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group buying Archive
Last week deal site Groupon launched a Dream Weddings channel. Today it looks like they have added another channel — a “kid-friendly club”. The new Groupon Kidz Club features deals that are either geared towards kids or are kid-friendly. Each city appears to have a couple of local deals including test prep and photography services along with a large number of national deals. For example, the most popular company on the deal sites, Vistaprint makes an appearance on the kid-friendly deals list.
Frankly I can’t figure out by the tone of the content (outside of the deals) if this could be a late April Fools joke. Groupon has created several personalities within the Kidz Club including: Glasses, Blade, FopTop, Roll, E-Male, Pyles and Swarmy.
The Kids Club features games like “help roll get his croissant back” and a word scramble. These games aren’t online, I assume you need to print out the page and give it to your kids. There is also content including, “HELP elderly folks cross the first part of the street and then encourage them to get across the rest of the way on their own!” There is also an official Kidz Club theme song.
I don’t get all of the (probably very expensive) content Groupon creates — from this sillyness to the “extra” content they post at the bottom of their deal pages. Just post the deals and move on to posting more deals.
Next Tuesday is the annual holiday known as Valentine’s Day. The day is named after St. Valentine and over 150 million cards are exchanged – here’s the full history of this very special day. This year the new deal sites are holding a cage match with each site offering a deal with a national floral delivery service. Most of these deals expire asap so you should be quick if you want to grab some flowers for your sweetie. Also note that the delivery fees are higher for a delivery on Valentine’s day. Lastly, I see some of the local cities within the deal sites are also offering flower deals so make sure to check your local city before purchasing a national deal.
If you want to pick up flowers yourself, I am hearing the best deal for super fresh roses is Whole Foods with 2 dozen for $19.99. Make sure to call your local store to get current pricing. If you don’t have a Whole Foods in your area, Walmart is offering 1 dozen roses for $15 beginning today.
LivingSocial – offers $25 for $50 credit at Teleflora. I used this deal yesterday for some flowers for my mom who is recovering after some surgery – note, there is a $15 or more service fee and Teleflora added me to their email marketing list even though I specifically unchecked the boxes to be added to their lists. Voucher may be applied towards service costs.
Groupon – offers $20 for $40 credit at FTD.com. Voucher may be applied towards service costs.
Google Offers – from what I can tell, this deal has now expired but they were offering 2 dozen roses, vase and shipping for $45.
Amazon Local – offers $15 for $30 credit at ProFlowers. Voucher may be applied towards service costs.
Eversave – offers $25 for 2 movie tickets and a $10 gift card good at 1-800-flowers.com.
It’s important to note that there are tons of discount codes available for most of the online florists so make sure to spend a few minutes to find the best deal for the floral arrangement you are interested in.
Regarding the partnership with Feeding America, Groupon notes, “To celebrate this event, we’ll also be partnering with Feeding America to provide half-a-million meals to families in need this holiday season.” I am unsure if Groupon is doing the donation or if it is through the deal they have posted which offers Groupon members to help support families in need with an $11 donation which can feed a family for two weeks.
The list of restaurants offering the $1 lunch will be provided on Friday morning and I am guessing there will be limits so make sure to check early in the AM. Also, the deals will most likely be limited to the cities that currently have Groupon Now! deals which include: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Orange County and Vancouver.
When I used a Groupon deal last week, I spoke with the retailer about the performance of the deal. She said that the regular deals worked pretty well but the Groupon Now deals haven’t performed. I told her that I think they hide the Groupon Now deals and sure enough when I got back to the office, the right side box with the Groupon Now deals was completely removed and now those deals are only available via the navbar link. Some have said that the Now deals are the future for Groupon – if this is the case, hiding those deals will mean very few people will ever see them.
Amazon entered the daily deals space last month with their launch of AmazonLocal. The service launched on June 2 in Boise with deals sourced from LivingSocial (Amazon is an investor in LivingSocial). At the end of June, AmazonLocal added the following cities: Tacoma, Seattle and Bellevue in Washington State.
Today the AmazonLocal service has expanded into Southern California – the Los Angeles and Long Beach regions. The first deal in LA is for a canvas print (those sure seem popular on the daily deal sites!). Long Beach launches with the ever popular tanning session. So far 379 vouchers for the canvas prints have been purchased.
I like that AmazonLocal just provides the information about the deal and none of the “extra content” that Groupon does – content which I believe is a complete waste of money to build. People want the deals period.
You can use your Amazon account to check out and apparently the customer service is provided directly by Amazon — which is a good thing considering how super-responsive Amazon is when there is an issue.
It sure has been interesting watching Groupon explode over the past two years – they have used their nearly $1 billion in VC funding to help grow amazingly fast. I still remember sitting with Groupon CEO Andrew Mason at the Cosmic Diner in Manhattan three years ago as he explained the concept of The Point to me. I left thinking that The Point was an interesting idea but wondered if it had real potential because of the hoops involved in getting a program to be funded. Obviously the concept of daily deals/group buying is a much easier sell to merchants and retailers than social causes were to individuals. It’s also been great to watch Groupon grow from a headquarters location outside the valley.
Today the company filed a S-1 form with the SEC to move the company public under the symbol GRPN. You can read Mason’s press release on nearly every tech blog so I won’t repeat it here.
I only have one question for the Groupon team — how do you define a “subscriber”? The announcement notes that the company has 83 million subscribers as of today. But what exactly defines a subscriber?
And this definition of subscriber is critical not just for Groupon but for the industry as a whole so that merchants can create valid comparisons.
If I was going to be a full-time blogger, I would focus a good deal of my energy on the new hot deal space. I’ve been a deal hunter forever and I think this new group buying area is very intriguing to watch from all sides: merchant, deal hoster, deal spreader and consumer.
Both Groupon and Living Social have taken different marketing and user acquisition strategies — Living Social is spending a lot on television advertising while Groupon appears to be using more online advertising and apparently a content strategy (which is hilarious considering no one actually cares about reading content for a manicure deal).
For the next two weeks, Groupon is offering customers a $30 referral commissions for any new customers they refer. The new customer must signup for the Groupon mailing list and make a purchase. The base referral commission Groupon generally offers is $10 per user acquisition. From reading the deal boards it seems a good majority of current Groupon customers received the bonus acquisition offer.
The email that Groupon sent to me reads as follows:
Tell your friends to click your personal referral link (above) to subscribe. If they buy their first Groupon deal by June 13, 2011, we’ll reward you with $30 in Groupon Bucks. Best of all, there’s no limit on how many friends you can refer, or how many Groupon Bucks you can earn.
The most interesting part to me is to watch the deal hunters figure out ways to take advantage (some may call it abuse) the bonus. For example, Groupon is offering a deal with Blockbuster Express for $2. So if you can signup new users on this $2 deal, the referrer receives the full $30 while the new customer only had to spend $2.
Earlier this year we saw a Groupon deal with eBay offering a $15 gift card for $8. Deal hunters went crazy over this deal because (while this isn’t allowed) current customers just setup multiple accounts, referring each of them to another one and some reported walking away with huge amounts of eBay gift cards without spending much money. Some of the deal boards report that Groupon canceled a lot of transactions where they saw abuse. We saw similar behavior with the Living Social and Amazon gift card deal. I am still wondering just how many Amazon gift cards were actually sold by Living Social after they canceled all of the abuse transactions.
I can only imagine how much Groupon and Living Social spend on fraud and abuse. While it might be pushed under the rug for large companies, any abuse hits a small, local merchant hard. As both of these services continue to grow, I think we will see more news coverage around the area of deal abuse and how this impacts the bottom line for all deal services.
In December 2009, Michael Arrington from Techcrunch described Groupon as, “They offer users deep discounts on local deals – spas, sky diving lessons, hotels, restaurants, golf, whtaever. Discounts range from 40%-90% of the normal price.” And for a good period of time thereafter, the deals were local. But it seems these days both Groupon and LivingSocial are pushing more and more big box and online deals through their respective group buying services.
Last summer Groupon launched what I think was their first national deal with the Gap. This year we’ve seen a large number of nationwide deals including Groupon’s Barnes & Noble deal, LivingSocial’s Amazon gift card deal, Redbox, Blockbuster Express and Groupon’s eBay deal. Today Groupon is offering a deal with Domino’s pizza – a deal which has made a number of Jewish people angry since it’s Passover and eating items like pizza isn’t allowed. Living Social is currently running a deal with business card printer Vista Print.
Tomorrow Groupon will run a deal with General Mills – for $20 you get a few boxes of cereal, some other grocery items, a coupon book and a can of corn.