Elevator Pitch: The Shop Stop

Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Marc Peston, managing director and cofounder of The Shop Shop.

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.

The Shop Stop is the secret to smarter shopping by acting as your online shopping mall to the world. You can find all your favourite stores, the best price on any product, exclusive vouchers and offers and the best part is after you've made your purchases we put loads of cash back into your pockets.

We are all passionate online shoppers and after seeing the (cashback) concept in the US and UK we figured it's about time Australian's get the benefit too. If you are already shopping online with any of our 500+ partner stores, then getting cashback through The Shop Stop is an absolute "no brainer".

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

Our business is self-funded and putting our initial capital investment aside, our business model works by paying the customer cashback on the sale they made after we have been paid by the store for generating that sale. We therefore don't need to outlay money for payments and can reinvest the profits in growth.

Our business will grow through a combination of social media strategies, strategic partnerships and PR to help spread the word, find new members and give Australians the understanding and confidence about this new way of shopping online.

What's the biggest challenge facing your business?

The cashback business is a balancing act. On one hand you have to find the right stores to partner with that your members want and offer attractive cashback rates to ensure they use our site. On the other hand you need to ensure that you leave enough margin to make a profit and invest in finding new members.

I would also say, education is a large part of bringing a concept like this to the Australian market. People are often sceptical (with good reason) and therefore, ensuring that you explain everything very clearly and making their experience a pleasurable one is key so that they continue to return and tell their friends.

How do your differentiate your business from your competitors?

We don't want to partner with thousands of stores that our customers will not want to shop through, rather we focus on listening to our customers and finding the right stores to partner with. We have also simplified our site to make the user experience more pleasurable and a simple extension of how they already shop online and beyond.

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

Tough question! I couldn't live without my iPhone as I move around a lot and always need to be reachable and know what's going on with all areas of the business. Our team uses project management software such as Asana and Evernote which make life a lot easier as we can store, share and monitor ongoing tasks, notes, files and workload.

What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?

Believe in yourself, your team and your idea -- cause if every other entrepreneur out there can do it, why the hell can't you!

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