Today I received an invitation to join Bync, a new deal site that promises to offer deals that I WANT as opposed to deals that retailers are offering (TechCrunch launch article here).

By analyzing my bank and credit card transactions, Bync will determine which stores I have shopped at in the past and therefore, at which stores I want deals. Unfortunately, Bync is doomed to become yet another in a long list of consumer deal startups that are just further poisoning the retail well.

Bync vs Groupon / Living Social

Groupon and Living Social are the big players in the retail deal websites, and there are literally hundreds of others ranging from unique schemes (e.g. Woot) to a long tail of weekend hacker projects that won’t die. Bync’s scheme does have some good logic though – if I have shopped somewhere in the past, there is a higher likelihood that I will want a deal there than the likelihood that I will want a deal on teeth whitening, paint balling, or private massages (the drivel constantly being pushed on Groupon).

But, that is NOT to say that I will want a deal at Target or Kohl’s just because I have patronized those retailers in the past.

Why Deal Sites Are Doomed: They Are Not Serving Their Primary Customer!

Groupon and Living Social made a huge bang in their early days and delivered a serious injection of customers to the retailers which offered deals. Unfortunately those retailers quickly found mixed results with making the customer injection a profitable endeavor.

Retailers find three difficulties in getting good value from deal sites:

  1. The discounting required is too drastic, often yielding 75% off normal price (a $100 product is offered for $50. Then the deal site takes half of the $50payment resulting in the retailer receiving $25 for a $100 product).
  2. The new customers are too thrifty. Retailers are not always able to wow the deal site customers into more profitable upsells or loyal repeating customers.
  3. Deal site offers tend to create a sudden massive spike in customers which sounds great, but often results in the retailer struggling to provide good service levels and even crumbling under the pressure of the demand.

Groupon, Living Social, and most other deal sites do not charge the consumer, but rather charge the retailer (as noted in difficulty #1 above).

Bync may well offer deals to consumers that are more targeted than the deals offered on Groupon and Living Social, but there is no apparent strategy to better service their ultimate paying customer – the retailers. Indeed they do not seem to be addressing any of the three customer problems.

Unfortunately, Bync has another obvious barrier: they expect consumers to hand over access to their bank account and credit card. Mint has been able to convince consumers to hand over access to bank accounts, but very few others have had even slight success in overcoming this barrier.

The Ultimate Deal Site Concept

I have good news for you, Mr. Ryan Bales (Bync CEO and Founder), the following concept is the ultimate deal site! The following concept is better than Bync, Groupon, Living Social, and all other deal sites in the following ways:

  • Better solves the general problem of getting retailers more customers
  • Comprehensively addresses all three of the problems with current deal sites
  • Offers deals to consumers that are explicitly and exclusively deals that consumers want

The ultimate deal site will work as follows: [click to continue…]

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My good buddy Nathan Whipple, and I were talking on New Year’s Eve about how wide a spectrum exists in terms of being “tech savvy.”

Tech savvy can mean a lot – but we were talking about how well people utilize the power of the hardware and software they use everyday. For example, the general population – of which the cutting-edge-tech-nerds are a sliver – have smartphones, use gmail, find quick facts online, and collect digital media.

However, I have all of my contacts synced across all of my devices and gmail account, important files saved in the cloud, digital media available on my HDTV, sleep easy when a big website gets hacked, and can keep up with the cool kids while chatting about the latest hot app. Meanwhile, my parents and most of my friends tend to use their smartphones pretty much as they used their cell phone 5 years ago, would be lost if not for Verizon’s contact transfer service, have overflowing disorganized gmail inboxes, can’t play their media across devices, and confusingly brag that they don’t “get it” in regards to buzzworthy apps and websites.

Key Mindsets to Realize the Benefits of Your Technology

After that chat with Nathan, I decided that one of my resolutions for 2013 would be to help people close to me get more out of tech. In my opinion it all comes down to 2 key mindsets:

  1. The super early adopters are the power users. They sort out what is useful and valuable from what is just chaff or a fleeting fad, and they’re generally real good at it. They are trustworthy.
  2. An upfront investment will yield a fast and huge return in benefits. Usually this means taking some time to identify and set up the features available beyond the core basic set-up. But, it is indeed an upfront investment.

First Steps to Move From Tech Average to Tech Savvy

I recommend you do these in the following order, and commit to sticking with it!

  1. Secure your online accounts! If you know the password for any of your website logins, you’re doing it wrong. Even worse, if you are using the same couple passwords for every site, you’re asking for a major nightmare of identity theft. Use LastPass, and read this LifeHacker article for some honest, smart, simple explanation. Costs: Make no mistake, this will take a pretty serious upfront effort to change your old crappy passwords to secure ones, and to get used to using LastPass to handle your logins. Benefits: You are VERY secure, and can rest easy as websites announce that they have been hacked.
  2. Use Gmail (seriously – if you’re still on Hotmail or Yahoo, welcome to the 90′s – time to move to gmail). And use it effectively. First, unsubscribe to mailing lists that aren’t worth your time. Second, follow this article to set up labels and filters. Then get to know the Inbox Zero methodology and USE IT. Costs: Unsubscribing and setting up filters are EASY! Transitioning to Inbox Zero takes very little effort but usually will be a few weeks in transition. Benefits: You’ll never stress about email again!
  3. Sync your whole Gmail account to your smartphone – not just your email. Gmail provides excellent email, but their contact manager and calendar system can save you major headaches of lost contact information or scattered calendar items. Start here.

Those are the first three steps that I would take. Each of those have a few layers of potential, so keep an eye out for a more detailed post about them in the future. Good luck!

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Yikes – It’s been far too long between updates on this site. My sincere apologies for that.

It’s 2013 and I’m ready to get back to it this year, but I’m hoping to slightly change the tone.

The Old Rick Maher .info

The original purpose of this site was to grab search results for Rick Maher – my name. As it turns out, there are a few Rick Maher’s kicking around and I’d like to make sure that I’m not misrepresented.

The New Rick Maher .info

From here on, the primary purpose of this site will be to add value to you readers! …Assuming of course that you readers are interested professionally in similar topics as I am. For example, I’ll try to provide content, ideas, links, and opinions on healthcare innovation, operations management, entrepreneurship, tech, business strategies, personal productivity, and so on…

Onward!

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Rick Maher – Startup Business Founder – To Be

August 1, 2012

A couple months ago, I left my stable, high paying, highly engaging job as a management consultant to start my own business. Why Leave A Perfectly Good Job? I’ve been asked over and over, why would I want to leave my job… “especially in this economy.” Two reasons: I loved my job and my employer, […]

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ASU Supply Chain Program Notoriety

October 27, 2010

I just came across the video below lauding the WP Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and in particular the Supply Chain Management program. I happen to have a Bachelor of Science in Supply Chain Management from this very program. Of course it is good to hear that the program is maintaining it’s […]

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