Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I have to say I'm totally fascinated with deal-a-day sites and their glitzier cousins for online shopping like Gilt Groupe, Ideeli and BirchBox. I've bought a bunch of deals, mostly for food-related things like dinners or Foodzie's tasting box, but also for store coupons, massage, etc. I'm subscribed to quite a few, and we've even used them to sell memberships and tickets at YBCA. I'll talk more about the work-related deals I've done when I have a bit more time to talk about the kind of ways technology has jumpstarted marketing and fundraising in the sector (have I mentioned that I'm working two jobs?)

Generally, I think most businesses don't have a chance to compete with Groupon's reach. When you ask for a tissue, do you ever say "Hand me a Kleenex?" The brand has become part of modern-day vocabulary, and any description of other deal-a-day sites generally starts with "It's like Groupon..." But I wanted to post that today marks the launch of Facebook deals. I knew this was coming down the line- and you might see YBCA on there soon- as well as Google's bid to get in on the action of an exponentially expanding market.

I can't wait to see what new company will carve a niche out of this market with a differently evolved business model, but CNN's writeup today of Facebook's launch has a couple of interesting points. First, both Facebook and Google are part of the lexicon I mentioned. Their reach is incredible and gives them an edge over Groupon should they be able to leverage their entire networks. (Currently, I think you only see Facebook deals if you are subscribed to it, or any Pages you like offer a deal, though any of your friends who buys a deal will have it on their feed so there will be secondary marketing).

Secondly, Facebook isn't offering the same kind of 50-90% discounts that other deal sites have. According to the article, the Atlanta deals via Facebook range from 13%-75% off. Facebook is hinging on the fact that using these deals is often a social experience so are looking for the socially active discount culture seekers instead of the deep discount customer. They're leveraging the use of Facebook for events listings and social networking with the ability to score coupons while doing it to make their offering a one-stop-shopping experience.

Technology today is marked by an effort to consolidate multiple uses into one gadget or platform. For example, I recently bought a DVD player that can stream Netflix, YouTube, and play music. Sooner or later, it will probably do my taxes. Facebook has made a smart move to combine users interest in social platforms with deal scoring. I'm curious to see how it is adapted.