Site aims to cash in on U.S. market
AN ONLINE cashback business has expanded into North America.
TopCashBack.co.uk, which is based in Uttoxeter, has launched TopCashBack.com for the U.S. and Canada.
The site is managed from the firm's headquarters in Uttoxeter and offices in Bolton and London. More people have already been taken on as a result of the expansion and a further five employees are due to start at its Church Street base next month.
TopCashBack now employs 45 people – 33 of those in Uttoxeter – up from 24 two years ago.
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Natasha Smith, head of PR and communications, has been tasked with managing the launch of the North American website.
She said: "I've spent a bit of time in the U.S. and when I started at TopCashBack last June I said, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could launch a U.S. site? The directors told me to go for it."
The company offers online shoppers the chance to earn money every time they buy from a range of high street names.
Once registered, you go via the site to make your purchase, and it passes on the commission it receives from the retailer.
Unlike some other cashback sites, TopCashBack passes on 100 per cent of the commission it receives on online purchases – and up to 110 per cent for regular users – because it makes its money via advertising placed around the site.
The UK site now has 1.5 million members and Natasha said the 100 per cent promise is the key to its success.
She said: "Cashback sites have been around practically forever in the U.S. but as far as we are aware we are the only one offering 100 per cent commission.
"When we launched the site we were just dipping our toe into the water but so far it's taken off wonderfully.
"Originally it was just me but we are really expanding the UK team now.
"We've not got 45 people – that's eight in Bolton, four in London and the rest in Uttoxeter. In June we've got five new starters at Uttoxeter and I'm hoping to get more people in London too.
"We haven't got anyone based in the U.S. yet but in the future who knows?"
Natasha said the firm is concentrating on its UK and U.S. sites for the time being and would have to think very carefully about launching sites in other countries.
She said: "We don't want to overstretch ourselves."
TopCashBack founders Oliver Ragg and Mike Tomkins, who set up the firm in 2005, are among six North Staffordshire business leaders named as finalists in Ernst & Young's Midlands Entrepreneur of the Year competition.
Joining them on the 33-strong shortlist are Steelite International chief executive Kevin Oakes and Meyer Timber directors Richard Lazenby, Chris Rudd and Darren Barnett.
They will attend a regional awards ceremony in Birmingham next month, and the winners will go on to the UK finals later in the year.
Tableware manufacturer Steelite employs more than 700 people in Middleport. The Sentinel reported last month that it had posted record sales of £66.3 million for 2011, up 9.4 per cent from £60.6 million the year before.
Plans are in the pipeline for a new £12 million factory next to its current Orme Street base which will create 230 new jobs.
Blythe Bridge-based Meyer Timber can trace its roots back to 1770 but in its current form was created last year through the merger of its two leading brands, Montague L Meyer and William T Eden.
It is on track to turn over more than £120 million this year and has depots all over the country.
Adrian Roberts, partner sponsor for Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year programme in the Midlands, said: "The finalists represent the best of the West Midlands entrepreneurs, who despite a challenging economic environment are propelling growth and innovation."
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