For this entrepreneur interview, we had a chance to speak with Luke Knowles, the founder of FreeShipping.org.
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His company is based out of Fort Collins, Colorado but it has attracted a global audience.
Luke, tell us about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
FreeShipping.org is the largest resource on the Internet that links shoppers to free shipping deals offered by online retailers. To date, there are more than 800 online retailers represented on the site, including JCPenney, Target, Bloomingdale's, Kohl's, Sears, Best Buy, Nordstrom and Macy's.
The site is appealing to online shoppers because it is a one-stop destination for them to find online retailers that offer free shipping deals, and they can review the variety of free shipping deals provided by each online retailer.
When visitors click on a retailer's section on FreeShipping.org, they will find information on each deal, purchase requirements, expiration dates and free shipping codes.
Retailers benefit from offering their free shipping deals on the site because they reach online shoppers who are searching for free shipping-friendly merchants.
There is no cost to using FreeShipping.org.
When did you start the business?
We started FreeShipping.org in December 2007.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
My wife and I have owned our own web design and marketing boutique (www.kinoli.com) since 2005. We work for such clients as AAA, Remington College, W Hotels and more.
Where did you get the startup money?
We started the company with money from our personal savings.
That always is a good motivator for entrepreneurs. So how has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?
I thought it would take much longer to reach the level of success that the site currently has. The high gas prices have really helped our business. Since FreeShipping.org is the answer to high gas prices for online shoppers, the media has been very good to us. Also, shoppers are shopping online almost 10% more than they were a year ago. Both of these things were unexpected when we started the business.
It sounds like things are going well for you. What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business?
We spent a lot of time building a great website. The blogosphere and off line media has really liked FreeShipping.org and did a very good job in spreading the word for us.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
It takes a lot of time and resources to create a successful web site like this. Be prepared for long days and a lot of competition.
That is so true. The Internet has intensified competition to the point where you really have to be good to be on top. Thanks so much for sharing your entrepreneurial experience with us, and good luck in growing your business.