potential to increase conversion rates and customer loyalty, according to these studies. And customers love feeling like they’re getting a deal, according to this e-Tailing study, where 56 percent of customers say coupons and discounts are a “very important” factor when it comes to whether they’ll purchase an item or not. While the good ol’ days when families brought cut out coupons to grocery stores might be long gone, using coupons as a growth hack is still very much a resourceful tool to attract customers, track conversion rates, and turn your business into a multi-million dollar one in just two years.