Thursday, February 17, 2011

ScoreLuxe: An Interview with Sam Carnahan, founder and co-CEO

ScoreLuxe is a new Penny Auction site that I have reviewed previously on this blog. It is a penny auction dedicated exclusively to luxury items and high-end electronics. It makes for a great site because there is very low competition currently.

I had the opportunity to interview the Founder and co-CEO of ScoreLuxe, Sam Carnahan. Here is the complete interview.

Me: What are your thoughts about the penny auction model in general?
Sam: We love penny auctions and think as a business model and as a form of entertainment its great. I think the biggest issue with the business is when people view penny auctions as a form of shopping, as it really isn't shopping. We see it as a great way to score some deals and have fun in the process.

We are also very concerned with fraud as the recent run up in new sites has also created many more sites that aren't fulfilling auctions or engaging in fraud. We hope that as the watchdog sites expose the frauds, the penny auction community can be left with a diverse selection of high quality sites to choose from.

Me: Why do you think penny auctions are becoming increasingly popular in the last couple of years?
Sam: It's because they are fun and you can get great deals. At ScoreLuxe.com, you can get Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus, Gucci, Apple and more, and our winners routinely save a big % on the win. So, if you budget well and look forward to the experience, then it is a great way to spend a few hours, and that is why I think they are becoming so popular.

Me: How is ScoreLuxe different from other penny auction sites?
Sam: ScoreLuxe.com is different from other penny auction sites in our luxury focus and quality of items. We only feature auctions for items from high end retailers and boutiques, and our smallest product is $100, with the typical auction being $500+. We have up to 4 auctions a day, and continue to grow our auctions, and have a nice mix of gift cards and merchandise. We also have a limited amount of bid packs, so everyone has fair chance to win and a 4 per month win limit.

We also feature fast and free shipping on all auction wins.

Me: If there is one thing you would like to change about ScoreLuxe, what would it be?
Sam: Well, we are always working on new things and updates, including a rewards program which is coming soon. And as we grow, we continue to feature new and more auction items, so our change would be to be able to offer more daily auctions.

Me: If there is one competition you would like to eliminate, what would it be?
Sam: We love competition, because it drives us to be better, we learn new things and makes everyone more accountable in the industry. So, I can't name a competitor, but anyone who engages in fraud, late/no shipping or shill bidding should be eliminated as the industry doesn't need such participants.

Me: Are there any additional features you would like to see added to ScoreLuxe in the short and long term?
Sam: As noted before we are always innovating. We are looking at improvements to our auto-bidder as well as a rewards program to give bidders a chance to earn gift cards and bid packs as they bid on items.

Me: In the long term, how would you like to make ScoreLuxe different from the other penny auctions?
Sam: We feel we are already different, but our goal is to the #1 luxury penny auction retailer, featuring an array of sought after brands and high value items. We are getting there and look forward to continuing to demonstrate our commitment to being the best in this space.

We also want to set new standards for penny auction excellence, transparency, and shipping speed.

Me: What is the secret to your elegant site design?
Sam: We focus on the products, not the marketing shtick. We are auctioning off daily items from the world's top brands, so our design is structured to focus on our products, and we think that is how our site design is truly different and superior to the competition.

Me: How big is the ScoreLuxe team? Tell us something about your team.
Sam: Our team is made up of an array of experienced programmers, financial service professionals and lawyers. We have been working successfully together in the financial services industry for over 7 years and recently launched ScoreLuxe.com (September 2010) as a way to leverage our experience and enjoy working in a new vertical. We understand transaction oriented commerce very well, and as such, has created a site and experience that appeals to our consumers, giving them both the products and the auction action they desire.

Me: What is your guiding motto for ScoreLuxe?
Sam: Customer services is #1. And never auction what you don't have IN STOCK.

Me: What motivated you to start ScoreLuxe?
Sam: We enjoy the penny auction business and felt we could employ our substantial backgrounds within a tight niche market and create the best focused penny auction experience in the world.

Me: Did you start any companies prior to ScoreLuxe?
Sam: Yes.

Me: Can you share some inside secrets regarding the working of ScoreLuxe? Did you
have a party after the 100th auction?
Sam: We are doing something special for our upcoming 250th auction, so stay tuned!


This is the end of the interview. I hope you liked it. Do send me your thoughts and comments.

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