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Let’s Share a Deal: Shopping Goes Social

October 4, 2010 | By | One Comment

social shopping

Let’s Share a Deal: Shopping Goes Social

We all love a good deal. And there’s one thing we love almost as much—and that’s sharing a good deal with others. That idea is exactly what’s allowing social commerce sites like Groupon to surge in popularity.

What is social commerce? In a post for the LIFT Summit blog, Stacey Alexander writes that social commerce provides “the convenience of shopping online with the comforts of shopping with friends.” Here’s your FAQ guide to these up-and-coming commerce sites:

How do group buying websites work?

Sites negotiate deals with merchants to offer deep discounts on products and services. The sites notify customers of the deals via daily emails or through social networks like Twitter and Facebook. To take advantage of an offer, consumers simply log onto the group buying site and print a voucher. However, in order for the offer to be valid, a specified number of customers must sign up for the deal.

Although there are differences among the sites, many of them offer location-specific deals. For example, Groupon Philadelphia recently offered 53% off a mani-pedi at a New Jersey salon. Other offers have included deep discounts on framing services and bartending classes. Occasionally specials might include national chains or ecommerce merchants.

So people just log on and buy?

No, there’s a lot more to it than simply clicking and buying, which is the traditional ecommerce model. Instead group buying sites provide ways to easily share the deal with family, friends, and followers through networks like Facebook and Twitter. There may also be incentives for sharing: when a customer on LivingSocial gets 3 others to buy into a particular deal, their deal is free.

In addition, group buying sites may add a social element by posting a discussion page where consumers ask questions or get clarification on the deal and any accompanying restrictions.

Are the deals always successful?

No. In a review of group buying sites The Wall Street Journal’s Katherine Boehret writes LivingSocial found that certain offers, like specials for a dog training class, were too specific to garner enough interest. Other vendors have found that offering a deal that’s too good to too many people can actually trigger revenue loss, a situation one café owner experienced after advertising a deal on Groupon. Experts say the key to success on a buying site is offering a compelling deal that makes financial sense for the vendor and is attractive enough for customers to want to share with others.

Are social commerce sites right for my brand?

Successful social media strategies aren’t about cookie cutter solutions. Most firms benefit from the advice of a social media expert who will help navigate the in’s and outs and the do’s and don’ts for each unique situation. To learn more about how group buying and other social commerce sites fit into your brand strategy, contact the Social Strategy1 team.


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