It´s now becoming very popular, specially in U.S., social sites focused in offering coupons, discounts and best deals to buy anything from shops, malls,... . I briefly describe about the most popular ones at the moment, and the recent alternative presented by Google.
Groupon is the most popular and well known daily deal coupon site. Groupon serves over 150 cities in North American and over 100 cities in Europe, Asia and South America. Each day, Groupon features an unbeatable deal on the best stuff to do, see, eat, and buy in your city. Just click "BUY" before the offer ends at midnight and the Groupon will be yours!
Just like Groupon, LivingSocial sends you a deal each day to use at a local business. You purchase the deals, and then receive a link to your voucher within the next business day. After you buy the deal, you'll get a unique link to share. Then, if three people buy the deal using your link, your deal is free. Deals vary widely in category, from restaurant discounts, to spa treatments, to pottery painting.
BuyWithMe is along the same lines as Groupon or Living Social, but unlike those two sites, BuyWithMe isn't necessarily a one-day-only type of deal. You usually have a few days to buy the deal, which is nice since you don't have to make snap decisions. The site is unique in that each deal requires a minimum number of people to sign up before the deal expires in order for it to go through for everyone. So, if the minimum isn't reached, you're not charged for the deal that you're not getting.
Google launched their Local deals program called ‘Google Offers’ Beta program this week. Google is entering into the Social Coupon race after their failed bid to buy the one year old Local deal giant Goupon for an amazing $6 Billion this past Fall.
Google will be offering their own Local deals to people that “subscribe” to their Google Offers program. They will be rolling out Google Offers Beta in Portland, Oregon to start followed by other cities soon after.
Online coupons are growing faster than online ads
"The percentage of local advertising that is not digital – and that's most of it – will change because the cost of advertising online is really low," says Frank Mulhern, associate dean of research at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill.
How quickly the online companies will succeed is another matter. In U.S. local online ad spending will grow nearly 18 percent this year, according to Borrell Associates Inc. Online coupons are growing faster in U.S. – up 50 percent between 2009 and 2010 – and worth more than $10 billion, Gordon Borrell says.
Small businesses represent a special challenge for online ad companies. Groupon and other daily-deal sites advertise discounts to millions of subscribers, via e-mail. The site keeps up to 50 percent of the coupon and the business gets a surge of customers, sometimes an onslaught.
"The sites offer great deals to the consumers at the expense of the small businesses," says Utpal Dholakia, a marketing professor at Rice University's business school in Houston, and author of a recent study on Groupon. He found that 32 percent of the businesses surveyed said their Groupon promotion was unprofitable. More than 40 percent of the respondents said they would not run the promotion again.
"It's like dynamite," says Jay Goltz, a Chicago business owner and blogger for The New York Times. He had 900 customers respond to his Groupon ad, but is unsure how many were already customers. In addition, he questions how many people will return to his stores as repeat customers. "It's a great invention, but it could blow up your house," he adds. "I wouldn't predict the end of the bulletin board."