When I was introduced to PINCHme at TechStyle Lounge in September, I knew the Australian venture was going to be huge before they even debuted in the US. The thought behind it seemed like Birchbox, but free. The idea of getting complimentary care packages sent to you with products that you choose seemed too good to be true.
Since their US launch on November 12th, 2013, the company has had over 400,000 people signup for the chance to get their very own blue boxes sent to their homes. I had the chance to pick Jeremy Reid’s brain, PINCHme’s Executive Chairman, to find out how they started this consumer revolution.
- How did you come up with the concept for PINCHme?
JR: I started looking at the way CPG (consumer packaged goods) companies were marketing their latest products, and it became evident that product sampling was the most effective means. However, I realized that product sampling in its traditional form is very wasteful and inefficient, so I started looking at the ways in which the CPG industry had embraced the digital age. It became apparent that in comparison to other industries, CPG was significantly behind the curve. I thought that if I could marry both in an efficient and accountable sampling platform, it would prove as a pretty exciting initiative.
- Where did the company name come from?
JR: ‘Pinch me, I’m dreaming. How great is this? I get to try all these new and great products for free in exchange for my feedback.’
- What made you decide that the US should be your second market?
JR:It was always our intention to launch PINCHme in the US. We launched first in Australia, serving as our beta market since the PINCHme business model did not yet exist, or rather had been tested before in the US. Following the success of the Australia launch, it was always our goal to expand to the US within 12 months, which we achieved.
- When PINCHMe launched in the US, the website advertised an once in a lifetime trip to Australia for two winners and their guest. Were the winners chosen?
JR: The competition closed on December 31, 2013 and winners will be announced next week.
- What can you tell me about your experience with “the power of free” through this experience so far?
JR: Free clearly sells very well. In the past 8 weeks alone, we have had over 400k consumers sign up to be members of PINCHme. This, by any means, is extraordinary growth. Our goal, over time, is to build a multi-member community, which we are on track to deliver.
- How do you decide what products get featured? Are there only specific items you guys are willing to showcase or is it “the more, the merrier”?
JR: Yes, we have a curated approach where we are really trying to offer our members both exciting and new quality products to try. In order for sampling to work well, consumers must have a rewarding experience with the product. Thus, it’s important for us to ensure that we maintain a high standard of offerings to keep both our members engaged and to deliver an attractive experience for our brand partners.
- What’s the craziest story you have through the brand thus far? It could be pertaining to a customer or brand or the experience of building up the company, etc. You can be as vague or specific as you want.
JR: We recently ran a campaign for a major car air-freshener company. The company was focusing their marketing efforts on an older demographic that they believed were buying more expensive cars and wanted to keep those cars smelling nice. Once they offered the product on the PINCHme platform, we saw significant demand from a much younger demographic. Particularly, 18-29 year olds.
What we discovered through our insight was that the product was substantially more popular for younger people who were smokers concerned with keeping their cars smelling good. Through the PINCHme platform, this brand now has a whole new target market to go after.
- Your company is very social media driven. Can you tell me why you think this was important for PinchMe?
JR: In today’s world, where everybody is connected online by numerous social media platforms, it’s critical for all brands to have a strong social media presence. Additionally, brands need to be well represented within the social realm, as many consumers today will look at peer-to-peer recommendations before buying a product.
- What would your dream accomplishment from this company be?
JR: From a consumer standpoint, PINCHme is the go-to destination where consumers can discover, discuss, and buy new CPG products. From a manufacturer’s standpoint, PINCHme is the preferred media platform for launching new consumer products and receiving valuable feedback.
- Any exciting news coming up for 2014 that you’d like to divulge?
JR: PINCHme is currently in discussions with several major CPG companies, where they will be using the platform to launch new and exciting products into the market. Also, we are on target to have the largest database in the sample box category.
Stephanie Carino has spent over the past 10 years working in the city in the Fashion, Food and Event industries. She currently works in the PR Department at leading Technology and Business Book Publisher, Apress. On the side, she also writes event coverage and reviews for, Socially Superlative, a NYC-based event website, covering predominantly food, travel and entertainment stories. Connect with Stephanie on Twitter.