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Online Group Buying Sites Soar in Popularity

Online Group Buying Sites Soar in Popularity

A $50 haircut will set you back a mere $25 when purchased with the click of a mouse on a group buying website. Recommend the deal to two friends and get two $10 credits, used towards a deal at a local restaurant that gives $40 worth of food and drink for just $20 — a free meal.

Welcome to the world of group buying, Internet style, where the power of the Web can be utilized to offer surprisingly large discounts to a sizable number of people for things they actually want to buy. The industry has exploded in the past few years and continues to climb. It’s expected to grow 138 percent to $2.7 billion this year in the U.S. alone, according to Local Offer Network.

The best-known group buying site — Groupon — is expected to bring in between $3 billion and $4 billion this year alone, up from $760 million in worldwide revenue last year. However, of the 63,000 deals offered in the U.S. last year, Groupon accounted for fewer than half. Instead, smaller group sites are attracting customers with incredible discounts on everything from restaurants and spas to home products and insurance. Here’s where to go for some unique online deals:

LivingSocial. A group deal website that offers shoppers daily deal coupons from participating local merchants in their area. One killer feature that sets this site apart from the pack is the incentive that’s provided by LivingSocial to tempt its users to share the daily deal offerings with their friends. That is, if three people buy the deal using the link you’re provided upon signing up, then you receive the deal for free.

iMingle. The first car insurance provider to offer policyholders a group buying discount—potentially saving them hundreds of dollars—by enlisting friends to sign up using their site or iPhone app. Here’s how it works: when a customer is shopping for online auto insurance, they use a widget to let their friends know about the available discount. They have over a dozen choices for how they want to share their exclusive iMingle discount link, including email, instant messaging, blogging and social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If a friend clicks the link, enrolls and agrees to the iMingle safety pledge, both customers can save 10 percent on their policies.

OrderBorder. This site caters towards Apple enthusiasts and owners of Apple products — featuring accessories, software and peripherals for iPhones, iPods, iPads, Macs and Macbooks. The site also employs the “Borderline Price” concept, or the absolute lowest price limit that the group can either reach with its growing size as users join the deal or with points accumulated by an individual after making purchases.

GreenDeals. This industry newcomer offers green-minded shoppers a daily coupon for goods and services from green businesses. In addition to daily green deals, the site offers green tips for everyday living, green coupons and other offers from Green Approved Businesses.

Posted on Wednesday, May 11th, 2011. Attribution to NewsUSA.

New Buying Trends Emerge for Shoppers

New Buying Trends Emerge for Shoppers

When the economy nosedived, and companies had reason to be scared, a few businesses got resourceful.

Low incomes and record job losses pushed consumers toward trends like buying in bulk and using group discount websites. And where there was demand, supply soon followed.

In came the success of wholesalers like Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s. But warehouse clubs weren’t the only stores seeing growth in bulk sales. Farmers markets, co-ops and natural food stores observed more supersized shopping. Whole Foods said bulk food purchases were growing by approximately 25 percent every year.

That wasn’t the only buying trend to emerge, however.

“The Groupon following led to an explosion of similar sites, like LivingSocial and Dealfind, not to mention all of the city-specific ones,” says Joe Kalfa, the leader of a new movement of group buying called All Our Power.

“You can buy virtually any commodity in bulk and get all kinds of group discounts on spas, restaurants and vacations galore, but what about monthly expenses like car insurance, gas and health care? It seems to me like there’s room for some improvement,” adds Kalfa.

Well, maybe there is.

According to Time magazine’s Moneyland, warehouse club members can save 25 to 35 percent on their food budget. Shoppers who forego packaging altogether and buy food from bins or dispensers save anywhere from 30 to 90 percent over prepackaged products.

Imagine those types of savings applied to insurance policies, gas prices, medical bills, cell phone plans and more.

All Our Power, which seeks to rally 10 million members and secure membership discounts from all kinds of service providers and retailers, could be the next group-buying trend to take flight.

A buzz has already formed around the young movement as consumers worldwide realize the potential benefits of a free membership with access to serious negotiating power.



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