Yipiii is a new website that allows you to pay £1 to spin a roulette wheel for the chance to win the item that you are looking to buy.
Essentially, it is an instant win site that will cost you £1 a go and there is no guarantee that you will win a prize. After that, it is a shopping site that gives you cash back if you shop with them.
The website partners commercial retail sites and includes their products for sale. However, the twist is that you can pay a pound and spin the wheel for the chance to win the item for nothing.
The idea is straightforward in that the user searches the site to find the item they want to buy for the cheapest price and then tries to win it for nothing.
Users can win bonus spins and the cost of the gamble is refunded if you decide to buy the item. The site has divided many personal finance commentators and those in the comping community.
Following a favourable piece on the This Is Money website, the site was heavily criticised by the Daily Mail, despite both companies being owned by Northcliffe.
Positive comments on the concept behind Yipiii have included the fact that it is unique for a cashback site in that it offers you the chance to win something for free that you have already decided to buy.
However, Yipiii has also come in for criticism that it encourages consumers to gamble money on everyday household purchase.
My main concern is whether the items available are at the right price. Can you find the items for sale at a cheaper price elsewhere?
I put my questions to Austrian entrepreneur, Christoph Klingler, the brains behind Yipiii.co.uk.
- what basis do you use for pricing on the non-branded items you sell?
It's important to understand that we do not sell anything ourselves — Yipiii is a new system that partners with many e-commerce sites. This means we simply pass people through to individual retailer websites where people buy things directly.
People do not buy products from Yipiii, they just get the chance to win them there - if users decide to purchase products, they buy from the chosen retailer's website at the retailer's prices. With our Winit App, people can even go directly to their usual online shopping destinations and, if the retailer is a partner of Yipiii, can play to win something directly on the retailer's product page.
- For branded items, do you include special offers from your clients, are the RRP used or is the price you sell goods at, at your discretion?
All our branded products are priced the same as they are on the retailers' websites because they come straight from the retailers' websites. Over time, and as we grow, we hope to be able to offer special, discounted prices to our community through close partnerships with retailers. We do not control the price of the products on Yipiii, the retailers and brands do.
- How much is the credit value back that you can be refunded after 31 days if you buy an item, compared to the original amount you spend?
Every single pound you spend playing to win something on our site can be returned to you in full once you have purchased something through Yipiii equivalent to the value of your 'plays' within 12 months. In other words, it is impossible to lose any money.
Basically, if you don't win a product then you can get back the money you spent trying to win it up to the indicated amount displayed with any product. It's also worth mentioning that because people can win free plays, which can be returned to them as cash, they will often be able to withdraw more than they actually 'played'.
- can you get many of the items cheaper elsewhere that more than compensates for the potential to win from a spin?
People can compare the price of a product from the different retailers on our site and choose the cheapest before they buy. In other words, Yipiii has a price comparison tool included. There may well be cheaper places to buy a product than the retailers on Yipiii but we hope to increase the number of partner retailers so that the best prices are all but guaranteed.
What we offer, uniquely, is the chance for people to win what they want to buy before they go ahead and buy it. So if they can't find a product cheaper elsewhere and we are giving them the chance to win it, why not give it a go?
- What is your target market?
Our target market is savvy online shoppers and anyone who would like the chance to win something before they buy it — minus the risk, of course. Around two thirds of our users currently are women. We say "it´s a no brainer: if you can try to win what you are going to buy - why shouldn't you?"
- How did you come up with the idea for Yipiii?
I have worked in advertising and marketing all my life and my job was basically to try and find a way for companies to differentiate themselves — to give people a reason to buy their products over another company's products.
I thought that it would be amazing if people had the chance to win something before they actually bought it, but in a risk-free way. And that it would be a great offer, a real USP for retailers if they could offer this to consumers. I left my job as a managing director at a big global advertising agency to see if I could turn my idea into reality, and the result, after four years, is Yipiii.
- Has the concept and system been tried in any other countries?
No, this is the first 'winmarket' ever to have launched. We decided to launch here because the UK is the most mature e-commerce market in the world.