James, the founder of GroupTry, came up with the initial business idea about five years ago. He quit his job at Microsoft and stay at home to focus on this company. Currently, he has the business model patent pending and is looking for VC funding.
GroupTry is a unique social network service platform that helps consumers easily find and validate products, either through own hand-on trial experiences or trusted information sharing.
Throughout the world, online shopping has grown exponentially. The growth of online shopping is characterized by strong consumer demands and increasing products available. However, a fundamental problem is that consumers can neither see or try products before purchases nor totally rely on the online reviews. This prevents a high portion of customers from placing orders. Even in traditional local shopping, many consumers are hesitant to buy new products they are not familiar with.
To solve this problem, GroupTry creates a social network platform that combines both online and offline services to help customers find and validate their desired products before purchase through hands-on experiences or reliable community information sharing. The core idea of GroupTry is to provide customers product or demos for free trial. The difference from the current try-and-return model is that GroupTry encourage customer to pass alone the product to their friends or community groups, simply by following few registration procedures on the website. During this process, GroupTry customers can share their user experience with their friends and community. If the customer decide to purchase the demo, they will have exclusive discounts when ordering from GroupTry website.
GroupTry’s current services include Local Try, user experience sharing and product ordering.
- Local Try – GroupTry will provide demo or products from manufactures for customers to have take-home trial or on-site trial. Customers can choose to pick up the demo from GroupTry’s local affiliate partner or from their GroupTry friends.
- User experiences sharing, product oriented forums, and local supports – customers can hear product reviews and learn how to use the product from friends and community. They can also find trusted reviews and communicate with the community on GroupTry website.
- Product Ordering – customers can order products from GroupTry with exclusive member discounts, referral credits, or points.
Group Try has developed effective channels to reach consumers by working with local partners. Local partners are businesses, organizations or individuals certified, authorized or trusted by GroupTry for local trial. In most cases, free or discounted demos are firstly delivered to the local partners, then these local partners will serve on-site or take-home trials for local consumers. At the beginning stage, GroupTry does not consider to target at large local retailers as local partners due to high barriers to entry.
GroupTry will focus on three major types of local partners: local small or home business, non-profit organization volunteers and school club members, and trusted VIP consumers. Members of these partners have high incentives to participate in the GroupTry network and expand the connections. For example, organizations pro environmental protection will have a high incentive to encourage members try the green products like power meter, which can help them examine the power efficiency at home. Besides, GroupTry provide referral discounts to encourage current members to invite their friends join the network.
GroupTry is a powerful marketing platform and distribution channel for manufactures to market new products in any targeted markets effectively.
At present, GroupTry focus on products in entertainment (i.e. Xbox, Apple TV), wellness (i.e. Nike+ fuel band), and energy efficiency (i.e. power meter) sector. The demos and products will be provided directly by manufactures that are looking for market distribution channel and user feedback data. First, this is a unique channel for manufacturers to introduce new products to the targeted market fast and effectively with minimum cost. Especially for small manufacturers, the cost to sell products online or enter local stores is too high. Second, the free trial can reduce the high product return rate as well as gather reliable and confidential user feedback to improve the product.
This is an innovative business model with patent pending. GroupTry can become a “game changer” in the market by changing the customer behavior and creating a whole new shopping model.