[Promotional post for imutual, by Natasha Clark]
Richard Yendall is transforming the way we shop online, and getting us involved in it. Meet the money-saving site that offers you business shares in a new online business model based on mutuality.
Everyone likes to save money, and in a recession, especially so. In the past few years, cashback, deals and money-saving websites have sprung up all over the internet, promising its users to save their hard-earned cash by offering them a percentage of whatever they spend back as cash. Richard Yendall has gone one step further and made imutual’s members a part of the developing business process by offering them shares in the business.
Founded in 2010, imutual collaborates money-saving tips, cashback, deals and voucher codes with over 3,000 merchants online. It allows its members to carry out shopping as they would usually, but through imutual they get access to offers and cashback on items they would be buying anyway. They also include links to ‘easy cashback’ which features earnings from clicks, filling out surveys, free trials and so on.
He stresses the extensive benefits of having the members play a vital and engaging part in the company, and being rewarded for their loyalty. “When the members own shares, they have a vested interest in enabling the country to succeed, and encouraging it to grow.
“Many successful websites have taken the efforts of their members to succeed, but have nothing to show from it.
Some members have benefitted hugely from purchasing through imutual, with some record cashback reaching up to £500 in a single transaction. The website itself gets around 150,000 clicks per month, which generates around 8,000 transactions, and £3,000 in profit for its members.When Facebook was sold, what did their members get? Nothing. Our model shows our members how much we really value them; we’ve issued 4 million shares in three years.”
imutual have recently taken on staff to help embrace social media, sharing and other online materials to help boost sign-ups. “We’re looking at utilising Facebook and Twitter more, and engaging with our members and potential members through the avenues they explore.”
Through the internet, imutual allows its members to play a key part in the successful development of the company, by receiving dividends, voting rights in annual meetings, and having a general say in the direction of the company.
“Because we’re a PLC, the members will own 90 per cent of our company. We keep accountable and transparent with them by using our forums and other online methods. The internet has changed shopping dramatically, and we plan to embrace these changes to help the online consumer to save more and continue to get amazing deals.”
imutual aims to have over a million members who are also shareholders, and to become the largest money-saving and deals website in the UK – no easy task in such a competitive environment.
Their strategy aims to involve on and offline deals together with high-street and virtual shopping environments. “In the future, we’d love people to be able to walk down the street, spot a great deal, take a picture and upload it to the website in real time. We want to be able to link on and offline shopping together, to support each other.”
It’s not just consumer shopping either, Yendall aims to expand the cooperative model across the consumer market. “The idea of a cooperative is an idea whose time has come.” imutual plans to extend the blueprint to other industries, from online dating to social networks. “With sufficient members, we can use this model to create anything, and the people will benefit because they will own the company too.”
Natasha is Digital Marketing Executive for imutual, conducting PR, social media and online marketing. To contact her, email email@example.com or call 07745 978 698.