By Ben Salisbury
Incahoot use the power of bulk buying to negotiate discount deals for customers who sign up to their services.
We talk to John Evans, the CEO of Incahoot to find out how the company works to save its customers money on broadband, homephone, energy costs and more.
- When did you come up with the idea for Incahoot and how long did it take to get the company established?
Incahoot was founded in 2008 and officially launched to consumers in January 2011. Incahoot is based on a successful Norwegian business called Ownersbuy, which at its height in popularity counted 10% of the Norwegian population as members.
- How has Incahoot grown since its inception? Have you found more interest as a result of the recession?
Since we officially launched in January 2011, our direct membership base has grown to more than 20,000 people. We also reach an additional 10 million people through our partnerships networks.
- Consumers are criticised for being too lazy to switch to a better deal. How does the Incahoot business model counter this?
We’ve recently done research looking at just this and found that 44% of consumers would switch energy suppliers for as little as £100 but 35% still don’t switch. But by making the process simple, easy and quick Incahoot counters switcher apathy. Through our website, users can very easily see if there are savings to be made without spending a lot of time entering in pages of personal info – as you often have to do on a comparison site. Incahoot is also a free to use service so users have nothing to lose by checking our deals.
- In the energy sector, are you able to negotiate with each of the big six suppliers? What about other smaller providers?
We do both! Since we launched in January we’ve had a relationship with First: Utility and have recently added two competitive npower deals to our portfolio
- Do you focus on just one supplier in order to maximise the potential savings?
We know, especially for energy, that different households have different needs and therefore we offer deals from two suppliers to ensure that every family can get a package that’s right for them
- Which discounting areas have been the most popular and have resulted in the best savings for members?
In general, home phone and energy are the areas where consumers save the most money through Incahoot. We recently carried out a series of money makeovers on office workers where we assessed their average spending across all their household bills, and, by signing up through Incahoot, every single person could make savings – most were saving over £500.
- Does Incahoot have plans to move into other areas?
Yes – we’re about to launch a new insurance offer covering home (buildings and contents), car and travel. We’re also looking at moving into pet insurance, home entertainment and financial services in the near future
- Are there any types of household costs that you are unable to move into for regulatory reasons?
- You negotiate discounts for home insurance? How are you able to do this bearing in mind the specific details that relate to each homeowner? Does it work through assessing postcodes?
We’re about to reintroduce our home insurance offer after changing supplier to ensure we’re offering the most thorough package. As with energy, we focus on providing consumers the deal that best suits their needs.
- Is it possible to introduce a similar scheme for car insurance?
Yes – we’re about to launch this
- What do you think, from the experience you have had with Incahoot, is the best way to engage consumers to take control of their finances and pay less for items and services that we all use?
There are a few ways to do this:
- Make it easy – if it’s quick and simple to see that you can make savings then people are much more likely to actually switch. It’s also important to see how much you can save at a glance
- Regular communication with our members without spamming – we want our members to feel like they’re part of the Incahoot community so we keep them updated regularly with new offers that we think they’ll be interested in without annoying them with daily deal e-mails
- Social media – another way that we create a sense of community is through social media. The whole Incahoot team contributes to our community blog which looks at ways consumers can save money and get the best deals. We also tweet regularly and have an active Facebook fan base.
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