Decide.com is an unbiased shopping adviser that has developed and continually modifies a scientific formula that utilizes millions of points of publicly available data; the output of which is a numeric score ranging from 1-100. The higher the score the better of a deal that current price is which makes it simple for the end user to understand. The amount of data that is pulled into each score is well beyond what any consumers’ research might entail utilizing data from consumer reviews, expert reviews, pricing trends and several other variables that we may not think of to make the most informed decision. There are three major categories at Decide; Electronics, Appliances and Home & Garden. The basic service is free to all users which includes the overall rating score and the ability to see several of the key elements that support the net score such as the expert and consumer reviews. The revenue generation comes in the form of paid memberships which allow increased transparency into the products including a pricing prediction model that is 78% accurate and a money back guarantee where Decide will refund you the difference of a recent purchase that went against their pricing prediction ultimately being sold for less than what your advised purchasing price was. To provide clarity let’s use an example; I want to buy a new TV and have paid for a yearlong subscription to Decide.com. Based on their scientific formula I purchase a Panasonic plasma TV with a 95 rating and the pricing predictor estimates the best near term price is $2,500 so I buy it. A week later that exact model is being sold for $2,300 meaning I over paid by $200. Decide has enough confidence in their model that they will cut you a check for the $200. That eliminates the vast majority of risk to purchase any item that is rated by Decide.
Most of the items on Decide.com are what would be considered big ticket items such as TV’s, blu-ray players, refrigerators or personal sized generators. Decide is setup to allow transparency for any individuals who spend any time researching this big ticket items online especially the individuals who put value both expert and owner reviews. Consumer Reports has a large stake in this field with over 30 million users who utilize their content to research items larger and small. Consumer Reports may not serve well as the one stop shopping advisor though as it is more limited in the sources of content so prospective buyers will use Consumer Reports as a valuable resource in their research but will go other places to supplement their information. Decide is targeting those individuals who want to ensure they have researched their big ticket purchase and are making the best value purchase. So much time can be wasted in this research that much of the saved value is lost but with Decide’s scientific formula it provides a more detailed and accurate set of data quicker than any person could do on their own.
They realize that with their current business model best serves their end users on short-term basis and look mainly for single month subscriptions and key in on the value of referrals to generate their revenue. Decide doesn’t keep their customers throughout the year but relies on them to return the next time they need to buy an expensive piece of electronics. Big ticket items are purchased everyday and individuals are constantly researching them even if they are not truly in the market. Decide relies on referrals to keep the revolving door for paying customers rotating meaning they are bringing paying customers in through the duration of their large purchase and then allowing them to leave relying on them to return for their next purchase and to have their friends and family to come through the cycle as well.
Decide labels their tactics as science and not marketing. The founder I spoke with stated he knew little of marketing to start but has caught on rather well in my opinion. Decide utilizes the media very well to distribute their name and product. They have built a strong relationship with many prominent media writers who often knock on the Decide door for a story so it helps leverage the Decide name. In my opinion this ability to create and maintain these relationships has been a key element to their success to date.