Target and Toys R Us posted overall sales declines during the holidays.
QponTree.com will offer discounts at Chocolate.com and other small, specialty sites.
Small, niche web-only retailers soon will have another way to attract new customers—Groupon-style. On July 5, QponTree.com will debut with 50% to 90% off products sold by online-only businesses.
As with Groupon and LivingSocial, shoppers at QponTree.com will receive daily e-mails alerting them to the offers for the day. Instead of purchasing a voucher that they bring into a store, spa or restaurant, however, consumers will receive promo codes that can instantly be redeemed at online stores.
Next Tuesday, for example, QponTree plans to feature a $10 voucher for $20 worth of products at Chocolate.com, says Tyler Ackerman, founder of the daily deal site. The other 60 or so businesses that have signed on so far are mostly lesser-known, and very specialized, web-only companies. Some include OutdoorFirePitStore.com, candle retailer CandleBay.com and mobile phone accessory merchant CellPig.com.
“It’s about being able to take a little niche store that may not be able to get exposure and now they have a chance to get out to the entire country,” Ackerman says. “It’s a new form of advertising for online companies. Most other advertisers can’t guarantee new customers. This can.”
QponTree.com marks the latest venture from Ackerman, the 25-year-old founder of kitchen cabinet retailer TheRTAStore.com, which he launched in 2009 and operates with his mother and four siblings. Ahead of its launch on July 5, QponTree.com has 30,000 e-mail subscribers and nearly 4,000 fans on Facebook. Ackerman expects to have 500,000 subscribers by the end of the year.