Online coupons have been around for quite some time, but within the past two years have grown exponentially in popularity and expanded beyond $.50 off your favorite cereal at the grocery store.
Receiving a daily deal on beauty products, food, services, or experiences are only a few clicks away now thanks to sites like Groupon or Living Social and now Facebook too. Traditional print coupons are so 2007.
Recently entering the daily deals industry, Facebook Deals were developed to "get groups of friends to discover your business" focusing less on the deal and more on the social component of bringing friends together to experience shared activities.
Still in its infancy, Facebook Deals looks to slightly transform the industry by adding the social component Groupon and Living Social attempt but fail to master.
Some are touting Facebook's move as the end of Groupon and Living Social, but in reality the sites differ and can hold their own in the multi-million dollar industry. Take for instance their marketing styles, user demographics and prices just to name a few.
As a brand it's important to examine exactly if your business can take advantage of daily deals and look to the future of the 'social daily deals' industry with the Facebooks, Groupons and Living Socials of the interwebs.
Create a Social Experience
It's quite logical that Facebook would enter the industry in a way that incorporates their core mission: to "help connect and share with the people in your life."
Creating an experience that appeals to your audience is just one part of creating a successful deal. If you don't know your audience how will you be able to effectively create an experience worth experiencing?
Until Facebook or Groupon/Living Social allows consumers to put together their own deal experiences, you'll have to do your research to ensure you're giving them what they want. You can't please everyone, but at the very least do your research and give it the old college try.
- Poll customers both online and offline to get a feel for their interests
- See what competitors or industry leaders are doing in this space
- Ask your staff for ideas, even family and friends can help
- Check out Q&A sites, About.com, or other online portals that might hold deal information your audience is already checking out
- Try combining multiple service offerings into one package deal
- Remember holidays and event "seasons" that may mesh well with your deal
Understand the Costs
There are certainly costs associated with daily deal promotions. Most sites make their money by taking a percentage of the proceeds from bulk deals pre-paid for on their platforms. But there are also other costs to examine; try asking yourself these questions:
- Do I have sufficient profit margins to actually offer a discount?
- How many deals will I need to sell in order to make this deal worthwhile to my bottom line?
- Realistically, how many customers am I hoping will come back to buy my services again?
- Have I looked at tools to help manage the mob of possible customers?
- Is my business equipped to handle a possible max influx of business, or will it cost revenue to hire and train new staff or get resources?
- Have I attempted to figure out the ROI of my daily deal?
Facebook's Deal business guide, Groupon's detailed case studies, and Living Social's "Merchant Bill of Rights" each provides businesses with information specific to the deal platform and offers some tips you can use when determining if a daily deal is right for your business, how to structure it, and more.
Are 'Daily Deals' Sites and Facebook Deals Here to Stay?
The short answer, yes. Time and time again we've seen that online users are looking to connect with brands that can shell out a good deal.
ExactTarget's survey comes to mind which found that 40% of users on Facebook "Like" a brand because they want to receive discounts and promotional information. Exclusive offers to new customers can create brand loyalists and advocates that can be worth their weight in gold -- sometimes.
The devil's advocate in me will point out that not every customer who is looking for a cheap deal is going to be your ideal customer. They may just as soon accept a deal at a competitor and play the lets-make-a-deal game regularly, never coming back to your establishment.
Important to remember, however, are the intrinsic properties of daily deals, which can transcend a one-time purchase.
With Facebook Deals you'll have direct access to prospective fans and their friends to help build community and relationships right on the platform they frequent often. With Groupon and Living Social, you'll have access to their large lists of users.
Each have their own marketing values when taken into account with the items addressed above.
Do you think the expansion of daily deals into the social realm will be successful?