A modern day arcade. That is what I thought of when I signed up for the social commerce site, Lockerz, which just recently raised $7.5 million in new funding, according to an SEC filing. This new wave of funding brings the total financing or this Seattle-based company to just under $80 million.
What’s so different about Lockerz? At first glance, it looks like another Pinterest-like, self-expression platform. Big deal, right? Well, Lockerz has added, what I like to call, an arcade element to its site.
Just like an arcade game, users can play on the site by uploading their interests on various platforms called “collections”, and for each upload they get points “PTZ," which are monetized and redeemable for discounts (here is where I start thinking of tickets and prizes) on more than 150 brands hosted on its online store. The more PTZ you earn, the more you save.
The site allows you to build a collection by “grabbing” items you like on the internet like videos, fashion and music. You can even grab collection items from existing users and those users get rewarded via PTZ for influencing style and setting trends.
I doubt that former founder and CEO Kathy Savitt intended to have Lockerz operate as a game back in 2009 when it launched, given that Lockerz targets a younger audience it is inevitable that users would treat it as such. (Savitt recently left to become chief marketing officer at Yahoo.) For many, the goal is to maximize the PTZ they can redeem for a bigger discount on items being sold on their site. In fact, Lockerz had run into some trouble with bots back in May of 2011. These bots were designed to rack up PTZ that were being offered if users signed on during certain times of the day. It became such a problem that Lockerz suspended that particular PTZ program altogether.
Although Lockerz did not respond to our inquiries, the company's mission is pretty clear on its website. It is trying to brand users and allow them to be content advocates. They use the PTZ system to encourage activity on their site; however, I’m not quite convinced. The reason is that if branding is their goal that goal takes thought and authenticity. If I was focused on getting a small discount on a Sony Play Station (offered on their site) I’d be mindlessly clicking away all day every day to rack up PTZ – evidenced by the bot mishap back in 2011. I’m no Kliener Perkins (one of the big investors in Lockerz), but I have a feeling that model won’t make for a very influential and trendy site long term. It will, however, gain Lockerz 45 million users that want a discount on already trendy items they offer on their site.
Savitt had plans to grow the company by collaborating with more brands; however, she left in August of 2012 to work for Yahoo! Lockerz appointed former COO, Mark Stabingas, to step in as CEO.
Lockerz has been busy acquiring companies like Off & Away, Chick Approved, AddToAny and the Twitter photo sharing application, Plixi.
Other investors in the company include Liberty media, DAG Ventures and Live Nation.