Practical Ecommerce

TheGroceryGame.com Scores With Coupons

Owner: Teri Gault
URL:Thegrocerygame.com
Established: 1999
Products: Weekly list of grocery coupons; system for saving on groceries.
Shopping Cart: Custom
Payment Gateway: Authorize.Net
Quote: “I calculated that I made 80 cents per hour my first year.”

When Teri Gault and her family were struggling to make ends meet in 1999, she decided to see if selling her bargain-hunting knowledge and coupon-clipping skills could generate her family some income.

Even though she had no computer, no computer knowledge and no website development ability, her husband suggested she launch her business idea on the Internet. Gault scraped together the pennies to launch Thegrocerygame.com in February 2000. Six years later, her novel idea has produced a dynamic business concept with more than 100,000 members, 26 employees and franchises in 49 states.

“I didn’t even know how to do email,” Gault said of when she began with the idea. “Our family was in such a difficult financial spot that I had to roll coins just to scrape up enough money to buy my business license. We were flat broke.”

She bought a computer that included free Internet access, wrote her shopping-game rules and used a template service to build her own website.

“Once I figured out how to get the most out of the coupons I had clipped, I was saving hundreds of dollars each month on my grocery bills,” said Gault. “I realized that I could help others save money too, and so I launched Thegrocerygame.com

She pulled together $15 to advertise in a small, local newspaper and it wasn’t long before others interested in saving money on their groceries started contacting Gault.

Though some money was starting to come in, the hours were long – very long.

“I was so spent, so scared and so broken down working so hard those first years,” Gault said. “The first year I was chained to the computer. I calculated that I made 80 cents per hour my first year. I was so discouraged because of all the work that it took.”

However, within about six months, Thegrocerygame.com had people all over the country wanting Teri’s List. That’s when she started looking into franchising beyond her West Coast beginnings.

Gault transformed her personal hobby from humble beginnings to a successful company generating about $6 million annually. As CEO, Gault oversees the company’s quality control, message board and customer service department. Gault has developed a proprietary system, based on cyclical categorical sales trends, which allows her to calculate when each grocery item will become available at its optimum sale price. By coordinating this system with the use of coupons, Thegrocerygame.com compiles a weekly list of which items shoppers should buy to maximize their savings.

The average savings for a family of four is $482 a month by shopping with Teri’s List.

Gault has long given up designing the company’s website and has turned to the team at Sonik Newmedia, LLC, to help manage Thegrocerygame.com’s current and future platform.

Justin Schier, managing director for the Irvine, CA-based web design and development firm, said Thegrocerygame.com’s site and goals were so complex that most of the functions used on the site had to be custom built, including the shopping cart. The site was built using Coldfusion and the membership database is managed with Microsoft SQL.

Gault’s web-based business has become so successful that it now ranks as one of the most active customers of Authorize.Net, the payment gateway company.

“Our business model is so unique, we’re really our own category,” Gault said. “We’re very complex. When we need to make a change to our site or have new developments we want to pursue, they are so good to enlighten us to what we can do now as well as help us prepare our platform for future expansion.”

The company has a full-time attorney who specializes in franchises to help Gault manage that part of the business. They began offering franchises in 2003.

She also sees a new opportunity for Thegrocerygame.com to begin offering special money-saving coupons to its members. As Internet coupon printing technology has advanced, many large grocery chains are becoming more open to accepting coupons printed from your desktop.

In addition to serving as both CEO and key expert for The Grocery Game, Inc, in her free time, Gault enjoys the outdoors. She walks daily with her husband, and loves to go boating with her family. She is a sports fan, and also enjoys watching her sons playing baseball, football and basketball. Gault also had a successful singing and acting career. She has appeared on numerous television shows, including “Happy Days” and “Good Morning America,” in addition to several network pilots and feature films.

Teri currently resides outside Los Angeles with her husband Greg and their two sons.

Sign-up for Teri’s List!

Thegrocerygame.com provides shoppers with a fun way to achieve substantial savings on grocery bills. The site sells memberships to “Teri’s List,” which is published weekly and helps the shopper reduce shopping time and money by using coupons at precisely the right time for optimum savings. She color-codes her list to help shoppers – items printed in blue are the best deals for stockpiling, those printed in green are free and items printed in black are luxury or convenience items with a good price.

Teri selects stores to provide customers with the most substantial savings in their area. Supermarket chains are selected for a variety of factors, including sale prices and double-couponing, if available. Members simply log on to Thegrocerygame.com and enter their ZIP code to find the list of stores in their area.

The site offers a four-week trial period for $1. On the 28th day of the trial, should members choose to continue their membership, they will be charged $10 for eight weeks. Membership is renewed automatically every eight weeks thereafter.

Teri’s List indicates which grocery items members should stockpile, or purchase in quantity, while the price is at its lowest. This saves the customer from having to later re-purchase the items at a higher price. “Most items work on a 12-week sales cycle,” explains Teri.

“Every 12 weeks, an item hits its lowest price, which is what I call a Rock Bottom Sale price. So if members purchase enough of an item while it’s on sale to last them until the next Rock Bottom Sale, they’ll never have to pay a higher price for that item.” After 12 weeks of stockpiling, members should have most items they need already in their cupboards and pantries, eliminating quick trips to the supermarket to buy items at full price.

By purchasing only select items on the list, shoppers can save more than 60 percent on their grocery bills.

The average savings for a family of four is $482 a month by shopping with Teri’s List. Members often visit the Message Board on the site, where they exchange shopping tips and share their most recent “winnings” at The Grocery Game.

Practical Ecommerce

Practical Ecommerce

Bio   •   RSS Feed


email-news-env

Sign up for our email newsletter

Comments ( 9 )

  1. Legacy User January 19, 2007 Reply

    I'm totally impressed! Congratulations! You must be very proud. I'm all about saving on groceries. On a very limited budget and with a very picky 8 yr. old daughter.

    — *Shirl Beer*

  2. Legacy User February 5, 2007 Reply

    Teri's Lists are fantastic! I signed up for 4 lists, two grocery stores and two large pharmacies. The savings are incredible! I was blown away! I would be lost now without The Grocery Game. It's so easy, too!

    — *A Grocery Gamer*

  3. Legacy User February 25, 2007 Reply

    Hello Teri,
    I am presently a college student studying environmental science and geography, and I do my great grandparents and our grocery shopping. I just saw the grocery game advertised on the news overnight and I already do my groceries this way. I go on Wednesday's (double coupon) day to our local Pick'n Save, however, there is a limit of 5 per transaction and you have to spend 25 dollars before any coupons (after store sales) and so it ends up being $15 for a single transaction, and then I go back in after. They doubles coupons up to $1 ($1 becomes $2). If I save have three coupons for a free item, I will buy those, buy five items that are at their lowest sale prices and which I have a double coupon, and to make the few extra bucks difference needed, I buy our needed items that are on sale, but I never see coupons for such as milk. (However, just because you have a coupon for something and its on sale does not mean you should buy it! Only if you use it, unless its FREE or say less than .15 then why not.
    Also, I always tell my parents to go to a gas station nearby our house to fill up, since it is usually just as cheap or cheaper than other stations in Racine, and since we get a mark for every 8 gallons filled up and after 8 of those can get a free wash. I save those then, so that everyone does not buy the wash for say $5 after saving owe $1, owe a buck, on a wash with gas purchase. I finally have a Speedy Rewards card so I can fill up at Speedway's if I am traveling away from our local gas station and still get something for it. (I do make sure the stations I go to are the cheapest ones around) and no unlike some people I DO NOT Drive say to the other end of town (10 miles) if gas is ten cents less there, you will just pay it back up about.
    Being an environmental science major, I also tell people, unless they are the elderly that at night they should turn their thermostats way down and just use the wonderful blankets they may have and where extra clothing. It can save so much on energy bills. I try to save money whereever I can.

    I would love to talk to you sometime. All of your tips are fascinating, and everyone should read them. (However, if everyone was as smart as we are, stores may start stopping double coupon days, (let's hope not!) My cell is 262-994-7722. Feel free to call me whenever (I always tell the grocery stores that the money I save I use to pay for my fuel!) I cannot wait for spring to arrive here in Racine, Wisconsin. It's just arond the corner.

    Take Care,
    Terry Gault

    — *Drew Ballantyne*

  4. Legacy User June 25, 2007 Reply

    would like to see how grocerygame works

    — *Linda*

  5. Legacy User June 27, 2007 Reply

    Can this work for me? I am single, retired and on a fixed income.

    — * Donna*

  6. Legacy User June 30, 2007 Reply

    Does this web site track Walmart, kroger or Brookshires?
    Those are the only stores in my town…Granbury Texas
    Please email me if you know. I want to join, but whats the use if they don't list prices for Walmart, because, primarily, thats where I buy food/clothes/everything.????
    Nancy46253@aol.com. Put ''coupons'' in the subject line.

    — *Nancy Boyd*

  7. Legacy User August 31, 2007 Reply

    I love shopping with coupons, that's what I live for. It helps me a lot with my groceries. I save so much when I go grocery shopping, it really makes a difference.

    — *Tamira Boynes*

  8. Legacy User May 9, 2008 Reply

    I became intrigued by the premise of the game when I saw it highhlighted on a news short curious if it pays for singles to follow your strategy I dont
    stockpile alot though i do purchase fomily portions split and freeze.thanks

    — *Jimmy Britt*

  9. Legacy User May 27, 2008 Reply

    saw you on tv. Thanks

    — *Mary Mahn*