Group Buying: Don’t Wait on Groupon! You Have Options

Due to Groupon’s popularity it has become extremely difficult for small businesses to get a deal up and running in a short timeframe. With Facebook’s announcement this year...

By now, we are all aware of the juggernaut that is Groupon. The deal-of-the-day website that features discounted gift certificates usable at local or national companies. The company made using coupons fun and easy.

However, due to Groupon’s popularity it has become extremely difficult for small businesses to get a deal up and running in a short timeframe. With Facebook’s announcement this year to launch a group buying feature, alongside countless Groupon clones, you now have a variety of options to consider when you’re ready to launch group deals and real-time coupons.

Facebook announced earlier this year that companies will now be able to offer discounts to users when they check in to their place using Facebook Deals. This enables you to provide creative deals and loyalty rewards to customers who check into your business via Facebook.


Expanding Influence in the Social Graph

The platform can be used to encourage users to bring more friends by sharing their location with their personal network of friends. This new development is merely one of many plans to expand Facebook’s influence on the social graph. How does Zuckerberg plan to accomplish this? Simple – via user-connectivity through mobile, social and location-based platforms.

If Facebook isn’t your cup of tea, consider utilizing the popularity of one of the many Groupon competitors. Two of the more popular websites are LivingSocial and Tippr. Each of these companies have developed similar models to Groupon, however, they each offer some distinguishing features.

The legitimacy of these competing websites can be exemplified by the funding they have received. LivingSocial raised upwards of $44 million alone. Furthermore, with the advent of daily deal aggregators like Yipit.com, having your company featured on sites other than Groupon can allow you to gain you the same traction and success as you would have with Groupon.


Creative Ways to Leverage Group Buying

For small business owners who want more control of the process, consider using more creative options such as turning your company’s email list into a deal distributor. Reward the individuals who have provided you with their email address by sending deals on a moments’ notice. Provide incentives for customers to come with their friends for deeper discounted deals.

If you aren’t currently utilizing an email list for your customers to stay updated on your business, you may want to start doing so – immediately. Other alternatives also include finding creative uses for popular location-based applications such as Foursquare. You can offer discounts and incentives to users who check in, as well as more valuable deals to the users who earn special badges.


Ride the Group Buying Craze

Groupon may be popular and in high demand, but it is not the only way to ride the craze of group buying. Entrepreneurs who are willing to get creative will find themselves doing unique things to catch customers’ attention.

Between the Facebook Deals application, Groupon competitors and innovative emailing list strategies, the opportunities are endless. The trend away from traditional advertising to interactive mediums is something that is here to stay. The social graph has proven that a focus on social, mobile and location-based mediums can be profitable. How will your business use them?

If you have had experiences with Groupon, Facebook Deals or any other creative deal offering application, how did it work for you? If you are aware of alternative applications or strategies that were not discussed, please leave them in the comment section below.


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