5 Minutes With Giora Mandel, Co-Founder & CEO, Boom25

Boom25 is a brand new ecommerce site offering online shoppers the chance to win a full refund on their purchase with the UK's top retailers, no matter the value of their shop. With ambitions to give away £1 million by the end of its first year, we had a chat with chief executive Giora Mandel to find out more about how it works.

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Boom25

Congratulations on the launch of Boom25! How was the idea conceived?

The idea originally came from another company of mine that earns affiliate revenue from Booking.com. I’ve always wanted to expand affiliate earnings into other areas and it was only when I saw my daughter playing a game called 7 And Boom that the idea came to me. In the game, everyone takes turns to count but when you reach a number divisible by seven you have to say “boom!”.

It occurred to me that the excitement in this game could be replicated. What could be more exciting than a site that, regardless of what you buy or even how much you spend, if you’re the 25th shopper — boom — you’ll win your money back.

We went live a few weeks ago and it’s like the birth of a new child. There’s a real sense of excitement, especially when you start to see that you’ve really touched a nerve.

How is Boom25 different to other ecommerce sites?

We turn any transaction into an experience. We want to put a flutter of excitement, anticipation and even adrenaline into people’s hearts when they’re placing an order online.

Much of ecommerce is about convenience and logic and we’re adding some magic by creating a game out of every online basket of goods.

There’s no extra cost and you have the highest chance of winning a decent amount of money. It’s a completely new purchase experience – you’re just buying what you would have anyway with the chance to win big refunds.

Are cashback schemes like Boom25 the future of retail?

In my opinion, yes.

Online retailers are already delivering the best service they can. The cheapest price for a product is never more than a click away and delivery to your front door can be within a matter of hours if you want. But where’s the thrill? Where’s the fun? Where’s that winning feeling? Everything today is experiential, it’s what people are craving and it’s what’s missing in the ecommerce world.

UK consumers are also feeling the squeeze right now – the joy of shopping is in danger as inflation causes purses to be tightened. The retail industry really needs that injection of fun back into it which is what we feel we’re delivering with the excitement of winning big money back.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background before Boom25.

I own a number of companies including an app called Hulyo that sells last minute flights at ridiculous prices. Right now I am 100 per cent dedicated to Boom25, working on it 24/7 and enjoying every second.

I also invest in a number of start-ups and enjoy doing business that goes against the flow and brings something new to the market.

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What got you into the retail sector in the first place?

I love the relationship with the end customer. I really enjoy seeing their reactions and the success. There is no better feeling than seeing a product or service that you set up go viral.

How has your previous experience aided your current job?

The additional value that I bring to Boom25 is understanding the customer. Having worked with online consumers for so many years I know how to engage with them and spark that interest and excitement. We obviously have nothing without the customer so it’s vital that we’re providing the best possible customer service. And of course, word of mouth is key for a start-up – a happy customer is ever so important.

As an entrepreneur you’re certain to have a few knock-backs along the way and once you’ve tried and failed a few times nothing can scare you, certainly not the doubters trying to shut down your dreams. That’s a huge advantage for creating a disruptor in the retail industry.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

The biggest challenge is to create a product that spreads by word of mouth rather than traditional marketing tools. If there is one thing I hate, it’s writing cheques to Google. We are entering a crowded market so the challenge is to create a site that is unique, rewarding and ultimately viral.

We’ve also faced a steep challenge in developing trust. People are naturally suspicious of a site that offers to give free money away and we’re working to help people understand how it works and that Boom25 is safe and reliable.

The final challenge is attracting major retailers to join us on this journey and proving that we can turn shopping into an experience people will love. We already have over 470 major brands onboard including Boohoo, Boots, Ticketmaster and Expedia.

Boom25 is still young, but does it have any plans to vision to address the issues facing the retail sector as a whole?

The aim is for Boom25 to grow to have significant influence in the industry while retaining that start-up, energetic personality. Lack of attention span will be a consistent challenge for the retail industry and nothing is more important to younger generations than experiences with immediate gratification. We’re proving that with a simplified, fun approach we can engage with that younger demographic.

Can you talk about any other projects that you’re working on at the moment at Boom25?

We plan to bring in more online shopping verticals and enter new markets. The UK is just the beginning.

What advice would you give someone who is considering embarking on a career in retail?

The first piece of advice is always try to be a step ahead. You have to bring that extra value that others can’t offer. It’s a crowded world full of big, strong players but they’re slow. So run fast and be flexible. You can be the best in your niche. The foundation for success is support from your family and those around you. Without that, it’s impossible.

What would you say is the biggest risk for the retail sector, given the current climate?

I don’t see the risk in Brexit. The world will remain global. It’s a bit of a kick in the teeth but the UK market is strong enough to overcome the initial shock. Britain will continue to do business with everyone.

The real risks come when the big dogs control the markets, block competitors, lean on suppliers and advertisers, and close down the chances for small and medium-sized businesses to succeed.

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