Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Social Buying Power

Have you heard of Groupon? Or Living Social? If you haven't, let me help you out from that rock you've been living under.  It works like this.  You sign up with your email address with a company like Groupon or Living Social.  Each day they send you one deeply discounted deal to use at local businesses. The deals are activated only when a minimum number of people agree to buy. So you get a great deal and the business gets a ton of new customers. Win-win.

They're generally focusing on savvy young urbanites.  The majority are college-educated single females who go out two or more times a week.  They're avid users of social media who spread the word through blogs, facebook and twitter.  While I'm not a young urbanite, and haven't been single in a while, I am college educated and a female, and an avid user of social media outlets.  Plus, I use the internet for my job every day.  Not exactly the ideal focus group, but I'm at least on the fringes.

Ultimately, I signed up with both Groupon and Living Social a few months ago as part of research for the company I work for.  I got the daily deal in my email and most were for trendy restaurants or bars I would never fit in at, even if I wanted to drive all the way into down town Los Angeles.  Plus, finding a babysitter is hard, and the time, near impossible.  Some were for some pretty cool things I didn't even know they had around here, like indoor sky diving lessons and a 2 hour tour of Hollywood on a Segway.  Pretty cool, but not enough for me to spend my hard earned and very limited funds.

A few days ago though, the daily deal in my in-box was for a year long family membership to the Los Angeles Arboretum a $70 value for only $35.  You may remember we took a trip there over the summer with some friends where I got to shoot my camera to my heart's content.  And I did.  I had been thinking about taking the whole family there sometime in the next few get our yearly family photos taken.  I could not believe my good luck.  Plus, the membership allows us to visit other arboretums and gardens around the country for free as well.  Now, I'm not sure we'll ever put that to use in the next year, but the option is there if we need it.  That's peace of mind baby.

The deal required 75 people to buy in to make it a go.  I was number 71.  It was 8am on a Saturday when I bought in.  By the end of the day 1,819 people had bought in on this deal.  And that my friend, is social media word of mouth and the power of group purchasing at its finest.   This is quickly becoming an amazing advertising and deal finding tool especially in today's economy.  If you haven't checked it out yet, and don't mind wading through deals that might not apply to you, definitely sign up.  It's free, and the deals really are pretty amazing.

If you're a member of one of these types of groups, and have bought in on something, what was the best deal you got? 

Seriously.. Thoughts?

Ps.  This is not a paid advertisement, these guys have no idea who I am, or that I might be all excited about the deals they have.

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