The Crunch: FatWallet is an online comparison shopping site that’s cultivated a community of savers through its active forums, daily deals, and cashback program for over 1,700 stores. Millions of consumers flock to FatWallet as a ‘one-stop shop’ to save on online purchases, earn on average 2-10% cash back at select stores, and share deals and tips with members. As a desirable platform for attracting new customers, FatWallet sends a surplus of traffic to retailers through offers.
It was the year 1999: the euro became the standardized currency in Europe. President Bill Clinton was acquitted of all impeachment charges. Star Wars: Episode 1 was released as a successor in the beloved series. In the midst of these cultural phenomenons, Tim Storm sat in his spare bedroom and created a small online forum for the World Wide Web. The mere $100 investment started out as a hobby, a small opportunity to help shoppers save on the web. Storm knew that people were more powerful when they shared knowledge together, so creating a centralized forum allowed anyone to post scam alerts, shopping tips, and personal investment advice. Seventeen years and millions of posts later, Storm’s initial concept is what powers FatWallet’s success today.
FatWallet, a coupon and deals website that has over 6 million registered members, still champions the consumer through thousands of deals, money-saving features, and active forums. By putting shoppers first, FatWallet created a vast community that other sites failed to mimic — making FatWallet an ideal platform to advertise brands. Retailers have the opportunity to reach out to millions of shoppers daily when they partner with the site and, in return, increase traffic flow. FatWallet is more than just a consumer savings site; its a powerful marketing partner for retailers, too.
We chatted with Brent Shelton, FatWallet’s PR Director, to talk more in-depth about the site’s successful growth and why retailers should use FatWallet for their next marketing move.
Bridging the Gap: FatWallet Connects ‘Evangelists’ and Retailers
Once a retailer ranks well for their product, getting millions of eyeballs on their product is the next step to increasing revenue. By fostering an online haven for shoppers to share saving secrets and deals, FatWallet has attracted over 6 million registered members to its site and forums — which gives retailers a unique opportunity to advertise their brands. Featuring deals on FatWallet is just one way to gain traffic from this site.
Some retailers have mixed feelings about coupons and view them as throwing money down the drain, but FatWallet’s growing success proves otherwise. The site has paid out over $60 million in cashback revenue to members and receives more than 2 million unique visitors every month. Imagine all the potential customers that could come to your website just by offering coupons on FatWallet.
Once retailers have the chance to dangle a deal that shoppers can’t resist, there’s another way they can promote their brand: using FatWallet’s forums. If members post a deal or praise your product in one of the forums, you could potentially have thousands of eyeballs read about your brand. Marketing your brand on FatWallet is incredibly easy and comes with a surplus of benefits.
Using Forums as a Giant Megaphone for Advertising Your Brand
FatWallet acts as a megaphone to spread the word about brands through its active forums. With 5 categories and 29 main forums, members are encouraged to discuss topics like how to avoid fake freebie scams or when to shop for TVs. But most importantly, millions of members share deals they’ve found with others in forum threads.
Getting coupon novices and money-saving veterans alike to talk about your brand and product could mean an increase in sales. With a global audience and variety of interests, FatWallet is a prime advertising partner for most retailers.
“I think what retailers can learn from FatWallet, and any of these communities, is that consumers are out there trying to find the best way to save money. The retailers that really step up to the plate have the opportunity to win these evangelists over.”
– Brent Shelton, PR Director for FatWallet
Most consumers try to find the best way to save money on purchases, especially when they have easy access to digital coupons and cashback opportunities. FatWallet members are voracious deal hunters who continuously share deals on the forum as soon as they find them. So even if retailers don’t post every coupon they offer on FatWallet, it’ll most likely end up on a forum thread.
Listening to Outspoken Consumers Creates Loyal Shoppers
Shoppers have become more vocal about what they love and hate about products and brands since the emergence of social media. If a consumer experiences bad customer service, he or she can send off a heated tweet or post a lengthy tirade on Facebook. FatWallet’s forums work similarly as cyber soapboxes for customers who want to boast about a deal or warn others about negative experiences.
Most retailers can use these forums as a learning curve of what consumers want and what brands lack, such as low prices or offering new products. Getting honest feedback is one of the best ways retailers can improve their businesses, and FatWallet serves as a centralized hub for collecting this type of information.
“A lot of our consumer community ends up being evangelists,” Shelton said. “They’re pretty outspoken. Any time you have consumers that hang out in the community and post deals as a badge of honor, the challenge for the retailer is to be one of those stores.”
FatWallet also posts consumer surveys saturated with great data so retailers can have a clear insight into evolving consumer trends. Having an extensive audience allows the site to collect specific statistics like knowing that 1 in 4 people buy a new TV during Super Bowl sales and 4 in 10 consumers say Black Friday has the best deals of the holiday season. These invaluable surveys help retailers be cognizant of shifting trends, which comes in handy if retailers are looking for new ways to give consumers what they want.
How FatWallet’s Money-Saving Features Benefit Retailers
It’s almost impossible to be a FatWallet member without using a couple of FatWallet’s money-saving features. First, shoppers can easily redeem a Kohl’s coupon or Groupon cash-back offer through the site’s easy-to-use platform, or even refer friends to FatWallet and get money from the sale. For mobile-friendly folk, using the FatWallet Cash Back or Deal Hunter apps also help save money on the go. From the desktop to mobile phone, FatWallet has worked hard to make saving easy for consumers.
As members continue to use FatWallet for their online shopping needs, retailers have the opportunity to market to more and more customers. Between the active forums and new money-saving features, FatWallet will continue to gain more members, which could be potential customers for your brand.
Why Crowd-Sourced Deals Help Retailers Get More Traffic
One of FatWallet’s most unique features is getting crowd-sourced deals from members. Coupons and other offers can be shared daily on any forum threads, letting other members know about them. This is a great marketing bonus for retailers who can gain extra traffic from these forums.
While the staff members find and publish great deals every day, the FatWallet deal hunters enjoy sharing their ‘badges of honor’ (i.e., coupons and deals they’ve found) with others to help them save. When a member post one of your deals and recommends it to others, those consumers are more likely to redeem the offer.
Becoming FatWallet: the Dot-com Culture in the Midwest
With a beautiful view of the Rock River, FatWallet is now settled in the Ironworks campus in downtown Beloit, Wisconsin where all the coupon and cashback magic happens. As the company grows, FatWallet makes sure its team of ‘Walleteers’ work in a happy atmosphere, starting with the work space. Having an open-work environment is important for collaborating fresh ideas during free company lunches, all-hands meetings, and any other time of the day.
“Since we’re known as this consumer community online, we have adopted that same culture at our headquarters,” Shelton said. “It opens up communication and really expands the culture where you’re not only co-workers but also friends.”
Despite being acquired by Ebates (who eventually was bought by Rakuten), the comparison shopping site remains consumer-focused to help shoppers save money at over 1,700 popular online stores. Through this marketing move, FatWallet has built enough trust with shoppers to gain 160,000+ users a day through word-of-mouth and help retailers get more traffic.
Building More Trust & Gain More Customers With FatWallet
While FatWallet remains one of the top coupon and cashback sites, the company is putting more emphasis on creating tools and apps that help shoppers find and share deals anywhere. FatWallet knows that shoppers trust other shoppers, and encouraging more user-generated content will ultimately help retailers promote their offers more effectively.
One of FatWallet’s new developments is allowing users to post deals to the site faster and easier. FatWallet To Go (beta-test secret code name) is a browser extension that allows deal hunters to quickly post a deal to the site, or review and interact with comments on existing deals, all the while on a retailer’s site. This tool will increase the number of offers on FatWallet so members can have access to more sales. As a user surfs the web, he or she can click the browser extension icon at the top, a drop down window auto-fills deal info which they can quickly edit, then hit “Post to Hot Deals.” It only takes a few seconds for members to post deals and/or review comments and tips from other users’ deals, which is a game changer for FatWallet and its partners.
Creating a better experience for the consumer will always remain at the top of FatWallet’s agenda, but helping retailers gain loyal customers is a priority, too. While the company ‘champions the consumer’ from the site’s layout to handpicked deals, FatWallet works with partners to expose their brand to a mammoth community of shoppers who are looking for new retailers to love and, most importantly, shop at.