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Pretty Penny for the discerning young female shopper in search of online e‑commerce offers

E‑commerce man­agers and e‑commerce ana­lysts alike might be intrigued by a new coupon­ing start­up which tar­gets young, female con­sumers – espe­cial­ly if they’re pro­fes­sion­als or fashionistas.

Pret­ty Pen­ny iden­ti­fies the e‑commerce site a vir­tu­al cus­tomer is view­ing and then, with a brows­er add-on, scours the site for offers and coupons rel­e­vant to the user’s inter­ests, deft­ly pre­sent­ing them in a neat user interface.

Carv­ing a fem­i­nine niche in the coupon­ing space

The startup’s two female, MBA-wield­ing founders wish to remain unnamed at this stage, as they’re oper­at­ing the com­pa­ny in boot­strap mode and still have full-time jobs. But the two have been assid­u­ous­ly devel­op­ing the com­pa­ny for nine months, some­thing that imme­di­ate­ly becomes appar­ent with a vis­it to the well-designed, aes­thet­i­cal­ly pleas­ing and user-friend­ly site.

It may seem that the coupon space is so crowd­ed that a fledg­ling firm has lit­tle chance of mak­ing it, espe­cial­ly when pit­ted against Goliaths like Retail­MeNot, whose web­site just passed the 450 mil­lion vis­its mark and boasts 500,000 offers. But Pret­ty Penny’s cre­ators believe they’re onto a unique angle. While Retail­MeNot is an excep­tion, most of the oth­er coupon­ing sites out there hold lit­tle appeal to women, who find them too “spam­my.” Pret­ty Pen­ny, by con­trast, looks and feels total­ly dif­fer­ent, with its easy user inter­face and pleas­ing­ly ele­gant site design.

The firm sources its coupon codes from a range of places, includ­ing feeds and aggre­ga­tors. It’s also man­u­al­ly entered some of the codes (like those post­ed online or sent via an e‑commerce brand’s email) into its database.

From beta to better?

Now in open beta, Pret­ty Penny’s founders are devel­op­ing patent-pend­ing crawler tech­nol­o­gy which will ven­ture forth and comb the web from end to end in search of deals (although, come to think of it, does the web have ends?) The next ver­sion of the app will have this fea­ture built-in.

At present, the com­pa­ny has 200,000 offers to its name derived from 12,000 dif­fer­ent mer­chants, 1,700 of which involve direct rela­tion­ships. The lat­ter includes Saks, Bloom­ing­dales and Macy’s, and a num­ber of beau­ty brands are lin­ing up to offer exclu­sive deals.

The unnamed CEO says that the site has been built around an under­stand­ing of women’s behav­ior and mind­set when they go shop­ping online, using an algo­rithm that makes rel­e­vant offers tai­lored to a giv­en shopper’s preferences.

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