In light of the positive feedback we’ve received on our recent blog posts pertaining to daily deals websites, we’ve decided to interview Stu Wall, CEO of Signpost.
Signpost is an online social community where consumers can go to find daily deals in their area. In his interview, Stu spotlights some of the major differences between Signpost and other daily deals sites, as well as focuses on some of the many benefits that Signpost provides to both businesses and consumers.
See below for this exclusive interview:
1. Tell us a little bit about Signpost and the benefits it provides businesses.
Signpost is a leading social community for deal seekers. Included on our site are deals submitted by city dwellers—such as sample sales and happy hour specials, as well as exclusive prepaid offers that are developed by merchants, such as $8 for an $18 men’s haircut on a Monday.
Earlier this year we unveiled the Signpost Merchant Center, a self-service tool to help local businesses create and distribute prepaid offers in real time. Unlike other daily deals sites, the Signpost Merchant Center gives businesses the freedom and flexibility to set their own terms and create offers to maximize traffic for when business is typically slow. For example, if Monday is the slowest day at a spa, a business is invited to create its own discount for that particular day, to help maximize capacity and increase revenue.
2. How does Signpost differ from other daily deals sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial?
Since the Signpost Merchant Center is a self-service tool, it eliminates the cost of a large sales force. As a result, Signpost’s fees to post and market deals are much lower than Groupon-like clones.
As merchants create their offers, they’ll notice that Signpost provides flexibility to set their own terms. Merchants are able to cap how many vouchers they would like to sell, as well as specify particular days or times that a voucher can be redeemed.
Signpost also offers more customer interaction compared to other deal sites. Signpost allows merchants to create recurring offers, which helps businesses develop a reliable customer base. In addition, the Signpost platform enables merchants to message customers directly, making it easy for merchants to answer any questions or remind customers to use their voucher.
3. How do consumers benefit from utilizing Signpost’s services?
There are hundreds of unique finds in each city. On Signpost, locals are able to help find, share, create, and rate deals that matter to them. With Signpost’s community approach, city dwellers are able to find the deals that matter most.
Typically, the prepaid deals submitted by merchants offer the best “bang for your buck.” Consumers looking to discover their neighborhood are often drawn to these deals, not only because of the savings, but also because of the proximity. Once a consumer discovers a local gem, we often see great results, especially when a merchant creates a reoccurring offer.
4. What was the inspiration behind starting Signpost? Specifically, what did you see in other daily deals sites that you wanted to improve on by starting Signpost?
I started Signpost during my second year at Harvard Business School as I became aware of the pain points local businesses face. My sister owns a pottery business in Indiana, and I saw how difficult it was for her to keep a steady flow of customers coming through the door. This was back in December 2008, pre-Groupon. I knew my sister had no problem getting customers in the store on weekends, but it was difficult for her to maximize capacity on the weekdays. I thought Signpost would be a way to help businesses attract customers, with customers benefitting from trying a business at the fraction of the cost.
As stories unfold about negative experiences with deal sites, Signpost strives to address the “cons” discussed by business owners. This includes limiting the number of vouchers, limiting redemption periods, and more.
Signpost is a community-driven social website that connects shoppers with deals that matter to them, and helps merchants create relevant deals that they can market to the community. The site has received funding from Spark Capital, Google Ventures, and angel investors. Signpost deals are available in Boston, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.
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