The thinking behind bringing back Cash Back rebates, on top of Bitcoin, was pretty simple. We believe one of the benefits of being an iConsumer Shareholder is experiencing the journey, as well as the destination. Thus the bad pun in the headline, and our reason for sharing the thinking. We want to be a massive business. The way we’ll get there is by building this business together. #GetYourShare works on many levels.
When we introduced Bitcoin late in December, 2017, it had a white-hot valuation. As its increase in value boggled the minds of financial experts, ordinary people worried about investing in Bitcoin, almost at any cost. Our mission is to make ordinary people investors. Help them build a great business together. The stock market, startups, and unicorns. Bitcoin back seemed like a natural fit. Folks like you could experience investing in a publicly traded stock and Bitcoin, just by making the purchases they were planning on making anyway. The best part? All for free. We helped provide a bridge from being curious but cautious around Bitcoin, to being an active crypto-currency investor.
On top of that, we were fighting regulatory headwinds in December, 2018. You couldn’t yet trade our stock. Nobody could. We had no way of knowing that it wouldn’t be until June of 2018 that everything would come together and our shares would be tradable. We needed a Plan B and Bitcoin rebates were part of it.
We’re happy we did it. Some days we felt we’d grabbed a tiger by the tail, and generally it was good. Subsequent events made it appropriate to reassess the choice. The chart above tells much of the story. But there was more than the cooling off of Bitcoin mania.
The inclusion of Bitcoin and blockchain-based offerings in our SEC filings delayed SEC qualification by five or six months. They finally qualified our offering, including using Bitcoin as a reward, but it really put us behind the eight ball through the first part of 2018.
In June, we were SEC qualified again. For the first time ever, our stock was trading (sporadically, it’s true) AND at the same time you could buy our stock from us AND you could be rewarded with stock rebates. In tech world parlance we were finally “feature complete”.
Fast forward to today, Bitcoin fever has cooled off, so its ability to attract new members has also cooled off. Yet, there are still several advantages to being able to reward people with Bitcoin. Most notable – lower minimums for payment are practical and non-U.S. or Canadian members can use iConsumer much more easily. Additionally, if the past year has taught us anything about crypto-currencies it’s that the value of a Bitcoin could rise again at any moment, still making it a potentially lucrative investment (especially when its free!).
While our new member acquisition cost and payback are spectacular, our member growth had stalled. We’d used up our entire marketing budget because of the regulatory delays (getting ourselves public and traded took 18 months longer than budgeted).
One of the great advantages we have built during our testing phase, before it all came together in June, is our 50,000 plus shareholders. To better understand those who make up our business, we asked them for their thoughts. Their survey responses were dramatically in favor of having the choice of earning cash instead of Bitcoin.
We also sat down with our media relations agency (N6A) and worked through the nuances of making changes in our messaging. One of the other things the survey told us was that our Shareholders really liked the sense of community that they got from iConsumer, and the level of open communications we provided. Our messaging both internally and externally should reflect this.
On November 12 we added Cash Back to the arsenal. Now you can earn cash or Bitcoin. And while we’re not reporting numbers, the early returns are quite positive. We watch four KPIs (key performance indicators) extremely closely. New shoppers, revenue, cost of acquiring a new shopper, and how quickly a new shopper pays back that cost. All KPIs either stayed the same or improved in the little bit more than a week since we made the addition.
The holidays are vital to our success. If you’re a holiday shopper, build your future as you buy your gifts. Shop and #GetYourShare to help build YOUR company. Please continue to give us your feedback. Register to attend your Shareholder Meeting on November 28, 2018. As always, when you tell a friend and they shop, your future gets brighter with 100 more iConsumer shares. Last trade as of 11/15/2018 was $.18/share.