Frequently Asked Questions
How is PAPER&STRING different from daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social?
PAPER&STRING does not take a commission. We are a flat-fee service. While Groupon and similar sites take 30-40% of the sales from a particular deal as commission, PAPER&STRING charges a small rate per month to connect a retailer or restaurant with our highly targeted consumer base. We don’t require you to post a discount, since our users are discriminating and just as happy to hear about the truffles that just arrived or the fact that you have restocked those espadrilles in some extraordinary hand-dyed color previously only available in Paris.
P&S also offers a better service. Rather than bombarding users with deals that may not be relevant, PAPER&STRING allows consumers to select neighborhoods and categories of service most helpful to them. If you live in Park Slope and work in Soho, chances are a stream of daily deals for all of the five boroughs will not be useful to you. PAPER&STRING allows consumers to choose Park Slope, Soho, “Pets” and “Food+Drink”, for example, so that news and offers are precisely targeted to the people who will use them.
Other than announcing sales, how else can my business use the PAPER&STRING platform?
PAPER&STRING provides a meaningful way for you to connect with, communicate with and cultivate new customers in the way YOU see fit. You might announce a 4-hour flash sale; a new batch of cupcakes just out of the oven, the arrival of 10 cases of very special Chablis, or 5 available spaces in the yoga class you teach. What you announce should suit your business.
But we don’t really do discounts…
Then by all means don’t do them. Perhaps you’d prefer to show images of your latest creation, or tell people the step-by-step of how you made something. It’s up to you to do what you believe will resonate.
How can I reach potential new customers?
On the PAPER&STRING network you can reach existing and potential customers because each business that participates must do two things: recommend its favorite retailers to PAPER&STRING and if possible, make its customers aware of the network through an email or by placing our cards in its space. This is how we maintain the network’s integrity and continue to spread the word to likeminded customers who value independent retailers like you.
What’s the difference between you and coupon sites?
We don’t do coupons because we don’t use coupons. Instead, we offer a hybrid of our own excellent editorial comments PLUS your special offering. This offering occurs in real time and that is limited for the length of time it lasts. Remember, we are a CURATED network of the best independent businesses in each neighborhood. Not just anyone can be in the network. Businesses must be invited in and they must meet our standards of excellence.
What does “curated” mean and what’s the point of that?
“Curated” means that you must be selected to join the PAPER&STRING network. It means your products must be the best of category and that your service must be helpful and thoughtful.
Will I be able to learn about my customers and what leads to sales?
Yes, over time we’ll provide you with data and state-of-the-art analytics that larger enterprises typically employ. You’ll learn which offerings lead to most sales or if the time of day or the day of the week correlates to sales. We’ll work with you to interpret these findings and make the most informed decisions based on them.
What about user-generated comments?
Don’t like them, don’t trust them. We are not YELP. We are not interested in how anonymous people on the Internet rate your business. We trust our opinions as tastemakers and as customers. We have been around long enough and have travelled widely enough to know quality when we see it, taste it, touch it. We also think that the retailers who have been selected to join the PAPER&STRING network know quality, which is why we ask participants to recommend their favorite retailers so that we can grow the network reliably.
I’m a Luddite. I can barely type and I don’t text, and Twitter….?
Don’t worry. You can call in your offer, fax it or write it down and send it by messenger. We don’t expect you to have any special technical expertise or to be experts in social marketing. Our job is to ENABLE you to communicate as effectively and as easily as possible.
How are you different from advertising or PR?
We like to think that we have created a cutting edge blend of advertising, PR and marketing. On an optimistic day we think we could be the future of all three. Here’s why:
Advertising in traditional media is expensive and very broad. Using today’s communication technology it is possible to focus your messages to receptive groups of consumers on the Internet. This type of targeting cannot be done in traditional print or broadcast media.
Another reason is the power of endorsement. One of the main reasons people pay for PR is to get the endorsements of other people, magazines or “experts.” After all, what people say about you is more powerful than what you say about yourself. This is the basis of word-of-mouth recommendation and has been since the beginning of time. Belonging to the PAPER&STRING network is a powerful endorsement: You are among the finest independent retailers in NYC. What better company to be in?
Third: You are speaking directly to people in your voice. No trickery or other corny techniques typically found in advertising.
What if I can’t write?
If you’re still reading this, you know that we can. We’re happy to help.
But I have so many other things to do…
Who doesn’t? So relax. Spend a few minutes each week deciding what messages you want to post and use our platform and our network to broadcast them. Let us do your marketing; you worry about the widgets.
Explain your name.
We, Heather and Joe, the founders of PAPER&STRING are refugees from corporate life and we both love our neighborhoods (Chelsea and Tribeca). We launched this with our own money with the idea of building a simple, easy to use network that was powerful. So when it came time to name it, we joked: “A Penny and a Dream?” “Sweat and Labor?” “Paper & String” was nice because a) it described the level of resources we had to do this and b) it spoke to the sort of retail experience we both crave: authentic, honest and artisanal…simple yet powerful.