CherryPicka is a very early stage South African site that has an innovative business model.  CherryPicka is an online new product showcase which allows customers to purchase and try new and recently launched products at a significant discount to the recommended retail price and encourages them to write reviews.

Business Model:
CherryPickas encourages companies with new products to offer a certain number of these products to CherryPicka for free, CherryPicka then adds a small percentage and in turn offers them to their membership to try and review.

In addition, CherryPicka intends to leverage banners ads and other forms of advertising as this site picks up traction.

A smart and interesting element to this is CherryPicka does not take ownership of these items but rather agrees the quantity of new products or services to be donated and then passes on the customer contact details directly to the companies.  Smart because it reduces their costs and also because the companies gain:

1)  A series of customer reviews online (creating buzz and links)
2)  The contact details of customers interested in their products

…at no cost aside from ‘donating’ a certain number of trial products that they would likely need to offer to start the buzz rolling through more traditional, perhaps less impactful channels.

Some Core Functionality:

  • Each product has a dedicated page which ‘showcases’ its uniqueness, selling messages. user reviews and link backs to the launching companies homepage
  • Send to Friend functionality for each product, alongside the capability to review and find out more information
  • RSS Feeds of new items so customers can be updated. Necessary as items seem to sell out quickly

By offering deep discounts on new and innovative products the customers are getting a great deal. This should encourage the early adopters and first movers to try the products with little risk.  As they are getting a great deal, they should feel encouraged to review the item.

The companies are getting their products out to interested consumers and this can help provide the data they may need about customer acceptance to help secure new distribution channels – particularly useful for young service and product companies that are struggling to penetrate new retailers, catalog companies and so on.

The reviews are not controlled so they can be positive and negative – better negative comments are instantly seen by the manufacturers and inventors than a grass root negative campaign takes hold without their ability to consider the feedback, respond or change. 

A few little dislikes:

1)  Great concept but mostly limited to South Africa – Anyone want to tackle other countries?
2)  As its new this could explain it but a significant number of the items are sold out
3)  More items required. Stay tuned, this seems to be because its a new site

My Virtual Investment:
With my virtual $1M, I would use $100K to pick CherryPicka.