Monday, August 20, 2012

Utilizing the Power of Group Buying

Nicole Brown, Marketing Intern

From restaurants to dance studios to car washes, businesses everywhere are jumping on the group-buying bandwagon. The power of group buying is harnessed via the internet when websites offer discount deals that only become active if enough people purchase the deal. But what does this mean for consumers—discounts. Businesses pay websites a percentage to advertise a discount deal, and when enough people buy the deal, it becomes active. The website makes money, the business makes money, and the consumer saves money.

I first heard of group buying through my mom, who buys restaurant deals so we can try new restaurants. At that point, I knew about two sites: Groupon and Now, there’s the issue of the plethora of sites available, especially in major cities. In Lexington, we aren’t as overwhelmed with sites when compared to Los Angeles or any other large city, but there are still more sites than one person would ever need. Therefore, one must sort through the many options to find the few that you’ll use.

Once you’ve found a site to use, it’s easy. First, enter your zip code and set up your deal notification subscription settings. Then, find a deal you want to purchase, and buy it during the time frame that it is available. (Group buying deals are only available for a limited time and require a minimum number purchased.) Finally, all that’s left is to use your deal. Utilizing the power of group buying can get you discounts on new places and activities, allowing you to explore your area at a discount.

Regardless of the site, most offer a variety of deals including restaurant discounts, service, discounts, product discounts, and travel discounts. On a group buying site, one could buy a one-month, unlimited yoga pass, a cookware set, or a 3-night stay in a downtown Lexington hotel, just to name a few things. There are deals for everyone. But just which sites are best? I’ve compiled a few of my favorites.

Major national websites with Lexington specific offers:
Living Social
Sweet Jack
Dealster and
Local Lexington site:
Pete’s Deals
Other sites to check out:
Amazon Local

Groupon offers daily deals, travel deals and Groupon Goods deals. While the variety is great, this site can definitely flood your inbox! For a solid, comprehensive group buying experience, I’d start here. In addition, the customer service is wonderful.

Like Groupon, this site offers daily deals that include discounted prices on goods, services, or travel. However, I tend to use Living Social mostly for its discounts on services. They also tend to run each individual deal for a longer period of time.

Sweet Jack, like Living Social and Groupon, offers deals on everything from food to travel to activities and more.

These sites are perfect for food lovers, as they feature only food discount deals. I’ve discovered a few of my favorite restaurants because I first tried them using a group-bought coupon.

With local sponsors Smiley Pete Publishing and Lex18, Pete’s Deals offers many useful Lexington-area discounts. What sets the site apart is its connection to the community. On Pete’s Deals, you’ll find prize package giveaways and other promotions that a larger site wouldn’t use.

Whether you already use any group buying sites or are just considering creating an account, try Yipit too. Rather than actually selling deals, the site collects deals from hundreds of group buying sites and sends you a daily email set to your specifications that suggests the best deals for you and links back to the original deal.

A much more sporadic site that’s similar to Yipit, Amazon Local advertises deals in your area, often from Living Social or Groupon. However, they sometimes have promotions  offered directly by Amazon, which often feature a limited amount of free vouchers for a discount. For example, I recently downloaded a free voucher for $3 of Amazon MP3 downloads.

There are many more websites like these, especially if you branch out into larger cities—Louisville has a few sites of its own as well. But besides the fact that they are all group buying websites, what do these sites have in common? The ability to get you to buy things you wouldn’t otherwise buy.

To have a positive group buying experience, use the following tips:

1.     Check the fine print and the expiration dates.
2.     Don’t buy something that you won’t realistically use.
3.     Don’t buy something that you wouldn’t consider buying without the discount. If you buy something that you’d never buy normally, 80% off of any price is still more than the nothing you’d pay if you didn’t buy it.

1 comment:

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