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Posts Tagged ‘daily deals’

5 top ways to succeed with Daily Deals

Monday, May 20th, 2013

GrouponBased on polling more than 500 restaurant decision makers, including 152 who have participated in daily deal campaigns, and taking into consideration what prior research has shown, Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN) and the National Restaurant Association are providing restaurateurs with some of the top tactics for success with daily deal marketing campaigns.

While these tactics are specific to restaurants, we think almost any retailer can gain insight into what makes daily deals work from them.

Here’s an infographic illustrating the findings:

Research shows that best practices for restaurateurs to help ensure daily deal success include:

  • Prepare staff to focus on customer service, look for upsell opportunities and track offer redemption
  • Schedule daily deal timing based on business needs and seasonality
  • Estimate and understand the promotion’s impact on profitability
  • Measure success by using free tools provided by daily deal company
  • Encourage repeat visitors with a customer loyalty program

Results from the recent online survey conducted by Ipsos MediaCT showed restaurateurs who had successful daily deal experiences stood out as experimental marketers that use a variety of different channels and tactics to drive customer acquisition and retention:

  • 94 percent engage with customers via social media (vs. 75 percent of non-daily deal users)
  • 77 percent have run more than one daily deal
  • 73 percent connect with customers via email (vs. 59 percent of non-daily deal users)
  • 79 percent monitor online review sites to see what others are saying about their business (vs. 68 percent of non-daily deal users)
  • 71 percent have promoted their business with traditional newspaper and magazine ads (vs. 58 percent of non-daily deal users)

“Daily deals remain a very popular form of marketing for our members, and these are some important steps restaurateurs can take to help ensure a greater return on their investment,” said Julia Kanouse, VP, Strategic Marketing, National Restaurant Association.

“This study reveals how daily deals and the analytical tools that Groupon provides have become a powerful and measurable part of an active restaurateur’s marketing mix,” said Sanjay Gupta, VP, Merchant Marketing, Groupon.

Groupon and the National Restaurant Association have an ongoing partnership to provide restaurateurs with educational content and important marketing resources to help their businesses grow. This content will reside on www.grouponworks.com andhttp://www.restaurant.org.

Consumer Fraud Center warning: some daily deals may offer fake or illicit goods

Friday, December 7th, 2012

 If you wouldn’t buy an alleged luxury watch from for pennies on the dollar from a street vendor, you should think twice before buying a similar product from a daily deal site.

As the holiday buying season continues to gather steam, the Consumer Fraud Center today issued a warning about a fast-growing trend: the sale of goods at bargain-basement prices through so-called “daily deal” sites, which can mask the sale of counterfeit or illicit goods.

These “daily deals” initially focused on highlighting steep discounts at local merchants seeking to build customer traffic, but have increasingly come to be dominated by third-party retailers interested in dumping large quantities of consumer goods as quickly as possible, even if those goods have not been properly verified as being legitimate.

Flash sales may be questionable

“What makes these sites particularly risky is the liquidation of merchandise through a ‘flash sale’ before its authenticity can be verified,” said James Lee, executive director of the Consumer Fraud Center.

“You are probably safe if buying a voucher for a local restaurant, but you should exercise caution when buying ‘daily deal’ goods at an extreme discount.”

Lee gave the example of purported luxury brand watches sold at discounts of 75 to 90 percent, along with small appliances, luxury apparel items, electronics and toys as being the most-often sold on these flash deals.

“They are not necessarily counterfeit, but a luxury watch or handbag listed for pennies on the dollar has no greater claim to authenticity if sold through a ‘daily deal’ site than one hawked on Canal Street in New York or Santee Alley in Los Angeles,” Lee said.

Site with troubling record

One such “daily deal” site with a troubling track record is Brooklyn-based Shnoop.com, which dispatches email blasts to consumers with featured daily bargains. According to Thomas Peistrup, a Los Angeles-based intellectual property attorney, even after sending a “cease and desist” letter, he was shipped a counterfeit product as part of a client “test buy.”

“We sent a ‘cease and desist’ letter because we were nearly certain that the discounted goods did not originate from the legitimate supply chain. Sure enough, when our test buy later arrived, we confirmed it as counterfeit,” Peistrup said.

Lee reiterated the Consumer Fraud Center’s long-standing advice that consumers should be leery of extreme discounts offered over the internet.

“The advice passed on for generations still holds true: If a deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is,” Lee said.

Lee added that any consumers who purchased a counterfeit or illegitimate item on one of these daily deal sites are encouraged to post it on the Consumer Fraud Center website so other consumers could be warned during this holiday season.

The Consumer Fraud Center is also concerned about the potential for selling counterfeit goods via Amazon Pages and issued a separate warning regarding them.

Retailers better be ready for holiday mobile and online shoppers

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Shopping cartIf you’re a retailer, you better tune up your online store and have a mobile strategy in place. Yet another survey says most shoppers plan to do some buying online and an increasing number will shop using a mobile device.

Shoppers plan to check prices online or via mobile even when in brick and mortar stores, read online reviews, avoid lines by buying online, and hunt for discounts on mobile devices and computers.

On the heels of a previous survey by Soasta showing most Americans plan online shopping this year, PriceGrabber reports that its second winter holiday shopping study shows that nearly all 2,469 online shopping consumers surveyed will do some gift-hunting from a computer.

The number of consumers who plan to visit brick-and-mortar stores dropped by 2 percentage points to 46 percent compared to last year.

Additionally, the survey results indicated that 16 percent of consumers will shop using a mobile device, compared with 13 percent last year. Conducted from Sept. 14 to Sept. 27, 2012, the survey includes responses from 2,469 U.S. online shopping consumers.

More using mobile this year

PriceGrabber’s also saw an increase in the percentage of purchases that will be made from a mobile device this holiday season compared with last year.

It’s not a big gain – up 2 percent from 2011 to 6 percent this year, but a significant 62 percent plan to make holiday buys online and only 32 percent said they’re shopping in brick and mortar stores. It appears a small percentage of both former online and brick and mortar shoppers have moved to mobile.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are still going to be the biggest shopping days, even though some reports say Black Friday deals are not really always better than later sales.

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving big shopping days

Of the 6 percent of shoppers who plan to use a mobile device, 37 percent expect to do most of their shopping on Black Friday (Nov. 23) and 36 percent on Cyber Monday (Nov. 26) via mobile.

Eleven percent preferred the Saturday after Black Friday (Nov. 24) and 10 percent indicated Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22). Only six percent plan to shop on Sunday, Nov. 25, from their mobile device.

Retailers need to be aware of any cheaper prices online for the goods on their shelves.

Looking for discounts

PriceGrabber says the survey results “clearly show that consumers are increasingly relying on mobile devices to save money on holiday gifts.” A full 70 percent said they plan to check prices online before making an offline purchase.

According to the survey, sixty-six percent indicated that they plan to make purchases from their mobile device, 52 percent plan to view retailer emails containing coupons and discounts while shopping in stores and 46 percent said they will use comparison shopping applications and bar code scanners to save money.

Forty-one percent noted they will have retailer coupons texted directly to their phones, 40 percent plan to check store inventory before shopping in brick-and-mortar stores and 33 percent said they will download shopping apps to earn cash, rewards and points.

“We anticipate that online and mobile shopping will continue to increase in popularity this holiday season because it allows consumers to easily compare products and read merchant reviews, as well as locate the best price on every product without having to visit each and every brick-and-mortar store,” said Rojeh Avanesian, vice president of marketing and analytics of PriceGrabber.com.

Check your prices – they will

“Online and mobile shopping allows consumers the ability to monitor prices and to shop around the clock. Today’s busy and money-conscious consumer is looking at these channels as go-to options for finding the best deals during a frenetic period like the winter holiday season.”

Daily deal websites remain popular among consumers looking to give an experiential-type gift to loved ones this season. PriceGrabber’s survey data found that 57 percent of consumers plan to use local deal sites.

 

How should merchants chose a daily deal site partner?

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

By Allan Maurer

BloomspotChicago-based Groupon, (Nasdaq:GRPN) the daily deal site, got a share price boost Monday after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock, which is still trading far from its initial public offering price of $20.

Morgan Stanley said Groupon’s 33 percent first-quarter rise in North American revenue came from better user-targeting. Such personalization could help avoid “deal fatigue and boost margins, it said.

Some analysts also cited Groupon’s better repeat merchant rate of 41 percent as a major plus factor.

Bloomspot says look at customer repeat rate

But San Francisco-based Bloomspot, yet another player in the crowded digital deals space that focuses on connecting high end merchants with targeted customers, suggests that’s not the metric that should interest merchants when they choose daily deal partners.

Instead, the firm suggests that customer repeat rates (how many times a customer returns to a merchant after redeeming an offer) – and spending numbers (how much a customer spends above the ticket price of the initial offer) are the important figures.

Huge repeat business numbers

Today, Bloomspot released internal data showing that 72 percent of its customers return to a business after redeeming their offers and the average overspend was $140.

Across verticals, customers spend beyond the price of the promotion.  For example, in the fine dining category, customers have spent more than three times above the original price of the certificate, or $150. Beauty and spa offers demonstrate an average of $174 in spend above the offer price.

Bloomspot also boasts a 54 percent merchant repeat rate, with 87 percent of merchants saying they will repeat.

Unusual business model

Bloomspot’s unusual business model takes credit card data at places where it runs an offer and uses it to predict how much a customer will spend on the offer, guaranteeing a certain level of profitability. If the offer misses the guarantee, Bloomspot makes up the difference from its own commission. That’s something of a no-lose deal for the merchant.

“As a company whose employees work on a commission basis, any special we run needs to attract the type of clientele who do not visit an establishment only when they have a massive coupon, but rather use coupons to explore the market and then return to those companies who best serve their needs,” said Brad Drummer, owner of Washington DC’s Nusta Spa.

“Lucky for us, Bloomspot put us in touch with just such a base of amazing customers that purchased many additional services at full price and scheduled their next visit on the spot. One of our customers bought a $70 deal and has been back 11 times. She’s spent almost $1,000 in-store since we ran! I’m glad we chose Bloomspot to represent our brand.”

Bloomspot has raised about $51 million in venture backing, not quite in the same league as Groupon and Living Social, but entirely respectable.

Many daily deal sites bit the dust

For a while it seemed as if a new daily deal site popped up every week, many in niche markets. But smaller players drop out almost as fast as they are created. At the beginning of 2012, Daily Deal Media said that 798 daily deal sites closed up shop in the last six months. The total number of sites globally fell 7.61 percent in that period.

We’ve seen conflicting reports regarding consumer acceptance of daily deals. In September last year, a study from researchers at Rice University and Cornell University showed that the companies are more popular than ever among consumers.

“The key finding is that there is no evidence of waning interest among consumers of daily deal promotions,” said Rice University’s Utpal Dholakia, co-author of “Daily Deal Fatigue or Unabated Enthusiasm?” “In fact, the more deals purchased by an individual, the more enthusiastic they seem to be.”

Which cities have the most social media savvy businesses?

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

FriscoTopping the list of most social small business cities in the U.S. on the just released Radius Social Small Business Report: San Francisco and Los Angeles, as West Coast cities overall ranked higher than their East Coast counterparts. New York ranked #7, while other major East Coast cities, such as Boston, and NC Research Triangle cities did not make the top 20.

Some of the other findings are surprising.

The results are the findings of the first annual Radius Social Small Business Report, which tracks SMBs in the top 85 U.S. cities and ranks them via the Radius Social Index, a score compromised of social media presence and daily deal activity.

Radius’s technology collects and monitors information from more than 15 million SMBs in the U.S. and can measure social media presence by the number of SMBs with company websites, social media profiles on Facebook and Twitter, check-ins on Foursquare and Yelp reviews.

It can also measure daily deal activity based on the number of SMBs that have issued a daily deal.

“This report shows how small business owners in large metropolitan areas are embracing social media,” said Darian Shirazi, Founder & CEO of Radius.

“With our data on small businesses, we can extract valuable insights that are not only a competitive advantage for SMBs and large enterprises, but also an economic asset for a variety of civic institutions.”

Radius’ innovative, cloud-based technology collects and monitors information from hundreds of thousands of sources via multiple channels including social, news and government sites. Radius provides the most accurate online and social data available on the SMB market.

The top 10 cities with the most socially savvy SMBs, based on the Radius Index:
City Radius Social Index Score (out of 10)
San Francisco, CA 8.84
Los Angeles, CA 7.61
Washington, DC 7.31
Seattle, WA 6.37
San Diego, CA 6.28
Chicago, IL 6.03
New York, NY 5.67
Dallas, TX 5.57
Phoenix, AZ 5.52
Tampa, FL 5.44

Other notable findings from the Social Small Business Report include:

  • Grand Rapids, MI (29%) and Oklahoma, OK (28%) have the highest percentage of SMBs with Facebook pages.
  • Metropolitan cities that serve as home to major daily deal companies such as Living Social (Washington, DC – .5%) and Groupon (Chicago, IL – .4%) have the highest percentage of SMBs that have done at least one daily deal. However, both cities are less than 1 percent.
  • Buffalo, NY (20%) and Rochester, MN (20%) have the highest percentage of SMBs with Foursquare check-ins.
  • Charleston, WV ranked last amongst the top 85 U.S. social small business cities with a score of 1.8.

 

Bargain hunting last minute holiday shoppers turning to daily deal sites

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

PricegrabberFollowing a blowout Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping weekend, many consumers will continue to hit the stores through the final days leading up to Christmas, according to survey data from PriceGrabber, a part of Experian.

Results from PriceGrabber’s fourth winter holiday shopping survey reveal that 41 percent of consumers plan to shop between Dec. 21 and Dec. 24 for holiday gifts.

This data comes on the heels of a successfulThanksgiving weekend for retailers, during which PriceGrabber experienced a 15 percent increase in site traffic compared to 2010. Conducted from Nov. 17 to Nov. 30, 2011, the survey includes responses from 13,472 U.S. online shopping consumers.

Many last-minute shoppers are hunting for bargains
When those consumers who plan to shop at the last minute were asked to select all of the reasons why, 43 percent said that they believe the best discounts can be found during this time period.

Another 43 percent of consumers indicated that they are busy and unable to finish their shopping earlier, 26 percent admitted to procrastinating, 22 percent believe it is fun to do last-minute shopping, and 10 percent are waiting for a year-end work bonus to begin shopping.

“After observing the increase in activity and sales of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping season this year, we expect to see a significant percentage of consumers seeking to prompt retailers to offer additional savings throughout December,” said Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber.

“Savvy shoppers saw retailers rolling out discounts as early as the week before Thanksgiving this year, and they are staying on top of last-minute incentives that are certainly on the horizon in the coming weeks.”

Consumers will buy a combination of high- and low-price-point items
When asked what type of gifts they plan to purchase at the last minute, 53 percent said they intend to purchase both big- and small-ticket items, 31 percent will buy only small-ticket items (under $100); 10 percent will purchase all of the holidays gifts on their list, and 6 percent will buy only big-ticket items (over $100).

More men will delay holiday shopping until January
While most consumers plan to complete their holiday shopping before Dec. 25, PriceGrabber’s survey found that 9 percent will wait until January to purchase holiday gifts. Men and women differed in their plans, with 11 percent of men saying they will wait until January to buy gifts and only 8 percent of women planning to do so.

When those consumers who will delay their holiday shopping until January were asked to select all of the reasons why, 68 percent said that they believe sale prices are best in January, 27 percent plan to use gift money received during the holiday period, 24 percent simply prefer shopping in January, and 11 percent plan to wait for a year-end work bonus to make purchases.

Daily deal sites begin to make mark on last-minute shoppers
According to PriceGrabber’s survey, a notable percentage of shoppers are turning to daily deal sites for great last-minute prices, with 27 percent indicating that they plan to shop for last-minute gifts on sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial.

Those consumers who plan to use daily deal sites will do so largely in hopes of finding a bargain.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents indicated they are trying to save money on gifts and like the discounts available through daily deal sites; 22 percent enjoy the great holiday deals on local services in their area; 13 percent said they liked being able to share great deals with family and friends, especially during the holiday season; 4 percent prefer to give experiential gifts and believe local deal sites offer the best options; and 3 percent are intrigued by the hype around local deal sites.

 

Americans tired of irrelevant daily deals but want bank offers

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Free MoneeDespite the proliferation of daily deals sites, nearly 80 percent of Americans report they are tired of receiving irrelevant email offers and discounts. But surprisingly, a majority of consumers (six in every 10) are actually looking to – and expecting – their bank to find and offer them new ways to save money; and they are ready to take action if their expectations are not met.

In fact, 63 percent of Americans state they are at least somewhat likely to switch banks if another financial institution provided its customers with valuable, no-strings-attached offers and theirs did not.

What specific types of retailer offers and incentives are Americans most interested in receiving from their banks? Top of the list was cash, specifically in the form of credit direct to their debit or credit card.

Traditional merchant discounts, such as 20 percent off a purchase, ranked second while rebates (e.g., $20 back when you spend $100) rounded out the list.

These are just a few of the key findings from a Harris Interactive Survey commissioned by FreeMonee Network released today. Highlights include:

  • 90 percent receive some type of discount or offer to their email or phone; but 25 percent do not redeem a single one
  • Six in 10 consumers report they expect their bank to find and offer them new and different ways to help them save money
  • 63 percent of Americans state they are at least somewhat likely to switch banks if another financial institution provided its customers with valuable, no-strings-attached offers and theirs did not
    • This number is even greater among the younger generations (76% among 18 to 34 year olds)
  • 90 percent of people said they trust their banks – and more than half (57%) report they are comfortable with their bank using their debit or credit card purchase history in order to provide them with tailored and valuable offers and incentives to both national and local retailers
  • Among 18 to 34 year olds, the statistic climbs to two in three who say they are okay with their bank analyzing and applying their individual transaction data in order to receive more relevant, valuable, money-saving retailer incentives 

“Consumers are asking banks to help them keep their wallets healthy and the technology now exists for financial institutions to provide meaningful merchant incentives to their customers using card transaction data without sacrificing a consumer’s privacy. Now is the right time to act.”

Small businesses pessimistic about economy, but see digital marketing as important

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

InfogroupInfogroup, a provider of targeted high-value sales and marketing data, customer and market intelligence solutions, says  their quarterly Small Business Marketing Outlook Survey shows that small businesses are quite negative about the current business climate.

The survey shows 57% saying it’s” poor or terrible” and only 11% saying it’s “good”.

When asked why they answered the way they did about the current business climate, responses were generally reflective of government regulation; lack of financing, and consumer confidence

  • “The cost that the government has increased on a small business is way too much…it is putting the small business out of business.”
  • “Small business owners are having a hard time finding financing.”
  • “Lower customer confidence due to weak economy and poor job market.”

The minority who were more optimistic about the economy generally cited adaptability of and local support for small businesses

  • “Small businesses are flexible and can accommodate quickly to the changes in the environment.”
  • “We’re a brand new business, but we’ve seen quite a bit of support from surrounding communities. I think things will only get better!”

Small business sales/revenue growth has been challenged during the 12 months prior to the survey, with more than half (56%) saying their “growth” was flat or had declined.

Looking ahead, they remain skeptical about of the overall business climate; only 40% expect it to improve over the next 12 months. Surprisingly, when it comes to their own business prospects, however, they are more optimistic.

Sixty-one percent (61%) of respondents expect their sales/revenue to grow in the next 12 months, 37% by 5% or more.

“It’s heartening that small businesses are feeling positive about their own growth and prospects,” said Infogroup President and CEO Clare Hart. “The survey shows that they are committed to using marketing to grow their business. At Infogroup, we have found that small businesses are leveraging technology to save time and to do more, faster.”

In the Small Business Marketing Outlook Survey, Infogroup asked small businesses what they thought about the current economic environment, their prospects for growth in the future and the marketing techniques most important to powering their business growth.

Small Business Marketing

To grow their businesses, small businesses expect to stay the course with marketing. Nearly one-third (31%) expect to increase their budgets over the next 12 months and 57% expect their marketing budgets to remain flat. Only 10% expect a decline in their marketing budgets.

When it comes to marketing their own businesses, small businesses are using a range of marketing techniques:

  • By a large margin, the company website is ranked as the most important marketing technique with 60% saying their company website is very or extremely important
  • Email marketing had a strong showing with 50% listing it as ‘very important’ or ‘somewhat important’
  • When it comes to small business use of social networking to market their businesses, Facebook is most popular with 20% of respondents rating it as extremely/very important and 24% saying it’s somewhat important
  • The importance of Twitter was much lower, only 24% assigned it somewhat or higher level of importance
  • Traditional print marketing and search advertising were rated by most respondents as ‘somewhat important’
  • Local coupon sites were less popular as a marketing technique, with only about 26% of survey respondents rating them with somewhat or higher level of importance
  • Small businesses also stated that word-of-mouth and referrals are essential to getting their name out there and driving business.

Groupon plans to raise up to $540M in IPO, CouponCabin nabs $54M, BuyWithMe layoffs

Friday, October 21st, 2011

GrouponChicago-based Groupon, the leader in the online daily deal space, says in regulatory documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it plans to raise up to $540 million in an initial public offering of stock, less than the $750 million it said it planned to raise in a June filing.

Groupon said it plans to sell 30 million shares at between $16 and $18 a share, which would raise from $480 million to $540 million.

Groupon, which reported 143 million subscribers in Q3, up from 116 million in the previous quarter, had 30 million customers at the end of September – meaning subscribers who bought at least one Groupon deal.  Repeat customers rose to 16 million, up from 12 million.

It also saw increased revenue, netting $430 million, up 10 percent from the previous quarter.

Nevertheless, it is still losing money, although at a decreasing rate. The filing said it lost only $21 million in Q3, compared wiht $52 million in Q2.

PEHub has the numbers.

CouponCabin nabs $54M financing

In other online deal news, CouponCabin raised a fat $54 million in a round led by JMI Equity. The Whitling, IN-based firm, founded in 2003, verifies whether its coupons work and if they don’t offers users a $25 gift card.

CouponCabin founder and CEO Scott Kluth said, “Among other initiatives, this investment will enable us to grow our local, grocery and printable coupon offerings, making us the deepest and broadest consumer destination for coupons on the web. This investment will also help us better engage with more than one million fans on Facebook.”

The company has offered more than 100,000 deals from 3, 500 stores.

BuyWithMe layoffs due to shrinking markets

BuyWithMe, the third larges daily deals site online, slashed more than half its staff Thursday, a move COO David Wolfe told VentureBeat is due to the increasingly hostile capital market for daily deal sites. The company failed in its attempt to raise new money at a valuation of $500 million.

 

Jury still out on daily deals for restaurants

Friday, October 7th, 2011

TechnomicTechnomic has found that independent restaurants have mixed views on the effectiveness of online daily deals.

The results of the Chicago-based food industry research firm’s recent survey of restaurants that participated in a third-party daily deal indicate that 51 percent were pleased with the result and 46 percent thought the deal provided a good return on investment.

The research also revealed that over 40 percent of restaurants have done daily deals with multiple providers, indicating a lack of loyalty to any single source.

Restaurants that have not used a third party online daily deal believe other forms of promotion yield a better return; they claim a lower commission rate would encourage them to participate.

“In this challenging environment, restaurants are more actively and objectively assessing which promotional tactics work best,” notes Bob Goldin, Executive Vice President.  He adds that “restaurants are open to testing new tactics, including online daily deals, but require solid proof of performance before making any of them a permanent part of their marketing mix.”

The findings complement Technomic’s Daily Deal Watch—Restaurant Diner Use, Attitudes and Intentions study

Groupon tries new tactic with loyalty rewards program

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

GrouponGroupon, the largest of the daily deal companies, is trying a new tactic.  Groupon Rewards, a new program allowing consumers to unlock special Groupon deals from their favorite local businesses through repeat visits.

Consumers earn rewards at participating merchants simply by paying with the credit or debit card they have on file at Groupon.com. After spending an amount set by the merchant, the consumer unlocks the ability to purchase a special Groupon for that business.

“For consumers, this is the easiest rewards program in the world,” said Jeff Holden, SVP of Product, Groupon. “There’s no cumbersome check in process; just pay with your normal credit or debit card and Rewards works behind the scenes.”

“We love that Groupon Rewards is about increasing customer check-outs instead of the check-in or the added burden of a manual program,” said Derek Miller, director of Digital Marketing for Lifeway Foods, the parent company of Starfruit Café, which has five locations in Chicago and is participating in the pilot program.

“Fraud issues can often accompany check-in and traditional punch card loyalty programs. Groupon Rewards ties rewards to spend, not visits, giving our customers incentives to purchase a larger dessert or a second treat the next time they come in.”

Groupon Rewards joins Groupon’s Daily Deals and Groupon Now! real-time deals to create the first complete suite of marketing services for local businesses, adding a retention solution to the existing customer acquisition and yield management offerings.

Merchants need not have offered a Groupon deal in the past to participate, and can apply today. The consumer pilot program will launch in Philadelphia next month, expanding to other cities soon after.

For merchants interested in learning more about participating, see: www.groupon.com/merchants/rewards.

Social media users like daily deal sites but diss Groupon

Monday, September 19th, 2011

AmplicateSocial media users were overwhelmingly positive about deal websites over the last 12 months, but their passion for online deals is rapidly cooling thanks to growing hatred for Groupon, according to a new social media analytics report from Amplicate.

The report found that 86% of comments posted on social media about deal websites were positive over the last 12 months. But social media users were much less positive in the second half of the year than in the first.

According to the report, 93% of comments on deal websites were positive in the first six months, compared with 81% in the last six months.

Swagbucks was the most loved deal website on social media over the 12 months. Fans of Swagbucks had almost nothing negative to say about the online loyalty program, with 99% of comments expressing love for the rewards site.

Groupon most talked about and most hated

Groupon, on the other hand, was far and away the most talked about and most hated deal website. Its popularity on social media declined dramatically in 2011 thanks to negative press for its controversial Superbowl commercials and growing skepticism about its business model.

However, thanks to a flurry of positive press in 2010, Groupon still managed to garner many more positive comments than negative over the 12 months, with 81% of opinions on social media expressing love for the daily deals giant.

Amplicate’s new report ‘Public Opinion on Deal Websites on Social Media‘ reveals that what social media users most liked about deal websites were the great deals and low prices for goods and services. The only common complaint against deal websites was about the food purchased through daily deals.

Amplicate Reports explain what people have been saying about a topic, when and where they’re saying it and why.

GoSteals offers businesses free daily deals, Tremor Video, Apsalar funded

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Tremor VideoNew York-based Tremor Video, the largest independent online video technology company, has successfully raised a $37 million round of financing. New York City-based W Capital Partners led the round, which also includes the participation from Keating Capital, Canaan Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson Growth, General Catalyst Partners, Meritech Capital Partners, Singapore’s EDBI, Time Warner and SAP Ventures.

Having acquired ScanScout and Transpera in the past year, Tremor Video has extended its market leadership in the interactive video space and reaches more consumers than any other online video advertising company (according to comScore).

“We invest in companies that are leaders in rapidly growing markets, and this is no exception,” said Bob Migliorino, Managing Director of W Capital Partners. “Tremor Video’s performance in the fastest growing segment in online media, combined with Video Hub’s game-changing technology, makes us extremely happy to be working with them.”

Monitor realtime key factors

With the launch of Video Hub in May of this year, Tremor Video has radically changed the network model by enabling brand advertisers and their agencies to monitor in real time the key factors that are driving their campaign performance. VideoHub analyzes numerous video signals and determines which factors are the most important in delivering campaign success, with particular emphasis on the criteria that drive engagement and brand lift.

Based on Tremor Video’s SE2 technology, Video Hub provides marketers with insight into which environments enhance their brands, what provokes viewer engagement, and why a campaign is successful. Tremor Video plans to continue investing in the continued development and market adoption of Video Hub. It will also use these funds to explore additional acquisitions and expand into fast growing markets internationally.

Apsalar nabs $5M for mobile analytics & behaviorial targeting

San Francisco-based Apsalar, a mobile analytics and behavioral targeting platform for iOS and Android apps, today announced it has closed a $5 million round of funding led by Thomvest Ventures. Apsalar plans to use the new funding to grow the development team, expand its product portfolio and ramp up sales and marketing efforts.

The funding includes participation by Thomvest Ventures, Battery Ventures, DN Capital and existing investors. The new round of funding comes on the heels of Apsalar’s $800,000 seed funding in late 2010 from 500 Startups, Mark Goines, Morado Venture Partners, Founder’s Co-op and Seraph Group. Don Butler, managing director at Thomvest Ventures joins Apsalar’s board of directors.

Apsalar’s comprehensive mobile analytics and behavioral targeting platform gives developers and publishers the tools to understand how their apps are used and to identify and deliver personalized content and offers to their most valuable users.

GoSteals offers free daily deals marketplace for businesses

GoStealsLaunching this week at DEMO Fall 2011, GoSteals is a 100% free platform for every business and consumer worldwide to make daily deals. Built on top of the world’s largest mission-critical web services platform from Mediaspectrum, GoSteals is a self-service business model for the daily deal marketplace.

GoSteals empowers small businesses with a fully automated, self-service portal for managing the entire daily deal lifecycle. Within five minutes, merchants can log-on and structure their deals to advertise. That’s five minutes, to gain free exposure and new customers while keeping all the revenue generated in the process.

Merchants create and schedule their deal, maintaining complete and instant control throughout the entire deal life cycle. GoSteals provides them with real-time information on how many customers have reserved the deal. It even automates customer tracking by providing a unique 2-D bar code on every deal voucher

It’s not just local businesses that benefit. GoSteals is free for consumers as well. They can reserve — or “steal” — any deal they want at no cost. No upfront payment is required. They pay only when they actually cash it in at the participating business. If they don’t use it, they lose nothing. There is no risk involved, only the opportunity for extreme savings.

One of the primary drawbacks of daily deals for businesses is that the daily deal firms take significant cuts of every transaction on top of whatever usually significant discount is offered. Some researchers have questioned the sustainability of the daily deals model.

GoSteals launches this week in 15 core markets globally, with plans for universal reach within 60 days.

What’s the deal with Daily Deals? (Infographic )

Monday, September 12th, 2011

It seems as if a new daily deal site pops up just about as often as their persistent emails pop into our email boxes. While the major players such as Chicago-based Groupon and DC’s LivingSocial have raised more than a billion in venture backing, literally hundreds of smaller regional and niche firms are also fighting for portions of the daily deal meal.

(See: Daily Deal sites grabbed more than $1.69B in funding, 22 financed the last 6 months).

Venture interest in digital daily deal firms may be high, but some researchers have questioned whether or not the business is sustainable over the long term. See: Daily Deal Sites May not have a Sustainable Business, research suggests).

Lab42 asked 500 daily deal users which sites they use much, how often they look, and how much money they spend to produce this “What’s The Deal” infographic:

daily deals infographic

Tampa-based CrowdSavings.com, another daily deals firm scores backing

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

CrowdsavingsTAMPA, FL – CrowdSavings.com, a daily deals company that offers consumers one-day discounts on local products and services, has raised $1.06 million of a $1.3 million offering, according to a regulatory filing.

The company, which launched way back in November of 2009, says it differs from many group-buying sites in that our sales representatives live, eat, work, and play in the same city or market as the merchants we partner with. Most of the daily deals sites we cover, however, put representatives on the ground in the markets they serve, one of the reasons the 80-pound gorillas of the space, Groupon and LivingSocial, have raised huge amounts of venture backing.

CEO, President and founder Chad Jaquays, is a veteran in the field of Internet marketing, product development, and sales. He co-founded Traffic Strategies.com in 2002, a performance based online marketing company; LinkShare later acquired the company in 2007.

The company disclosed the raise in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company lists 20 cities on its drop down menu, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Jacksonville, and Miami in the Southeast.

We’ve said this before, but we’ll say it again: this space is ripe for consolidation. The largest players are flush with money and buying established firms with staffs already on the ground may be as effective a way to grow as building their own operations in market after market – and is certainly a way to cut back on competition.

On the other hand, established smaller players such as CrowdSavings or NC-based Twongo, may indeed be able to carve their own niches by cutting better deals with merchants or offering better ones to consumers – if the big guys don’t decide to just squeeze them out.

It’s going to be interesting to watch this play out.

Social shopping firm LivingSocial acquires majority stake in Let’s Bonus

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

LivingSocialWASHINGTON, DC – Local deal site and Groupon competitor LivingSocial has grabbed a majority stake in Let’s Bonus, one of the pioneer social shopping sites in Europe. Financial details were not disclosed.

The acquisition comes on the heels of LivingSocial’s latest investment, $175 million from Amazon.

The 800-pound gorilla of the social shopping space, Groupon, recently turned down a $6 billion acquisition offer from Google, according to reports, but just this week raised $950 million.

LivingSocial says the Let’s Bonus acquisition bolsters LivingSocial’s rapid international expansion, making it now live in ten countries with the addition of Let’s Bonus’ Spain, Italy, Portugal, Argentina and Mexico presences. LivingSocial now has more than 16 million subscribers, is live in more than 170 markets, and is projected to book in excess of $500 million in revenue in 2011.

“The addition of Let’s Bonus to the LivingSocial team is a great opportunity to expand into Latin Americaand continue our European growth,” said Tim O’Shaughnessy, CEO and co-founder of LivingSocial. “Not only is LivingSocial available in ten countries, but with this acquisition we’ve gone multilingual, offering deals in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.”

Launched in September 2009 in Barcelona, Let’s Bonus helped to pioneer the collective buying movement in Europe and is the leader in the Spanish market. The company offers daily deals with discounts of up to 70 percent on fun, exclusive activities including gourmet dinners, luxury spas and romantic escapes.

We suspect we’ll be seeing a good deal more acquisitions and partnerships in the hot, hot, hot social shopping space. The top players are well heeled with new cash and many smaller companies have niche pieces of the market.