Category Daily Deal Sites

Is There a Daily Deal Site for the Rest of Us?

With the rapid advances in technology, savvy marketers are finding additional ways to advertise their products and services.

To help fill the need for additional marketing vehicles, smart tech startups are stepping up and creating interesting sites that are redefining the way consumers interact with businesses.

Some of these tech startups are helping connect businesses to their potential customers by creating daily deals sites.

The Geography of the Daily Deal

Many daily deals sites start off by offering their services in select major metropolitan areas and then expand to other major markets after they have created some buzz about the site.

The way that many daily deal sites are set up involves having a sales force on the ground in the markets that they serve who make sure that there is a new deal each day. The behind the scenes efforts to find local business that are willing to offer a deal to consumers would appear to make it cost prohibitive to expand beyond major metropolitan areas.

This makes it difficult for people in small and medium sized cities to participate in a major part of the tech revolution. And, people living in rural communities… forget about it.

The Daily Deal and the Small Business

The concept of connecting consumers to small businesses in major cities is a great idea.

However, the short-term exposure that small businesses get may not be worth the costs involved in offering this type of deal to consumers.

In fact, some people have questioned whether or not consumers who use daily deal sites will become repeat customers who are willing to pay full price in the future.

It has also been documented that some daily deal offers have been very detrimental to the small businesses that offered them.

National Daily Deals

With the increasing number of people who are purchasing smartphones all over the country, the time might be right for a startup to offer a national daily deal site to consumers.

What I am envisioning is a site that partners with major brands that have a presence all over the country. This could include restaurants, department stores and even individual products and services that are available at multiple retailers.

By eliminating the need for a local sales staff in each city it would allow the site to offer daily deals to smaller cities and even rural markets.

And, because the site would be working with major brands that are already offering similar deals via other advertising mediums, it would decrease the chance that the offers would have major negative impacts on their clients’ bottom lines.

The Current Sites

I am aware that Foursquare and Shopkick are offering deals on a national level. And, I am a huge fan of both sites.

However, there are people out there who are reluctant to use location-based social networking sites similar to Foursquare. And, others might not be interested in a site with the gaming component that Shopkick introduces to the shopping experience, so they wouldn’t even think to use the app to find out if there are any deals currently being offered by a participating merchant.

In doing some research for this blog post, I was able to find additional deals sites with some potential, including The Dealmap and Eversave.com. However, while it does appear that both of these sites partner with some national brands, again it looks like they are limiting their offerings to select major cities.

The Valpak app comes the closest to what I am envisioning. However, their selection of deals is still rather limited, at least in the market where I am currently located. (Note: You can get additional deals at their website.)

Coupons.com is also worth looking into, but they don’t have an app.

Finally, many individual brands also have smartphone apps. However, I would speculate that the people who know about and currently use their apps tend to be current customers. To put it another way, having to use a different app for each store takes the recommendation component out of the equation.

Final Thoughts

As more people purchase smartphones, there is going to be an increased opportunity to reach more diverse subsets of the population.

However, people in some of the smaller markets currently aren’t able to participate in part of the technology revolution that is taking place in large metropolitan areas.

Daily deal sites are just one example of this.

While there might be some local websites that serve some of the smaller markets, to my knowledge, a large daily deal site hasn’t been created that has a goal of offering a daily deal to the everyone in the United States.

So, why hasn’t one of the current daily deal sites out there started offering a national daily deal, in addition to their more localized deals? With the name recognition that Groupon and LivingSocial already have coupled with the infrastructure that they already have in place, it shouldn’t be that hard for them to do.

And, for those of you with an entrepreneurial spirit, mixed with the right tech knowledge and business acumen, this might be a good idea for a new startup. Feel free to take the idea and make it your own… I would just like to see a daily deal site that could be used by the whole country.

If there is a site out there already doing this, please let me know about it in the comments section below.

Photo credit: TechCocktail on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at: chadjthiele@gmail.com.

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What Apps Are Currently on Your Smartphone?

As I mentioned in a post earlier this month, comScore reported that for the three-month average period ending in October 2011, 90 million people in the United States owned smartphones. As would be expected, this number continues to increase.

In fact, according to Flurry Analytics, 6.8 million Android and iOS devices were activated on Christmas Day. This is a 353% increase over the average number of activations per day that were observed in the first 20 days of December, 2011.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that the number of smartphone app downloads was 125% higher on Christmas Day, when compared to the baseline measurement.

Suggested Smartphone Apps

With all the new smartphone owners out there, it makes sense to suggest some smartphone apps that people might be interested in.

It should be noted that I currently own an Android phone, so most of my suggestion will be based on apps that are available for that operating system. However, most of these apps are also available on other mobile operating systems, as well.

If you are currently using any of the social networking sites out there that have apps available (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, Myspace, YouTube, etc.) then it makes sense to download those apps to your phone. There are some other apps that can be used to access these social networks, as well. In fact, there are many apps currently available that allow you to access your Twitter account.

Google Maps is also a very useful app. The Android version of the app eliminates the need for a separate GPS navigation system. It also now includes indoor maps. I haven’t tried this feature… but it sounds really cool.

The CNN app is great for keeping up with the latest news. When the app is installed on your phone, you can choose to have it notify you about breaking news. I also recently installed the CNNMoney app. It is similar, but it focuses on business news.

CNET TV and G4 both have great apps that provide users with the kind of information that satisfies the tech nerd in all of us.

Evernote is included on a lot of favorite app lists, including mine. Among other things, you can use the app to take notes in meetings or write down ideas that you want to remember when you are on the go. As an added bonus, you can also access Evernote from your PC. I use this app a lot for taking notes about topics that I want to blog about in the future.

Foursquare is one of my favorite location-based social networking sites. The app is very easy to use, and businesses sometimes reward you for checking in to their venue. I have written several blog posts about Foursquare in the past. It should also be noted that there are other apps out there that serve a similar purpose, like SCVNGR and Google Latitude. However, I currently tend to use Foursquare the most.

If you are looking for a cool photo sharing app, I’d suggest giving picplz a try. However, I have also heard a lot of good things about Instagram. It was recently announced that Instagram is working on an Android version of the app. Until the Android version of Instagram is available, picplz is a very good alternative. In fact, there are people out there who say that they prefer picplz to Instagram.

GetGlue is a great app that allows you to let others know what you are currently doing (i.e., reading a book, listening to music, watching a television show or movie, playing a video game or just thinking about a topic.) The current version of the app is a little clunky, but I still enjoy using it. And, hopefully, future versions of the app will fix some of the problems that I am currently having with it.

I am also a fan of the Yelp app. It gives you access to user-generated reviews of the local bars, restaurants and stores in your area. Yelp is a great resource for people who have recently relocated to a new city or are visiting a city that they have never been to before. It also has a check-in component similar to Foursquare. And, if you get a chance, check out Yelp’s Monocle. Yelp’s Monocle is an augmented reality feature that among other things allows you to see reviews of the businesses that are nearby.

Urbanspoon is another app that can help you find nearby bars and restaurants. The unique thing about this app is that if you can’t decide where you want eat, you can use the Urbanspoon slot machine to get additional suggestions. It’s a very cool app.

Many of the daily-deal sites, such as Groupon and LivingSocial, also have apps. As I mentioned in a post that I wrote this past summer, I think that Scoutmob is the daily-deal site that offers the best value to businesses and consumers. As is the case with most of the daily-deal sites, Scoutmob can only be used in certain markets.

Shopkick is another fun app that allows you to earn kicks by visiting participating brick-and-mortar stores and scanning certain items with your smartphone. The kicks can then be redeemed for merchandise at participating retail stores or donated to certain charities.

I also need to mention the Google Reader and Listen apps. I use these apps a lot for reading blog posts and listening to podcasts, respectively.

And, if you sell things on eBay, you definitely will want to download the eBay app. It has many useful features that help facilitate the buying and selling process.

Finally, there are a few apps that I haven’t used that much, but I want to mention because I think that they could potentially be very useful to some people. These apps include Google Googles, RedLaser, Zaarly and WHERE.

Final Thoughts

Many people received smartphones over the holidays.

That means that many people are now learning about the different ways that smartphones can make life a little easier by simplifying some of our everyday tasks.

However, in order to take full advantage of their smartphones, people need to know what apps to download.

The list that I just provided is a good place to start.

However, with over 500,000 apps in the both the Apple App Store and Google’s Android Market, it’s just the beginning.

For additional suggestions, you might want to check out the lists that are provided by other bloggers. In fact, Nate Riggs just published a list today. Jeff Hilimire also frequently blogs about apps that you might never have heard about before.

Other popular websites also frequently list some of the best apps that are currently available.

However, the only way you can truly know whether or not an app is valuable to you is to actually try it yourself. So, I’d suggest heading over to the Apple App Store or Google’s Android Market and give some of the many apps out there a try.

And, if you have any other apps that you would like to suggest, I’d love to hear about them.

Photo credit: mcclanahoochie on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at: chadjthiele@gmail.com.

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In the Daily Deal Marketplace, I’d Bet on Scoutmob

Photo credit: BurgerAustin on Flickr.Groupon and LivingSocial are unquestionably the market leaders in the daily deal marketplace.

As a blog post on blog.comscore.com, titled “Groupon, LivingSocial Grabbing Different Segments of the Daily Deal Marketplace,” points out, “The daily deal industry is busy, to be sure. There are hundreds of regional and internet-based competitors in the space, with one of the newest entrants being Glenn Beck’s Markdown.com. Anyone and everyone, it seems, is trying to grab a piece of the pie. But despite the deluge of new entrants, the market is not necessarily crowded – especially at the top. The tail is long and fragmented and Groupon and LivingSocial sit as gorillas among ants, accounting for over 90% of all visits among all group buying websites tracked by comScore. Among the top daily deal sites, we notice a significant drop-off after the top two players.”

Survival of the Fittest

As comScore pointed out in their blog post, there are hundreds of sites that are offering daily deals to consumers.

Although there is a demand for this type of service, success is not guaranteed.

Recently, the social media giant known as Facebook announced that it was getting out the daily deals business just four months after it began testing Facebook Deals.

And, while Yelp is not completely discontinuing Yelp Deals, it announced that it will be scaling it back.

An article on businessweek.com, titled “Yelp Follows Facebook in Scaling Back Daily-Deal Service,” has some insights into why these two well-known social networking sites decided to scale back their daily deal offerings.

The article points out that the big players are getting out of the daily deal business because it does not make a dent on their revenue numbers.

The article also mentions that, “More than half, or 52 percent, of U.S. consumers who use daily-deal services say they feel “overwhelmed” by the number of e-mails they receive about deals on a daily basis, according to a survey conducted earlier this year by PriceGrabber, a division of Experian Plc. About 60 percent of people surveyed said they feel the daily-deal industry is too crowded.”

For smaller daily deal sites to survive in the long run, they are going to have to find a way to differentiate themselves from the competition.

In my opinion, Scoutmob is doing just that.

Scoutmob’s Daily Deal

Scoutmob puts a slightly different twist on the daily deal.

From a consumer standpoint, Scoutmob eliminates the commitment. That is, you don’t need to pay up front to receive Scoutmob’s daily deal.

As Scoutmob’s FAQs explain, “Well, if you’re worried about being committed to a deal, then chill; unlike other deal sites, we don’t require you to give us your credit card information, any cash money, or your first-born child. Ever. All we need from you is a mobile phone number where we can send the deal — it’s just like a virtual pinky swear that you intend to use the deal some time in the near future. And we promise to never, ever, ever spam you. See? Not so scary.”

Scoutmob’s website explains their deal process like this:

“We’re out creating exclusive deals at places locals actually go.”

“You read the email, you like the deal, you send it to your phone. No need to print, no need to pay ahead. Just good old-fashioned deal-getting on your mobile.”

“Deals move fast. You have limited time to claim them but a longer amount of time to actually use our deals. So you best be checking your email daily.”

“Our scouts are bringing you the scoop on the people, places, and events worth knowing around town.”

“Victory dance. You scored.”

“Do it again tomorrow.”

And, if you have a smartphone, Scoutmob’s iPhone and Android apps make it even easier.

When you install Scoutmob’s app on your smartphone, all the current deals are automatically available to you. Therefore, there is no need to check Scoutmob’s daily email. Plus, you get “Return Perks” when you use Scoutmob’s deals via their app.

How Scoutmob Works for Local Businesses

Although more people are currently using Groupon and LivingSocial, Scoutmob can compete on price.

According to a blog post on blogs.reuters.com, titled “Scoutmob tries to outdeal Groupon,” Scoutmob makes their deals free to consumers and only charges local business owners $2 per converted customer. In comparison, Groupon takes a percentage of the sale for its deals (on a typical $25-for-$50-worth-of-food coupon, Groupon charges $12.50.)

For additional information, visit Scoutmob’s website.

Conclusion

Groupon and LivingSocial are the current market leaders in the daily deal marketplace.

However, there are many other daily deal sites out there.

If some of these smaller sites are going achieve long-term success, they are going to have to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

In my opinion, Scoutmob’s approach to the daily deal gives them an edge over some of the other sites.

Scoutmob doesn’t require that you purchase anything up front.

Therefore, it eliminates the need to plan ahead.

More importantly, Scoutmob customers will never lose money as a result of a daily deal coupon expiring.

And, Scoutmob’s iPhone and Android apps deliver all of the active deals to users’ smartphones, thus eliminating the need for consumers to check their email to receive the daily deal.

What this adds up to is an increased likelihood that consumers will use a Scoutmob deal that is being offered by a local restaurant or merchant spontaneously. That’s a win-win-win for the consumer, the restaurant or merchant, and Scoutmob. (Note: Groupon offers Groupon Now!, but in my opinion Scoutmob is easier to use. Plus, Scoutmob’s deals can be claimed over a long period of time, while Groupon Now! usually requires that you use the coupon on the day of purchase.)

Furthermore, Scoutmob only charges local restaurants and merchants a nominal per-customer fee to offer a deal on their site.

With some of the bad press that Groupon has been getting from both the consumer and business standpoint, it makes me wonder if they can remain on the top of the heap in the long run with their current business model.

In my opinion, Scoutmob is a better deal for both the consumer and the restaurants and merchants that it partners with.

It is for that reason, when looking to identify a company that will achieve long-term success in the daily deal marketplace, I’d place my bets on Scoutmob.

Photo credit: BurgerAustin on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at: chadjthiele@gmail.com.

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