November 12, 2013
Paul Nichols, founder of Grapeword, truly believes that his customer acquisition and retention company is the next big trend in daily deal models. According to him, merchants are used and abused in the daily deals industry, and consumers find themselves fed up with email spam.
“Some current solutions are better than others, but even the better ones lock merchants into risky deals that often lose tens of thousands of dollars,” explains Nichols. “People don’t always realize that 50 percent off hamburgers for six months can bring a restaurant to its knees – and the more ‘successful’ it is, the worse the problem gets.”
So while Nichols has built Grapeword to be a solution to this problem, it begs the question of how he is getting the merchants, customers, and potential investors on board. His journey has not been without headache, but he has the support of an entire community behind him to keep him going.
“Daily deals is an ugly industry, and the fact that we’re actually an alternative to daily deals is of little comfort to potential investors,” says Nichols.
So if the problem, as Nichols states, is getting the decision makers to find out about them, the task becomes getting Grapeword into as many different hands as possible via grassroots marketing. His small but experienced sales team to goes out into the community and get in touch directly with merchants to show them about Grapeword.
Nichols and his team have partnered with local businesses, charities, and they host events in Atlanta almost every week. And while the investors might not see Grapeword as a perfect solution, the local businesses and customers on the platform are beyond excited.
The beauty of the platform, which merchants recognize, is that they get to create their own deals, and aren’t locked into any sort of contract at all. Consumers then get to decide what they want and, more importantly, when they want it.
When he began, Nichols didn’t even have the daily deals industry in mind. However, he is nonetheless ramping up his offense to give merchants and consumers both a break from the status quo daily deal industry. And the competition is relatively nonexistent.
“It’s a bit of a stretch to say that we have any true competitors; every day I wake up and check for another effective modern marketing solution and each day I’m shocked that we’re the only ones doing this,” says Nichols.
To go along with Grapeword’s marketing strategy, Nichols is releasing the ticketing and ecommerce platform this month by hosting a Charity Challenge event. Three local causes will participate in a t-shirt design and sales competition, each receiving a minimum donation of $500 from Grapeword. The winner gets $2,500, and if 1,000 shirts are sold, that jackpot climbs to $5,000.
“We love being involved in the community and whenever we can find a way to spend our marketing dollars helping local businesses and causes, we jump on it,” says Nichols, smiling.
Grapeword was featured at Tech Cocktail’s Atlanta Mixer & Startup Showcase on October 7th.
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