If there is one thing thing we've come to expect, it's the constant evolution in the way products and services are marketed online. Many Savvy consumers are quite familiar with discount travel websites like Hotwire and PriceLine. By now, eBay is a household name and even coupon sites like RetailMeNot have established brand name status. Many of these sites have been around for a number of years and their business models are true, tried, tested and widely imitated .
There is a new wave of up and comers with new creative business models that deserve your attention. If you want to save a bundle, you might want to check out this latest trend in online retailing. These sites operate on a very simple concept - offer deals that are valid for twenty-four hours. You snooze - you lose. Because they only offer a few items, they tend to have very basic easy-to-navigate websites. Here's 3 worth considering if you want to check out this newest trend and score some super cheap deals.
Groupon is short for Group - Coupon. The idea behind Groupon is a single offer each day in each locale at a heavily discounted price. The deal is offered at a 40% to 70% discount from the retail rate provided that enough people signup to "tip" the offer. In 98% of cases, enough people subscribe to the offer that it gets tipped. Groupon has sold over 6 million coupons and if you like spa treatments, yoga, pilates or restaurants, there are some good deals.
A couple things to note. If you are getting a spa package, you need to be aware of how long it will take to book your appointment. 1,000 customers coming in at half rate for a spa with half a dozen rooms takes a long time to process and they may only reserve a few spots each day for the Groupon Groupies. If you are looking to get in the following week, think twice before signing up. Second, oftentimes the same retailers will have coupons or discounts anyways although they may not be for the same price. In most cases, businesses are looking to get new clientele and might have their own "new client" deals, but generally Groupon deals are better.
In many ways, Living Social is similar to Groupon except they have an interesting difference: If you sign up for a deal and then get three of your friends to do the same, the deal is free for you. Not a bad perk especially if you are a sociable person with lots of friends. The deals are very similar to Groupon: spas, yoga, restaurants, and fun activities that you probably would skip in the Great Recession. We have both Groupon and LivingSocial in Los Angeles and they seem to have very similar offerings. Overall, the discounts are about the same but given that both Groupon and Living Social only have a deal a day, there are plenty of merchants to go between the two of them (and their 10 smaller competitors).
Woot is a website that sells one item each day at a discounted price until it either sells out or the day is done. For example, today, there is a Vornado V6 Personal fan - Two Pack for the low, low price of $14.99 plus $5 shipping. Is it a deal? Absolutely. Amazon retails each fan for $24.99 with free shipping. Two fans at Amazon would cost you $50 more than twice the price of the Woot deal. Why so cheap? Well manufacturers often want to close out product lines and don't want to mark them down through traditional channels. Sites like Woot negotiate huge volume purchases and then are able to liquidate them to deal hungry customers. Tuesday is also 2 for 1 Tuesday at Woot, hence the amazing deal. You'll also find the product writeups to be pretty funny.
Of course, if you are tempted to buy stuff that you don't really need just because it has a low price, you might want to avoid Woot. If there are any complaints about Woot, they center around delivery times and issues with refurbished products.
These three sites show you that during the Great Recession, consumers have the upper hand and amazingly, it doesn't take a complex business model to make a good business.
Have any experience with our 3 websites or have your own daily deal source? Let us know in the comments.
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