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Closing the Loop

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In the age of the daily deal, SkuLoop hopes to put the retailer back in control with new web, mobile and social media promotions.

SkuLoop founder and CEO Michelle Crames says consumer excitement is being taken away by some of these new business models. She says there’s exclusivity and uniqueness that companies like Gilt Groupe or HauteLook create with a limited-time, limited-quantity curated experience. Then there’s the other side of the spectrum, the deal-driven models that erode retailer margins.

“No national retailer should do a Groupon,” says Crames, who previously served as CEO of Lean Forward Media. “The brands themselves should not be giving their goods to these wash sales when the retailers are the ones who have built these brands. They should be the ones benefitting from these models.”

Crames says SkuLoop gives retailers control by using new customer touchpoints like Facebook, Twitter, blogs and partner sites.

“We help the retailers to create new, exciting types of promotions that are going to basically create urgency around people buying,” she says. “We help them publish those across a mix of different paid, free and earned media and then measure those results.”

How it works
SkuLoop works with retailers to implement flash sales, location-based offers, group buys and mobile programs. Retailers upload images to the SkuLoop console; from there, they indicate whether they want a flash sale via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, mobile or a widget on their website.

“We also want to output it to publicize in-store,” Crames says. “They might choose all of these different channels. … Then they can actually see where people come from, what they ultimately buy and [they may] learn Twitter worked great for this promotion but Facebook didn’t.”

Responsive planning
At a single-digit percentage of sales vs. Groupon’s 50 percent of sales, SkuLoop can basically centralize efforts and spread costs across multiple retailers, Crames says. It can also provide responsive planning that many analytics-driven companies lack.

“Let’s say Princess Catherine [wore] a particular designer … on her Los Angeles tour,” she says. For a retailer that has that designer “to be able to push that out to all of those different channels with an added incentive is very compelling. Just the notion of doing things in season and being really quick and responsive is something that a lot of the current systems don’t allow. We add additional flexibility and sophistication.”

SkuLoop also offers group buys, digital circulars, interactive games and contests and measurability.

“If you’re going to try these different promotions, you want to measure them,” Crames says. “We’re very much about closing the loop so that we can ultimately provide information about how profitable these promotions and these customers are.”