Interview with Salescoop Co-Founder

Salescoop is a site that is looking to power collective commerce, which is a way of getting a group of people together in order to drive up demand in order to receive discounts with large orders. In essence, Salescoop is an organized social experiment in the reorganizing supply and demand for the purpose of benefiting the consumers. Below is an interview with Salescoop co-founder Dave Ambrose, who was also kind enough to extend 500 invites to Social Times readers.

Kristen Nicole of SocialTimes: What was the inspiration for you to create Salescoop?

Dave Ambrose of Salescoop: Salescoop started as a way to create a more simple, social and connected shopping experience in today’s web via the power of group-buying. While in college, I spent countless hours on car forums looking for new parts. I started to notice that users on message boards were getting amazing deals on really expensive accessories (like exhaust systems or rims) through group-buys, at times saving up to 70% off retail price.

Justin Tsang, my co-founder and college roommate, also had a related experience growing up in China through a concept called tuangou. Chinese consumers would work together online to assemble offline (as in flashmobs) before a pre-selected retail store to haggle in numbers for better prices. We thought about these two models, sales via online automobile forums and an offline mechanism to help reduce prices through tuangou, and created Salescoop during the Spring of 2008 to fit today’s current landscape.

Kristen Nicole: What is collective commerce?

Dave Ambrose: Collective commerce works on the principle of economies of scale, where the more demand for a product means the lower the prices. At Salescoop, our goal was to shift purchasing power back to the end-consumer while providing members considerable savings through the efficiency of group-buys. However, unlike traditional group-buys through message boards or tuangou, we built a new and transparent distribution channel on top of the social web that accelerates the process of getting better deals, together.

Kristen Nicole: From a high level, is Salescoop essentially trying to level the market in order to support the existence of a true economy’s supply and demand relationship between buyers and sellers?

Dave Ambrose: That’s a great question. Yes, in many ways, retail (whether brick-and-mortar or online) today is somewhat inefficient and ripe for innovation. New models need to be created to support what consumers are looking for: trusted recommendations from peers, various reviews across different products and the lowest prices. Salescoop aims to maximize efficiency between interested consumers and those products from brands/vendors in order to generate the most amount of savings either online or offline. Our goal was make Salescoop simple enough to use that even my mother could use it.

Kristen Nicole: Given the economy and the current recession, how can Salescoop help consumers in the short and long term?

Dave Ambrose: It’s an interesting environment to be creating a product in the e-commerce/retail industry but we believe it’s the perfect time for Salescoop to open its doors given our core belief: better deals, together. In the short term, we’re helping consumers save money on luxury/lifestyle products that matter to them – with group-buy discounts ranging from 15-50% off retail. We’re focusing on creating a targeted channel of products that can be accessed in a limited-time format, helping to move goods based on current demand. In the longer term, we’re going to continue to broaden and build out other consumer-facing industry channels while enabling a platform for social group-buying on a significant and wide selection of products, anywhere in the world.

Kristen Nicole: Any plans for integration with social networks and/or their subsequent platform?

Dave Ambrose: Absolutely. Right now, we’ve integrated around several dozen APIs including Twitter, Facebook and Gmail to help members spread savings amongst their friends. We’re particularly excited about the future of Facebook Connect and its ability to produce an even larger viral mechanism as well as connecting into more mobile applications. Mobile e-commerce is an area to be on the lookout for in 2009.

Kristen Nicole: How has private beta testing been going so far?

Dave Ambrose: We’re going to be sending out more invitations to the closed beta soon and would be thrilled to have Social Times readers join in on the fun. We have 500 invitations to Salescoop available here. Based on the feedback we’ve been hearing from Salescoop beta members, they want more products!

Kristen Nicole: When will your public beta launch be ready to roll out?

Dave Ambrose: As we fine tune more components of Salescoop and create the best possible shopping experience for our members, we’ll open Salescoop in the coming months for all interested consumers who are looking for better deals.