Making a game of e-commerce?

The ever-evolving e-commerce market provides ample opportunity for software experts and retailers alike to capitalise on the British obsession with online shopping, though few truly innovative concepts have launched on the market in recent years, as retailers race to keep up with one another in a crowded market.

Christoph Klingler, Founder of e-commerce site Yipiii, believes he has created a world first. Users of Yipiii use the site to compare the price of products from a number of retailers before using money stored within their Yipiii account to bid £1 on a desired item in the hopes of winning it. Those who win receive the item for free while losers are given their stake back as a discount for that particular item or any other stored on the Yipiii database.

Klingler explained to Retail Gazette that you cannot lose using the site as it is a standard affiliate partnership that reinvests user commissions.

“This is a new product that produces a win-win situation,” he explained.

“We talked to some shops when developing this and they liked the idea that customers could win something with a gaming element. We tried to create a model that allowed people to play in a risk-free way to win things.It was aimed at having fun, rather than just a plain transaction as why can’t shopping be a little bit fun?”

Christophe Klingler Yipiii Making a game of e commerce?

Christophe Klingler, Founder of Yipiii, claims users cannot lose money

The company, launched with partner Affiliate Windows, has a Maltese gaming licence to ensure transparency though it claims that this created confusion around the time of launch.

Last month, the Mail on Sunday published an article accusing the company of encouraging gambling, adding in a devastating blow that, despite spending £162 on the site, the undercover reporter won merely a goldfish bowl worth £19.99.

Klingler said: “We couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw this feature. The reporters averted their eyes from all the facts and omitted certain key facts.”

Indeed, Yipiii stores details of every single transaction and play which is stored and supervised, allowing them to track information on a single game. This wealth of information allowed the company to prove that the Mail on Sunday had in fact won a £400 iPad, a £100 iPod and £35 of flowers.

Despite vindication following a printed apology, the need for damage control is evident, as Klingler points out that dozens of affiliate partner retailers cut their ties with the business following the negative media attention.

“As you can’t lose money, it is not a traditional gambling site though there is a gaming element,” Klingler adds.

“When we developed the system, lawyers told us there is no legal framework for this as it doesn’t exist and that to be on the safe side, we have to apply for a gaming licence even though we give the money back and it can be used as a deposit (as you can withdraw the money whenever you want).”

Such an option presented the company with a USP as all aspects of the site adhere to safety and security regulations and Klinger notes that the Maltese gaming authorities are the most sophisticated and progressive in the world.

“We chose the UK to launch the product as it is the world’s most sophisticated e-commerce market and it was a purely commercial decision,” he commented.

“We could’ve launched a year ago but we put it off in order to get this gaming licence to be sure we are watertight, when invariably people ask questions we can say that we have followed due diligence and adhered to the law to protect consumers. Ironically, by getting this licence we have created confusion.”

Klingler believes that the furore over the gaming element is already dying down and reveals that some big retailers who were spooked by the coverage have already reaffirmed their commitment to the project.

The flexible approach of the company is key to its success, he believes, adding that international expansion is planned over the coming months.

“Retailers can have an affiliate relationship with us so that we can display their products on our site and this generates revenues. Or there is an option for a direct partnership, whereby retailers can implement our system in their shop and give users the chance to win their products only.

“Shoppers are not loyal anymore, they just go for best deals and if you can offer a one-off game, this will entice shoppers. There is truly so much potential here for our emerging company to change the face of e-commerce.”

This Post was originally appeared on ‘Retail Gazette

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