Whether you have used Groupon or not, it is good practice to know your options before making a marketing or advertising decision for your business.
Some businesses have used Groupon but did not like the results for one reason or another. Other businesses simply want to hit a different audience. And sometimes, Groupon is hard to nail down in order to run your promotion in a timely fashion that actually helps your business when it's most necessary.
Here's the good news: There are countless options.
Groupon is a common term for businesses but anymore it's like using the word "Kleenex" when you mean "tissue". The term "Groupon" simply means "an online deal site".
At Try It Local, we encourage businesses to promote their own offers directly to their customers through their website and social media as well as through email and texts with the same daily deal style platform as Groupon (where consumers buy on the spot). However, when you are looking to reach a new audience, here are a few alternatives to Groupon.
Consumers Pay at Storefront
Rather than a consumer entering a credit card to purchase a voucher, the offer is simply promoted to consumers through a website beyond your own. Payment takes place in your store or at the time of redemption. This means there is no profit sharing and you don't have to wait on payment from the third part deal site. Keep in mind, though, if consumers are not putting out their money up front, they are not committed to your deal.
Use your Facebook page the same way you already do today with their new "Offers" feature. (*This is still in beta and not available to all business pages. Look for it soon if you do not have it already.) Just like you can create a post that is a photo as opposed to a regular status update, you can create a post that is an offer. When your fans want to "claim" it they simply select the "claim offer" button and it emails them a confirmation they can bring to the store. By selecting "claim offer" it is posted to that person's wall so that their friends see the activity and can also "claim" the offer. Rather than paying upfront cash, the customer's payment is their public sharing or your offer. They are promoting your brand to all of their Facebook friends. When the person brings the confirmation email to your business, you know that he or she did their part to promote your business and offer and they are rewarded with whatever your offer was and the customer pays in your store.
This site is a crossover between Facebook Offers and the standard daily deal site. Consumers do not pay for the deals in advance; however, most deals require the use of the ScoutMob smart phone app to claim and redeem deals. Multiple deals are available at the same time for a static period of time. Unlike Facebook Offers, there are stipulations on the offers a business promotes on ScoutMob (at least 50% off), but this site is more specific to what businesses it will promote in order to assure their users great deals for great businesses. Also unlike Facebook, ScoutMob is not completely free to the business. The charge is based on the number of offers claimed and the number redeemed.
Niche Deal Sites
Consumers are starting to notice a decline in the quality of deals that many daily deal sites offer as well as feeling daily deal overload. This is resulting in a growth in targeted deal sites that allow consumer to drill down on the types of deals they are interested in hearing about; at the same time, businesses are opting for these sites so they can target a more select audience.
SpaFinder - Spas
This site's primary function for users is to help them locate salons and spas, but they have a deal portion of their site so that the spas indexed can have special offers available alongside their profile to encourage consumers to visit their spa.
Travelzoo - Tourists Attractions (Restaurants, Spas, Entertainment)
Obviously oriented at tourists, this site is great for restaurants, spas and entertainment/recreation based businesses. Out-of-towners always want to hit up your city's best options for fun and relaxation but they also like to keep on budget. While deal sites make it easy to market to locals, Travelzoo helps you reach the newbies in town.
Fab - Products
Primarily for designer products, consumers come here to find the hottest and trendiest items from furniture, gadgets and art to pets and men's and women's attire. The site says they allow people "to discover everyday design products at great prices."
Refinery29 Reserve - Products
Refinery29 defines itself as "the only 360-degree source for shopping, exclusive deals, trends, beauty news, local hot-spots, and at-home sneak-peeks of fashion's finest." The Reserve promotes fashion products from attire and accessories to throw pillows and make up.
Savored - Restaurants
Only available to select cities, this site promises consumers better restaurant options when it comes to acquiring great deals. For businesses, this is a subscription based service where you can be more select about what your offers are, how many available and for what times they can be used.
These businesses are nearly a clone of Groupon. The big differences beyond the name and basic layout of your feature and the checkout process are:
- The cities where they advertise
- Whether they have an email list or just promote through social means
- The revenue split between business and deal site
- Referral reward programs to incentivize consumer sharing
- The size of their reach
LivingSocial - The number two daily deal site after Groupon.
Tippr - Displays an array of deals for a given city at any one time with a high volume of products in addition to services.
AmazonLocal - Amazon.com's daily deal platform.
Seize the Deal - Partners with local radio stations in addition to the standard forms of promoting deals.
HomeRun - Highly encourages sharing through referral rewards and buying teamwork.