Friday, 29 March 2013 21:55

Are Daily Deal Websites Dead?

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Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by Sky Stebnicki, CTO and co-founder of Givacause. He is also the CEO and founder of Aereus which helps business grow through strategic use of technology and innovative management and recently he launched an increasingly popular business collaboration suite called Netric.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a prominent list of high-profile investors are dumping their Groupon stock because they have lost faith in the company. Groupon reported a 13.7 percent drop in business this quarter form last quarter. But they are not the only daily deal company struggling. LivingSocial laid off 400 workers in November and a report by Techcrunch estimated that 789 daily deal sites folded in the last 6 months of 2011.

Are we witnessing the decline of the daily deal business as many seem to be saying? In some ways I think we are, and I believe it to be a very good thing! I also think we are only just beginning to see the real value of deal/coupon websites; but we need fix a couple things before we have a sustainable business model.

Monday, 25 March 2013 13:15

Groupon US daily deal site crashes with Starbucks offer

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Groupons daily deal site in the USA crashed on Friday after listing the first ever deal with the coffee house Starbucks, offering a $10 gift ecard at a 50% discount.

The $5 deal for food and drinks at Starbucks even caused Groupon shares to jump to nearly $5.71 - an increase of 5.9% for the day. Starbucks shares added 0.4% and closed at $57.30. The deal was so popular that Groupons site crashed temporarily with over 100000 users purchasing the deal on Friday morning. The deal was supposed to run for around two weeks, but now it is listed as SOLD OUT on their website.

Many potential customers expressed their frustation on Twitter at being unable to get access to the coupon, which is valid until the 30 September 2013.

Luxa.jp sells everything from expensive sake to high quality skincare products and as their name may suggest, is a luxury focused group buying site in Japan.

Luxa is a daily deals site like Groupon, but they have positioned their deals towards the higher-income market by listing only premium items such as branded cosmetics and alcohol, and up-market restaurants. According to their own sources they have around 350,000 members in Japan.

Today Luxa announced a 500 million yen ($5.25 million) second round funding from the JAFCO Group. Their first round was for exactly the same amount, bringing the total funding to $10.6 million since operations started in August 2010. Luxa’s new funding will be used to strengthen its sales force, accelerate customer acquisition, and “launch various vertical sites targeting specific categories.”

SnipSnap finally brings its mobile coupon clipping app to android. The guys have been quietly plugging away on an Android version of its popular mobile coupon app for what seems like ages now, but the wait for all you cost-conscious Android coupon lovers is over.

So, what is SnipSnap? Basically, you snap a picture of your physical coupon, and the app converts it to an easy-to-use (and store), always-by-your-side digital money-saving snip. It is now available on iOS and Android. In addition to just storing those coupons, users can seek out friends and popular couponers to follow, as well as accept deals from a slew of retail partners.

SnipSnap officially tiptoed past 500,000 registered users a while ago, and saw user engagement (measured by coupon snippings in this case) jump four-fold since the more socially oriented 2.0 release of the SnipSnap iOS app. SnipSnap’s Android app is nearly identical to its iOS cousin when it comes to functionality (save for obvious bits like the lack of Passbook support), which is always sort of refreshing to see.

Monday, 18 March 2013 11:16

Using the Power of Group Buying for Cars - In Spain

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Tour groups get cheaper ways to travel around the world and Groupon or LivingSocial and many other daily deal sites help you get your next weekend hotel accommodation at a reduction of 50-60%. The online world has made collective or group buying a new way of life.

Why is so little done with the group buying market for CARS?

Already in mid 2000, a company called mobshop.com tried the group buying concept for cars in California as a trial and it worked for a while, but then they had to shut down. Recently, not even 2 years ago, Jargul.com in Ireland made an attempt at the concept and did not last long. Currently there are two group buying car sites up and running in the UK carherd.com and carrush.co.uk. Unfortunately not much is known about them either.

In Spain, a six month old startup EverybodyCar looks like it might be moving in the right direction. EverybodyCar calls itself the first social network for car buyers, connecting people in the same geographical area that are interested in buying the same car. C.E.O. David Pareja and his small team then negotiate on behalf of the perspective buyers to get the best deals.

In China, more people (388 million) surf the web using mobile phones and tablets than with fixed-location compters (380 million), according to the China Internet Network Information Center. Among the increasing affluent Chinese consumers, one of the most popular online activities is mobile commerce - shopping via mobile phones and tablets.

In 2014 the Chinese mobile commerce industry is set to hit another major milestone, with mobile sales to top $27.1 billion and overtaking the US with an estimated $23.7 billion for mobile shopping. By 2015 the exponential growth is expected to surpass $41.4 billion.

Last week Alibaba confirmed an explosive growth of mobile shopping on its two leading ecommerce sites, Taobao and Tmall, with 6.87 percent of all transactions in those stores made on phones in 2012 - a 600 percent growth from 2011.

The following infographic also provides a breakdown of what happened online during their 24 hour shopping fest called "Singles day". This is can be compared to the US "Cyber Monday" sales event. On this day alone the Chinese spent a whopping $3 billion on Tmall and Tabao and 300 digital products were sold per second.

Thursday, 14 March 2013 13:26

The Top 10 Laws of Social Media

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Managing social media for a brand can often be a daunting task. You are dealing with a large public, informal, anonomous and maybe even potentially hostile audience. It is a tricky act and corporates often do not take social media seriously. 

Social media can have a pronounced impact on business and their influence can echo far beyond a simple post or retweet.

Should you be looking into enhancing your social efforts to connect with customers or fans, here are a few (actually 10) simple guidelines to follow to max out the online value of your brands presence.

Online coupon supplier RetailMeNot Inc. has bought Actiepagina, a publisher of online coupons in the Netherlands. Sources estimated the purchase price at nearly $10 million.

Should the daily deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial falter, you can bet your bottom dollar that online couponers — which have been around since the beginning of the Internet — will still be present.

One of the survivors could be WhaleShark Media, which today announced that it was changing its corporate name to RetailMeNot — one of its main individual brands for the last few years—and acquiring Amsterdam-based competitor Actiepagina.

Group-buying site Groupon has been formally warned by the Australian consumer regulator (ACMA) for bombarding consumers with daily email newsletters without adequate consent. 

Groupon was issued with the warning because of its practice of signing customers to multiple newsletters, but only offering the chance to unsubscribe one by one.

“Complaints to the ACMA indicated that individuals who attempted to unsubscribe from the newsletters were only unsubscribed from one of them, and continued to receive other Groupon newsletters regularly every day or week,” the Authority's notice about the warning says.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013 12:33

Pinterest launching free analytics service

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Pinterest is on the move. Fresh from landing a $200 million investment round only a few weeks ago, Pinterest is laying the ground work to begin to monetize its popular ‘pinboard’-like service for Internet users after revealing plans to launch an analytics service.

In a statement to Reuters a spokesperson for Pinterest said that it will introduce an analytics service to help publishers and content owners identify which ‘pins’ on the service have come from their website. Pinterest Web Analytics, as it is called, will initially be free but industry watchers have called it a logical first step to drawing revenue since it could expand to offer premium features in the future.

Pinterest would not be the first company to provide a premium analytics service, and the move has plenty of foundation.

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